Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

People Are Sharing The Biggest Culture Shock They've Ever Experienced And It's Fascinating

Featuring mozzarella sticks, PDA, and more.

On Friday, Reddit user u/kkungergo asked people, "What was your biggest culture shock?"


Here are some of the things that shocked people when they traveled or relocated to different countries.

1. "America has drive-thru everything! Drive-thru coffee, drive-thru ATM, drive-thru liquor store!"


2. "I'm Canadian, and I was 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."


3. "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-fry cheese and then eat it."


Mozzarella sticks
Lauripatterson / Getty Images

4. "Dutch here. When we went to Canada, everything was HUGE. Big cars on big roads, big streets and restaurants and malls. I remember 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."


5. "I know it sounds ridiculous, but my biggest culture shock is 'hugs and kisses.' I grew up in a family that doesn't show love through such means."


6. "My cousin visited me from Nigeria and couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that we have entire stores here just for pets and pet products."


Pet store
Choja / Getty Images

7. "I lived in Tokyo my whole life before this. First day going to college in the States, I went to the gas station to buy something. I had a lot of $100 bills with me because I didn't have a card yet. The cashier literally told me, 'You shouldn't carry that many bills around. If I saw you with that on the street, I would rob you.' I was like, 'OK, thanks for letting me know?' This was six years ago. In Japan, people normally carry/use cash for a lot of things."


8. "I'm from Europe, and my culture shock was the grocery stores in the US and the amount of food getting wasted."


9. "Witnessing PDA everywhere and frequently in France. I'm from a little, conservative Asian country. Here, couples rarely do it, and when it happens, it's just hand-holding."


Couple showing PDA
Hex / Getty Images

10. "I was messing with 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!' I ask them what 'kk' means, and they say it's 'laughing.'"


11. "I'm American and I had never left the country. When I traveled to Japan, I was seeing kids so often travel by themselves and leave their bags in places like at seats when they 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."


Suitcase by itself
Westend61 / Getty Images

12. "I grew up in a Southeast Asian country, and moving to a Western country, I realized the stark difference on parenting. It's much more individualistic in Western countries, rather than community-based."


13. "I moved from Europe to the States. I was shocked how Americans idolize their politicians. These are public servants; YOU PAY THEM! Your taxes pay them — THEY WORK FOR YOU!"


What was the biggest culture shock you ever experienced? Let me know in the comments below!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

BuzzFeed Daily

Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

Newsletter signup form