Cultural differences between the US and England

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You could write a book, or several. Without trying to get into stereotypes, a few observations:

1) Americans are outwardly very friendly, they will talk to strangers in a store, laugh with someone at a bar, and help their neighbours in a pinch. That said, many ex-pats have reported difficulty in making 'really close friends' like they had back in the UK. The friendliness is only on the surface, so many report.


2) Americans generally do not like / 'get' satire. Some ex-pats claim "they just don't understand it" while many Americans think it "is just a waste of time by those who have nothing substantive to say." Satirical comments in the workplace are almost always misunderstood, and generally not done in social settings either. "Taking a piss" will get you punched by many Americans unless they are your good friends.


3) Many Americans are very family-oriented (at least those with families). Family life is an endless parade of school musicals, extracurricular sports, birthday parties and the like. Many new ex-pats report exhaustion trying to keep up with all the things to do with the kids when they come to the states.


4) The majority of Americans have never been abroad. They may have heard of Spain but have no clue about Ibiza for example. American media does not speak much about Europe, let alone the rest of the world, and the issues facing 'Brussels' and the 'EU' are of absolutely no interest whatsoever to 99.999% of Americans (in fact, polls indicated that a majority has negative feelings toward the UN). On the converse, the United States is a huge country. You could fit most of Europe in only 1/2 of the area of the United States. Many Americans feel they simply haven't seen enough of their own country to warrant travelling abroad to see another country. Just as Americans are made fun of for not seeing the world, many ex-pats are ridiculed for seeing only New York and Florida or other large 'tourist' cities without seeing the vast expanses in between.

To add, many people just don't get enough holiday time to make it financially worthwhile travelling abroad, with holiday - "vacation" time often being as low as 7 days a year, and in some instances that includes sick days, the norm being that you have worked for a year before really getting any holiday entitlement...because of that, you'll see a live to work rather than a work to live outlook on life.


5) Most Americans are 'hyphenated-Americans' and proud to boast of Scottish or Irish or German or Italian ancestry, even if it has been centuries since anyone in their family lived overseas. It is said that Europeans do genealogy to prove who they are whereas Americans do it to see who they were and what they've become. Many Americans like to remember this not because 'they like the Old Country' but they like to show that their family was once immigrants who dreamed of a better life 'in America'. By pointing out that fact (and hopefully living a good and successful life), many feel they are honouring and meeting their ancestors wishes and dreams.


6) Americans will joke about English people's teeth, for what it is worth. If you ever get into an insult match, expect some dentistry comments. Monty Python and the 'Killer Rabbit' with 'Big Gnarly Teeth' is as much to blame as any British dentist.