She then shared her own story that happened on the day of the 2018 Las Vegas shooting. She was on a tram in Poland when she saw a sketchy-looking man holding something inside his jacket. Her first thought as an American was that he had a gun or other weapon, and she ended up laughing and crying when she saw him pull out a beer can.
Pretty soon, other TikTok users who had lived abroad were chiming in with their own revelations about American culture, like @historianmedival's shock when a pharmacy in Scotland gave him medication for free:
He explained that he regularly gets pneumonia and other respiratory infections and — in the US — he would wait until he was literally unable to breathe before going to the doctor. He decided to see a doctor in Scotland, got a prescription, and nearly cried when the pharmacy gave it to him for free because he wouldn't have been able to afford it in the US as a student making minimum wage.
@jonathanbiber was gobsmacked that workers in the Netherlands got unlimited sick time as opposed to a set amount of sick days per year:
When he was reviewing the PTO policy for a new job, he asked a coworker how many sick days they received each year. To which she responded, "What are you talking about?" and explained that you can just take time off whenever you feel sick. He was confused, and so was she.
Watch the full TikTok here.
TikTok user @roamin.free couldn't believe the quality of care he received from a private hospital in Australia for a dance injury:
He said the doctor saw him hobbling on his crutches in the parking lot, came out to meet him, ran back inside to tell the other staff members that he was coming, and then examined his leg right there in the waiting room. And it was all completely free.
@worldmeetsskye learned that it's not common practice for Greek law enforcement to tear gas protesters like it is in the US:
She explained that while she was living in Greece, police showed up to one of the protests near her home in riot gear. And she — having experienced tear gas at the BLM protests in the US — immediately started closing all of the windows and turning off all the fans so the ventilation wouldn't bring tear gas into the house. Her friends were confused and then horrified when she explained what she was doing. Turns out, the police in Greece don't tear gas their citizens every time they protest.
User @americainperdu had a heart attack while living in the Netherlands and realized he didn't need to worry about getting fired for missing work — something that would probably happen in the US:
While experiencing heart attack symptoms, he actually contemplated biking to the hospital because he was worried an ambulance would be too expensive. He eventually called one and it was completely covered by insurance. After receiving care, he was disgusted when he realized his first thought was to call his work — not his mom, or other members of his family — because he was afraid of getting fired for missing work. Because he had A HEART ATTACK.
TikTok user @timj57 immediately thought the loud noises outside his apartment were gunfire, but was assured by his German boyfriend that it was probably just firecrackers.
He explained that he heard super-loud banging through his noise-cancelling headphones, and called his boyfriend to ask if he thought there might be a shooting. His boyfriend responded, "Here in Germany we don't have shooters. It's probably just firecrackers."
@stalecoffee2011 didn't realize that active shooter drills weren't commonplace in Irish schools the way they are in US schools:
When her daughter told her they'd had a drill in school, she immediately asked if it was for an active shooter or a bomb threat. Her daughter, confused, told her it was for a fire drill. She then realized that schools in Ireland don't have active shooter drills like they do every month back home in Florida.
And finally, @livetheami couldn't believe that trespassers in rural Germany didn't need to worry about being shot on site the way they do in rural America:
She explained that she went on a nature walk with her German boyfriend, and it led to a farmer's field. She immediately told her boyfriend she wanted to go home and refused to go onto the farmer's property. When her boyfriend asked why, she said, "Are you crazy? They're gonna shoot us." Having grown up in rural Western New York, this was an assumption she grew up with. Her boyfriend told her that no one shoots trespassers in Germany.
Yep, gotta love the good ol' U S of A.
Do you have a story about when you were living abroad and realized America is...um...not like other countries? Share it in the comments below!
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