THINGS VISITORS NOTICE ABOUT AMERICA. Michael Koh interviewed sixteen foreign visitors living in the United States and got them to list things about America that they found hard to believe before moving here (link here).

Some observations recurred, such as the difficulty in believing how big the United States is (“America is literally HUGE”). (This can also be hard for a native American from New England to understand—just how large the West is).

Some of the comments come from movie stereotypes: [“It’s hard to explain that] I have never, ever, ever seen anyone firing a gun from a moving vehicle.”

Most of the comments were about things we accept without thinking that they may be unusual:

*By and large, people do not carry cash. Apparently, we also continue to use checks much more than people do in other parts of the world.
*Cashiers and sales people talk to customers and are seriously interested in making sales.
*Americans don’t stay with relatives when visiting them.
*The President doesn’t automatically become the richest person in the country.
*The typical food portion in America is “humongous”. (I think this is because other countries don’t use doggie bags as much.)

One negative comment was on the quality of chocolate – American chocolate is just not as good.

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