These People Reveal The Biggest Culture Shock They Ever Encountered

by Rachel

Look, it is 2020, it has been a long year, and something that many of us are missing, is the ability to travel. While some countries do not seem too bothered that there is a pandemic happening, over in Australia, the government has pretty effectively stopped human movement (and the virus!), meaning that most Australians have been stuck in the same state all year.

Which, is fine, of course, I'm sure we would all rather be safe and healthy! But there is no denying that many of us are missing travel and the ability to experience different cultures.

Read on to fill that hole in your heart and laugh at the biggest culture shocks other people have experienced, as told by Reddit.

Apparently drive through pharmacies too?


America has drive through everything! Drive through coffee, drive through ATM, drive through liquor store!

Indoor animals


Canadian working in New Zealand.
Birds indoors. This may seem minor but it was so weird to see.
When I got off the plane in Auckland there were birds flying around inside the airport.
In Canada if a bird gets inside everyone takes notice. Some people even freak out. If it doesn't fly away on it's own, animal control is called.
In NZ nobody gave a shit about all these little birds zooming around inside the airport.
I sat there watching these guys in complete amazement.
This was just my first observation.
NZ got progressively wierder as time went on.

This is a really interesting kind of culture shock!


My dad was a US diplomat so we moved to a new country every three years or so. I had never lived in the states (born in Portugal) and 4 countries later when my dad decided to retire, we moved to the US (Maryland). Being in America was the biggest shock. From the “safeness” I felt, to the way people were. Yellow school busses. Everyone sort of being the same. It was a shock, among many other things.
I felt American my whole life living abroad, being associated with the American embassy, hanging out at the marine club houses. And when I moved to the US, I did not feel very American at all

Bet that Aussie has some stories...


Not mine but in college I had a roommate from Australia who was studying abroad in America. We went out to dinner one night and I got mozzarella sticks. He could not believe we just deep fried cheese and then eat it

Everything is big over in North America


Dutch guy here. When we went to Canada for the first time everything was HUGE. Big cars on big roads, big streets and restaurants and Malls. I remember we were driving for what seemed like hours through suburbs and I just kept thinking “surely after the next turn we’re out of the city” but the city just seemed to be endless - kind of scary almost. Also; distance was huge. In the Netherlands driving from the easter to the western end of the country takes 2-3 hrs. In Canada, what seemed like an infinitely small distance on the map took 2,5 hrs to drive.

So close together


India was my biggest culture Shock poverty and extreme riches. Next to each other

The Spanish work on their own clock and I love it


Just how late the Spanish eat dinner. Totally respect it, but I was hungry at 6pm and was shocked no restaurant was open to serve at that time.

The difference between cash/card/contactless is so interesting!


Went to the states for college at Indiana. I lived in Tokyo, Japan my whole life before this. 1st day, I went to the gas station to buy something. I had a lot of $100 bills with me cause I didnt have a card yet. The cashier literally told me "you shouldnt carry that much bill around, if i saw u with that on the street. I would rob you"
I was like "okay.... thanks for letting me know?"
This was like 6yrs ago and in Japan, people normally carry / use cash for a lot of things back then. I knew and saw ppl having $500 (50,000 yen+) in their wallet on a normal given day . Its getting better now and its becoming more cash-less but holy shit, didnt think carrying large bills would be that risky lol

Definitely a crazy kind of culture shock!


Corporate world. Going from food service jobs to a corporate job in another state that's a bit higher class was definitely different.



I was messing friends in Africa. Every time I told a joke, I'd get a response "kk".
I'm here thinking I'm not funny for literal months. Then one time, one of them says "kk. You're so funny!" So I ask them what kk means, and they say its laughing.

"The elephant broke me"


I spent a month living in Thailand when I was 15. The first hour broke me.
The trip there had taken an absurdly long time and long story short I had been awake for about 38 hours by that point. I did not have an ounce of mental fortitude, which I also did not know I would need.
We (group of us) met up with the families we were staying with, introductions, all that jazz. Nice folks. We decided to go home, get a nap (it was 7am local) and meet up for dinner. I say decided but that was the plan all along.
I got into the car in the backseat- no seatbelts. Okay, cool, that's different but whatever.
We pulled out onto the very busy road- on the left side. A bit of a surprise but hey, that's neat.
The city (Bangkok) was wildly different from any place I had ever been. But that was expected, it's the other side of the world, right?
Nearly there, we stopped at a stop light. There was an elephant standing beside me, 10 feet from my window.
That was it. That elephant broke me. It was too much. There were no elephants outside car windows anywhere I had been before. I closed my eyes and curled up into a ball until we arrived.
Lovely country. Wonderful people.

The sidewalk aspect is interesting.


Turkish person who lived in Germany for 5 years. Germany gives immense importance to order and being precise. If you follow the rules, you'll live in harmony. When I came back to Turkey, that wasn't the case. Everything was chaotic and you needed luck and acquaintices to survive.
Life is definitely harder in Turkey than it is in Germany. But that doesn't mean I don't like Turkey. We just have a bad system.
One more thing; the sidewalks are closer to the ground in Germany and are high as hell Turkey.

This is so sad


I'm american and had never left the country, california before and traveled to Japan. I was seeing kids so often travel by themselves, and leaving their bags places like at seats when went to go order food etc, without a worry of anyone stealing it. It was very surprising but also gave me a sense of safety I have never felt in the US.
edit: and the no free refills. :(

Aussie English is something else (but we don't really have breakfast burritos...)


When I was 20 I moved to Newcastle, Australia to study (Spoiler alert I didn't study. At all). But before I went there I was told that in Australia they spoke English (Spoiler alert they didn't. At all). Every single word is abbreviated, everything is different, everything has its own vernacular. Example:
Me, "Hey Shane, I'm going to McDonald's, you want me to get you a breakfast burrito?"
Shane, "Oi Maccas Fair Dinkum mate! Had to ruck up early for the physio and me ute was out of petrol so stopped at the servo and asked the Sheila if they had brekky but noooouaahho just lollies so ive been getting aggro"
Dude, none of the sounds that just fell out of your head were words. Do you want a breakfast burrito or not?



I moved from Europe to USA. How Americans idolize their politicians. These are public servants, YOU PAY THEM! your taxes pay them, THEY WORK FOR YOU!

Americans do use a lot of ice


That Europeans dont use ice as much as Americans, and some beers are supposed to be consumed warm

Different wildlife is so cool!


Not crazy cultural but:
In California, we have squirrels everywhere. Running around, climbing trees, getting run over.
We went to Puerto Rico for our honeymoon, where literal fucking IGUANAS serve the same role. I've always been into reptiles and that was really cool.

The number of guns in some countries is off the wall


I was in an airport in Europe and saw two guys walking around with huge automatic weapons and I seriously thought we were all gonna die...
Turned out they were military security.



That Americans don’t have electric kettles. Or that I need to say electric kettle because if I didn’t people would say they have stovetop kettles.
In the Commonwealth countries a kettle is just a standard item for the house. I don’t drink coffee or tea and still own a kettle. You can get the. For like $10 and they’ll still be decent.

What the thing that gave you the biggest culture shock?

Share with us in the comments!