Wednesday, June 6, 2012

US-Europe Cultural Differences

The first thing I noticed when I arrived to US from Ukraine is, on the way from the airport, all the cars were very large - trucks, SUV's, and minivans. Then, there was paperwork, and a lot of it, for virtually anything, including at school and at the doctor's office. In Ukraine, the cars are small and there is virtually no paperwork - the rules are a tacit agreement. Similarly, when I studied in the UK for two month I notices an array of differences.

In the U.K.

  • "Fries" in US is "Chips" in UK
  • "Chips" in US is "Crisps" in UK
  • "Cookies" in US is "Biscuits" in UK
  • "Underwear" in US is "Pants" in UK
  • "Pants" in US means "Trousers" in UK
  • "Check/receipt" in US is "Bill" in UK
  • "To go" and "for here" in US is "Take away" and "dine in" in UK
  • The date is written dd/mm/yyyy, and they use the metric system (meters, liters, kilocalorioes)
  • Fish and chips (fried fish with fries) is almost the equivalent of a burger and fries in US 
  • Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road
  • In UK they compare your ID signature with your signed receipt, but not in US
  • It is not customary to tip in UK, whereas in US it almost always is
  • UK is half as religious as US
  • Their humor is more dry and literal than in US (UK joke: customer: waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup? waiter: I believe it is swimming, sir.) Also, they think answering "yes" to a question like, "can you tell me what hours the store is open?", is funny.
  • In UK, people try less to be nice than in US, so they are more likely to be direct - and rude. They don't smile as often.
  • UK doesn't distinguish between UK and US movies, e.g. if you ask what're their favorite UK vs US films, they won't know or don't care for the difference.
  • In UK they have smaller cars than in US in general
  • In UK they are less sensitive to issues of race and racism, but they are overtly more racist than in US (example: they have no objection to saying "nee-hao" to every Asian person they see)
  • Many things, such as clothes, groceries, and gas are more expensive in UK
  • There is less of an emphasis on consumerism in UK than in US, such as less advertising and obsession with spending.
  • UK is more sensitive to animal testing than US
  • Soccer and cricket are big in UK
  • UK food is tasteless. There is no national food, but Indian food is very popular.
  • Drinking and smoking laws and conventions are very relaxed in UK, such as drinking age of 18 vs. 21 in US, and students are allowed to bring a bottle of wine to a cafeteria dinner.
  • Healthcare is more accessible and much simpler to navigate in UK than in US, with extensive insurance reimbursement procedures
  • There is less emphasis on masculinity in UK than in US
  • There are more visible social and political protests in UK, and in general more liberal attitude
  • It is rude to ask critical questions of a Professor in UK whereas in US it is encouraged
  • UK is obsessed with Shakespear - they have professional and amateur plays frequently
  • They don't consider that pedestrian has the right of way, so cars sometimes accelerate than slow down when they see a pedestrian
  • UK has Kleenex for Men, while the US has only Man-Size Kleenex. Also, some brand names are different, i.e., the antiperspirant "Degree" in the US is called "Sure" in the UK
  • Tea and scones are a popular snack.

No comments:

Post a Comment