6 Things That Are Socially Acceptable In Other Countries That Aren't In The United States, According To Reddit
For a lot of people, traveling abroad is one of the most enlightening and maturing experiences someone can go through: You learn about new cultures, familiarize yourself with new locations, and push yourself through tough situations.You also discover that there are a lot of things that are socially acceptable in other countries that would never fly in the United States. A recent AskReddit thread absolutely blew up with responses detailing thousands of these cultural norms, and even though many Americans might be shocked by them, maybe we should be taking a leaf out of each of these many and varied books instead.
While certainly not all rays of sunshine, most people see living abroad as a time to learn about yourself, as well as about other cultures and different ways of life than the one you might be used to. There also are many things people see when traveling abroad that read as socially unacceptable or violating taboos. While going to another country doesn't mean we have to adapt all of someone else's traditions or ways of life into our actual lives back home, it's always important to look at new or surprising (or heck, even shocking) moments as learning experiences and ways we can grow as individuals. Our points of view aren't the only ones, after all, and although something might seem weird to us, that doesn't mean it's weird to other people. Basically, it's integral to keep in mind that while something may be an absolute no-go in your own country, that doesn't mean there isn't an entirely sensible reason people behave differently elsewhere.
It's also important to remember that we're seeing a part of someone's else's country and experience, and that it isn't necessarily representative of someone's experience in another city or another part of the country. As an example, think of what a different impression someone would get visiting New York City than if they visited Florida — both are in the United States, but the experience in each is dramatically different. People also have their own tastes and expectations built up when it comes to travel, whether they're on vacation or working abroad longer term, so it's important to remember that one person's experience doesn't speak for everyones.
That said, I thought this thread was super interesting, especially reading the comments from those who live in the countries being discussed. You can check out the full thread here at AskReddit, and see some of my favorite highlights from the thread below.
1. Italy's Public Transit Can Be... Unreliable
OK, so Italy's public transit does run, but there are many worker strikes in Italy that impact the schedule of buses and trains in their public transportation system. Generally, the Italian media releases information on when to expect delays (or outright cancellations) but if you're traveling as a tourist, you probably didn't get the memo.
2. The Rules Of The Road Are Wild In Vietnam
As an American, you're probably used to some pretty thorough driving laws. In other countries, though, it seems like all bets are off: People basically try to get where they're going as quickly as possible so they'll be, ahem, creative with the way they can fit onto the road. If you're used to the environment, though, it's probably much less overwhelming.
3. Fairy Bread Isn't Just For Kids
Ah, yes, fairy bread. I hadn't heard of this stuff until I watched a BuzzFeed video on how to make Fairy Bread last year, and since then, I feel like I hear about it everywhere. Basically it's a sugary sweet treat with butter and sprinkles that you frequently find at kid's parties. While Americans have plenty of sweet treats ourselves, I have to say I've never seen anyone here eat Fairy Bread, but it seems quite common abroad.
4. Nicknames In Brazil Are Serious Business
OK, so, nicknames are a thing in the United States as well, but in Brazilian culture, nicknames can take on a whole new level. The key is that they're never meant to be offensive, just honest. Here in the United States, if you called someone "big head," you'll probably get a not-so-nice response from them. In Brazil, that sort of nickname just means you, well, have a big head.
5. You Can Sunbathe Nude After Work In Munich
The United States haspretty restrictive laws pertaining to public nudity; for example, there are few places women can be topless, and there are even fewer places people can completely nude. In many European countries, however, nudity is less sexualized in general, meaning you can go to a nude beach, sunbathe, or visit the sauna completely nude without getting weird looks.
6. In South Korea, Drinking Can Be Part Of The Job
For Americans at home, it's not too unusual to consider going to happy hour or meeting co-workers for drinks at the end of the work week. In South Korea, however, the drinking and work culture can feel a little more intense: People are generally expected to go out with their co-workers and drink heavily... And unlike in the United States, if you have a hangover, it's not an excuse to play sick and stay home from work. In South Korea, expect to see all of your hungover co-workers in the morning, too.
So, there you have it! Be sure to check out the full range of responses (and rebuttals!) over at the original thread on AskReddit.