What facts about the United States do foreigners not believe until they come to America?



Bruce Li, lived in The United States of America

I am from Hong Kong, and most of the time I lived in a suburb. The typical American suburb. The time I was there is the early 00s.


There are a few things that I still remember clearly although it was quite some time ago.


1.Many people know the Americans are at the top of the list of energy consumed per capita in the world. I have to live the American way of life to know how they could consume that much energy.

The vehicle and the engine volume (those full size pickup and SUV, think about the gas mileage), the washing machine, dryer, fridge - all of them are double the size, so the power used is double, I think.

The water heater is on 24/7, but the total time you use it daily is maybe less than 2 hours. Impossible thing to happen in Hong Kong, and HK is affluent. We have much smaller water heater and only turn it on when we use it.

The shopping malls and the supermarkets are, again, huge like a football field, but there really aren't many people in it. There were a few times I went to the 24 hours Walmart Supercenter at 3 am (yeah, that's what college kids do). There were maybe just less than 20 people shopping in there. Think about the power required for the air conditioning and heat.

I did enjoy the American way of life, the vast open space and convenience very much, yet it may not be the most efficient way of using the energy.

2.The average American is really bad in math and simple calculation. I heard it before I came. You would only believe it when seeing it first hand.

I am talking about simple calculation like multiplying or dividing numbers, such as calculating the discount. There were more than a few times that I was shopping and saw that the cashier had trouble doing simple calculations that any normal 8 year old in HK should be able to do within seconds.

3.Melting pot. This is a term that I saw again and again before I come to the States, and I found it's not anything like what I thought.

4.Technology for the normal American in daily life is way behind.

5.Regional differences are huge, in terms of friendliness of people, crime, economic development level and wealth.

6.Guns, violence, and crime are not as serious as the media depicted

7.Basketball and the NBA isn't really that popular in America.

8.Many American don't have a passport, and therefore have never traveled out of the country.

9.It is common amongst the Chinese to think the people in the Western world (including American) don't have taboos, but the truth is they just have different taboos from us.

10.I knew Bruce Lee, the martial artist, is famous, but I couldn't believe how famous Bruce Lee is in America until I was there.

1. 很多人都知道美国是世界上人均能源消耗最高的国家。我得过美国人的生活方式,才能知道他们怎么会消耗那么多能源。















When I introduced myself, this happened quite often.

Me: I'm Bruce, and I'm from Hong Kong.

Him/her: Don't tell me your last name is Lee

Me: Yes I am, my last name is Li

Him/her: No way! yea, I'm Janet Jackson (if that lady was Black)


Him/her: Bruce Lee!?! you are Bruce Lee? I don't believe you.

I needed to show them my ID to show my name is really Bruce Li.






他/她:李小龙! ? !你是李小龙?我不信。



Geetanjali Sharma, Keen Observer

I’m from India. I’ve been to 10 states all on the East Coast.

1.People don't believe that you can literally just drink water out of the tap in the bathroom. There is a reason why the glasses are kept in the Bathrooms of all American hotels & motels.

2.Nobody believes that their pharmacies and retail outlets are big way way way bigger than you could imagine. CVS & Walgreens, which are both essentially pharmacies are probably even larger than small malls in India. Also, they just don't keep medicines, they keep EVERYTHING.

3.People don't have any clue about the extent of diversity in America. I used to feel proud about being from a diverse nation. Then, I went to America. You see people from every race, races you probably didn't even know existed, every religion, every gender and every form and somehow, they all just blend together.

4.People don't believe that America is a beautiful nation. Many Indians think of it as a culture-less nation. They often ask me whether there is anything to see in America. They have this image that it’s a nation with big buildings and wide roads. No. You cannot be more wrong. There is so much to see and so much to do other than big buildings.

5.In Washington DC, all the Smithsonian Museums are free! It is very very hard to believe and also very very hard to resist going to all of them.

6.Everybody isn't fat. There are a lot of people who care about their health and fitness. I have seen people walking and running on busy streets of big cities.

7.The thing that pinches the most, you have to pay for trollies at Airports. Also, you need to pay for luggage in flights which pinches because when you convert it into your native currency, it is very very expensive.

8.If you think the portion size in American is big, think again. It isn't big, it’s HUGE. Cookies, candies, chocolates, bags of chips etc are enough to feed a lot of people.

(For example- this is a pizza we cluelessly ordered in Chicago. This was around twice the size of a large pizza in India.)

9.If you come from a tropical country like me, American Summer is NOTHING like summer. It is usually comparatively cold, even in June & July.

10.Again, if you are from India, there are no motorbikes on the roads. Absolutely none. It’s very very weird because in India, it’s very common to see bikers riding motorbikes as if they own the road.



2.没有人相信他们的药店和零售店比你想象的要大得多。CVS & Walgreens本质上都是药店,可能比印度的小商场还要大。而且,他们不仅仅销售药品,他们销售一切商品。











11.Majority of families in America have lunch around 11 am or 12 pm. This isn't the case in my country because Lunch gets postponed to 2 pm or 3 pm.

12.Contrary to popular culture, the life of a regular American Teenager is nothing like what you see in movies and tv shows. Their life doesn't revolve around parties, drinking and sex, they are probably only a tad bit less stressed than us.

13.I don't drink coke but my friend pointed out that if you buy a cup of coke, you can get infinite refills.

14.Vegetarian or Vegan options are very very limited. If you are willing to survive on fries, then you’ll love it.

15.Almost everybody uses GPS. The fear of getting lost is negligible.

16.This is a funny one. In cold Northern States, when it snows and gets ridiculously chilly, people go to big stores like Walmart & Costco to walk. You can imagine how large these stores really are.

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