When foreigners travel to a country they are not familiar with, often the customs and traditions of the country they are visiting will surprise them. What may seem normal to a European may seem extremely peculiar to someone from America. The customs and traditions one follows in another country may seem totally absurd to someone from a completely different continent.
When Europeans who have never traveled to America visit the country, sometimes they are just completely baffled by what they see. From tipping to portion sizes to bathroom stalls, a lot of American traditions seem completely foreign to Europeans, and vice versa.
Here are 16 things that Europeans find weird about American culture.
1. If you’re an American, you might be surprised to find out that American tipping culture is drastically different than the tipping culture around the world. In Europe, wait staff are paid minimum wage and are not usually tipped. A tip of 15% is unheard of in Europe.
2. College sports are huge in America. In Europe, the only people attending college sports games are the players (and sometimes their families and friends).
3. Food portions in America are massive compared to anywhere else in the world.
4. Apparently, Europeans find it odd that Americans keep their butter in the fridge rather than keeping it out so that it becomes soft and easily spreadable (well, it does make sense).
5. Countries in Europe have the tax already added onto the price tags. So when Europeans come to America and find out that the tax is added on top of the price on the tag, they are usually completely shocked.
6. Europeans often get confused when they find out that refills are given for free in America. They also don’t understand why Americans tend to use so much ice in their drinks.
7. America’s measurement system is quite baffling to Europeans. They will sometimes find themselves dazed and confused when presented with measurements that don’t make any sense to them.
8. The legal drinking age in most parts of Europe is 18, which is why Europeans find it extremely odd that the legal drinking age in America is 21.
9. Europeans are not fans of the way public bathrooms are designed in America. They say that the toilets are way too low and that the gaps around the doors and stalls are way too large.
10. Flags. Flags Everywhere. Europeans find American patriotism a bit weird and over the top, and find it odd that Americans display their flags literally everywhere.
11. Foreigners also find it pretty weird that America has advertisements for prescription drugs. “In the UK, your doctor tells you what drugs you should take, not the other way around,” one traveler said.
12. Europeans find the pledge of allegiance to be sort of creepy. They can’t seem to wrap their heads around it. They feel like it sounds more like a creepy chant than a patriotic oath.
13. Europeans find gun culture in America to be appalling. They think it is extremely odd that some sports shops in America have massive displays and departments strictly for guns and ammo.
14. Apparently, Europeans think that Americans have a weird obsession with pickles. “I have been in the states for like eight years and you guys have a pickle with everything,” one European said.
15. Europeans also find it odd that there are lawyer advertisements everywhere. From commercials to billboards looming over the highway, it just seems bizarre to them.
16. Europeans are also pretty grossed out by the fact that some Americans apparently wear their shoes inside their homes. They totally have a point though, you walk on all kinds of nasty stuff throughout the day so why bring it into your own home?