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Thread: Tips for Europeans Traveling to the U.S.

  1. #1
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    1 members found this post helpful.

    Tips for Europeans Traveling to the U.S.



    I just happened to run across this site and thought it was pretty interesting. It reveals as much and sometimes more about the nationalities giving the advice as it does about America, I think.

    Tips for Japanese going to America:
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/55140...siting-america

    Tips for French going to America:
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/55306...siting-america

    Tips for Italians going to America:
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/62515...siting-america

    Tips for Germans going to America
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/62180...siting-america

    The collection of tips from Germans was the most rude, which surprised me.

    One thing that all foreigners seem to notice is that Americans don't really expect you to answer truthfully when they ask how you're doing. It's not meant to be taken literally; it's become more of just an automatic greeting, to which the expected answer is something like "fine, thanks". That's hard for Italians, in particular, who would be tempted to answer truthfully.

    The answer is also part of the national ethos of always wanting to seem optimistic and on top of things, I think, which is often indeed the reality as Americans are a very optimistic people.

    At the same time, Americans are indeed incredibly helpful and friendly. There's no contradiction between the two things; it's just one of those cultural quirks.

    Oh, for the clueless Italian posting that adultery is illegal in Virginia, that prohibition is indeed still "on the books" in Virginia and in some other jurisdictions, but just because they haven't bothered to repeal it. Set your mind at rest, you won't be arrested if you lure some married Virginia woman into an affair.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    I really like this one:
    10. BUT DARN IT ALL, THEY’RE SO WEIRDLY OPTIMISTIC YOU JUST CAN’T STAY IRRITATED AT THEM.
    In Japan, there is great fear of failure and mistakes in front of other people. It is better to do nothing and avoid being criticized than to taste the humiliation of failure. As a result, there are things we wanted to do, but did not, and often regret.
    In America, you can make mistakes, fail, and it doesn’t matter. It is a fundamental feeling that to sometimes be incorrect is natural. In addition, rather than thinking about mistakes and failures, American’s have curiosity and say, "Let’s try anyway!"
    It is a great attitude. Try till you are successful.

    And this one:
    6. THEY DON'T STEAL YOUR STUFF!
    If it should happen I need to leave my stuff unattended when I'm in the coffee shop, I just ask someone to look at it for the time it takes for me to go to the toilet. When I forget something in my bike basket, it is still there, even at night. And when you have packages waiting for you at home, they remain in the lobby and no one takes them. It may seem normal and civic way of doing it, but I am surprised. Since coming to America, I've become much less suspicious. [Source]
    Not always true, but it is nice not to have to be vigilant every freaking moment.

    8. EVERYTHING IS SO DAMN INSPIRING.

    "Inspiring" became a word I heard every day: everything must be "inspiring" and push transcendence. We go to the movies, there is a choice between the biopic Lincoln, the Avengers or Misérables, each so inspiring in their own way. The books are inspiring, everyday people are inspiring (such as all the people with children and a job at the same time, teachers, etc...). I confess that I have a little trouble with this cult of everyday heroes. [Source]
    I think most people should wake up to motivational speeches, lol. It gives strength to fight one's appetite, smoking habits, laziness, etc. Most betterment programs don't work because people run out of motivation.

    At the same time, Americans are indeed incredibly helpful and friendly. There's no contradiction between the two things; it's just one of those cultural quirks.
    In Calgary here, it is customary for a stranger to hold a door for you when you just behind coming to a store or a coffee bar. Feels really nice. Also, it is nothing strange to crack a smile and say "Hi" to anyone you pass on a street.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    LeBrok;478114]
    And this one:
    Not always true, but it is nice not to have to be vigilant every freaking moment.
    It very much depends on the neighborhood. I wouldn't go leaving my bike outside on the front lawn if I lived in the south Bronx, but my children's bikes and skateboards were always on the lawn or driveway. I also have to say that other than once when some street punk tried to pull my bag off my shoulder in Grand Central Station, I've never had anything stolen from me. In fact, people have been unfailingly honest. In years past, when I was very distracted with children, job, ailing and sick parents, I quite a few times left my pocket book on the floor in restaurants. I never once had anyone steal it or anything in it. I would call and the manager would look for it and hold it for me until I came back. Once, it was during a four hour drive to my parents and the manager told me he'd lock it up in the safe and to just pick it up on my return. I tried to give him a 20 just as a token, but he wouldn't take it.

    In Calgary here, it is customary for a stranger to hold a door for you when you just behind coming to a store or a coffee bar. Feels really nice. Also, it is nothing strange to crack a smile and say "Hi" to anyone you pass on a street.
    Yes, totally normal. There are some countries in Europe where I've been totally put off by the stone faces and lack of greetings in everyday social interactions. It varies a bit by region, and urban versus country, but as another post in the articles indicates it's also totally normal here for people to ask you how you're going to enjoy the beautiful day, or whether you've finished all your decorating for Christmas, and on and on, and in these situations they're indeed interested in the answer. I've even been told to button up my coat if it's really cold, or to hurry on home if a storm is coming. Oh, and if it's a motherly woman at the counter, I've been called dear, and honey, or, in New Orleans, cher. :)

    A passerby stumbles and sprawls in the street, an old lady can barely control Brutus at the end of a leash, a small tricycle driver loses control of his vehicle. Politeness means, of course, that you come and help all these people. American culture wants you to quit all your activities and rescue the unfortunate. In America, you cannot pretend to not have noticed all these little quirks. You must rush to provide assistance to all who need it.
    Not everyone behaves like this anymore, but people bemoan that fact because it's what people believe you should do in these situations.

    In this video you can see the great generosity as well as genuine friendliness even in chance encounters.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb-Kj-olu8I


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