Culture Shocks: Cultural Things That Are Weird In Other Countries

Unusual

In every culture, there are a variety of cultural norms. A good example would be if you excuse yourself from the table at dinner, or you say “bless you” when someone sneezes. It is also possible that we may be unfamiliar with many other cultural practices.

In fact, these behaviors are accepted in each culture. Here are a few of Reddit’s weirdest comments.

Food Stands

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Getting sausage from a hardware shop. There’s a hotdog stand in the Home Depot. I’m trying to remember if that’s just my local store, but it’s pretty normal to find food stands outside of a lot of busy shops.

Even when you have to vote, there are food stands ready to feed you if you are hungry. I know that in other countries, they are pretty rare.

Story credit – Reddit/[deleted]

No Parental Supervision

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To leave the stroller (with the sleeping baby inside it) outside a café while the mom/dad sits inside – if the weather is good. It’s a normal thing in Denmark and a lot of Scandinavian countries. 

I read some time ago how a woman in the US was charged for leaving her baby outside a Café.

Story credit – Reddit/wherearemyfryiends

All Eyes On You

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In Vietnam, when you order in places with menus. The waiter will stare at you when you choose food. This happened to me in Malaysia. Waiters hand the menu and just wait until you pick your dish. It was a bit nerve-racking, so I rushed my order.

They also often stare when they give the check. I guess they expect you to carefully check it, but it’d be awkward to do that in front of the server in many other places.

Story credit – Reddit/The-tank-has

A Variety Of Measurements

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Canada uses a weird combination of measurements. We measure weight in pounds, your height in feet and inches, and measure ingredients with cups or tablespoons, but pretty much everything else is in metric.

One that I find funny is temperature, if you ask what temperature it is outside, it’s always in celsius, and most Canadians would have no clue what it is in Fahrenheit. But if you’re cooking something, the heat of your oven is always measured in Fahrenheit.

Story credit – Reddit/TimmyAndStuff

Weird Metaphors

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In English, we’ve always had “I just want to eat you up” for kids or animals that are very cute. Lately, Gen Z has added a lot to those gruesome endearments. “I want him to run me over with his car,” “I would let her wear my skin” for people who are hot/generally good, “I’d literally die for him” in reference to cute things like puppies, etc. 

It’s kind of a new phenomenon, I feel, as I never heard these types of phrases growing up, and older adults typically find them very alarming but will still say “I could just eat you up” to new babies.

Story credit – TerribleAttitude

Giving Directions

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Pointing to a direction with your lips. We Filipinos do this. Because there’s an old saying that it’s rude to point with your fingers. There’s an actual video from the early 20th century where a Filipina was captured using her lips to point into something/someone. Can’t provide the vid tho.

Pretty sure this is common in a solid few cultures; actually, I remember noticing that detail in that new Encanto animated movie. It was so wholesome.

Story credit – Reddit/The_Crow

Pride

Public Domain

I wouldn’t say this is part of my culture, but in both Kenya and India, when you go to the movies, they play the national anthem on screen before the trailers, and everyone has to stand up. 

I’d been away for so long that I’d completely forgotten this craziness and was visiting my mum, went to watch a movie, everyone stood up, and I was so confused until the memories were unlocked.

Story credit – Reddit/ArterialSludge

A Large Family

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Addressing strangers using terms used for family members like a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, grandpa, etc. The most common being brother/sister. We have unique words representing all four variations of little/big brother/sister.

And guess what, one day you would be calling a girl ‘baini’ (little sister), that girl be calling you ‘dai’ (big brother), and a couple of weeks later, you are dating each other and ditch the sibling style addressing. Then you either call each other by name or come up with nicknames.

Story credit – Reddit/secCcosMOS

Exposed

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I went to Finland to play hockey when I was 15, and the father and son of the host family I stayed with suggested we take a sauna after dinner. I was really taken aback when I walked in, and they were naked like it was a normal occurrence. 

I guess they thought I was weird for wearing a towel, though. I’m sure most Americans would agree that It’s weird to be naked in public.

Story credit – Reddit/Available-Sun6124

Waving At Drivers 

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When I was a teenager, I visited Ireland with my family (from the US). My dad noticed that other drivers were waving to him as we drove through various small towns and bits of the rural countryside. 

He started waving back and made a big deal out of it to the rest of us in the car. He was really proud of himself for “fitting in” or something along those lines. He’d cracked the code of the local customs and was giddy about it. I remember sitting in the back seat as an angsty teen, thinking, “What’s your deal, dad? Nobody cares.”

Story credit – Reddit/angryWinds

Jello Salads

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Hot dish and jello salad. Waiting for the bus in -30 degree weather because “it could be worse!”. The kindest community I’ve ever met. 

One time I got stuck in a snow bank trying to get on the city bus, and everyone around me helped pull me up and onto the bus.

Story credit – Reddit/LouBeeDooBee

Eating Raw Pork

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Mettbrötchen (seasoned, raw minced pork on a bun, optional onions, salt, and pepper) is a pretty cheap and delicious snack or meal in Germany and some surrounding countries. It shouldn’t be attempted elsewhere since raw pork isn’t safe to eat unless you know it’s fresh.

Mett is made specifically to be eaten raw and has to be made fresh on the day and either eaten, cooked, or frozen (to cook later) on the same day. If your country doesn’t have this kind of standard, you shouldn’t try it unless you trust your butcher with your life.

Story credit – Reddit/deviant324

Living With Your Parents

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Living with your parents in your 20s and when you get married, it’s still commonplace for the husband and wife to live with the wife’s parents for the first couple of years of marriage. Alcohol is strictly frowned upon, but smoking (even from a young age) is a societally acceptable act.

Eating rice with every meal. Being late (up to around half an hour to 45 minutes) is societally acceptable and is sometimes expected, so invitees would often push the meeting time a bit earlier.

Story credit – Reddit/[deleted]

Greeting

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Saying “Hey, how you going?” as a greeting. Extremely common in Australia, but apparently, it isn’t used anywhere else in the English-speaking world. I was extremely surprised when I said it to an American one day while talking online, and they were confused. “What do you mean how I am going…? By car…?”.

It’s interesting because it’s like the perfect amalgamation of “How’s it going?” and “How you doing?”, but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to register that way for non-Aussies!

Story credit – Reddit/flameylamey

In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

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