It’s always interesting to travel abroad and see the things other cultures do or have. When those places do or have the things your own country doesn’t it can be an eye opening experience. Here are some things that you won’t find in the United States that you may in other countries.

The Metric System

Kilometers? Liters? Meters? Celsius? You won’t see those units of measure in the United States. In the 1970’s there was a large movement toward the metric system but not a strong enough legislation to do so. The United States is the only remaining industrial nation which isn’t switching nor has plans to switch to the metric system.

ÇMastering the Metric SystemÈ av Ned V. Schimmizzi
(Image Source: Flickr | Aslak Raanes)

Free College Education

Some students in the United States can enjoy college for free if they qualify for grants or scholarships. The rest of us have to foot the bill up front or as debt in the future. That’s not the case in countries like Finland, Sweden, Brazil, Norway, or Germany to name a few. While some of those country’s universities may charge a registration fee, there is no tuition.

(Image Source: Flickr | Wrote)


Milk in a Bag

Yes, milk in a bag. Our neighbors to the North have been drinking milk from a bag for quite a while. They aren’t the only ones. Countries like Hungary, China, Russia, and Estonia are not new to bagged milk–while the United Kingdom is beginning to see a resurgence. To make things easier, there are even pitchers made especially for the bags. How convenient.

(Image Source: Flickr | Wootang01)


Price Tags with Actual Price

When you’re away from the United States you’ll see price tags just like you would here. The only difference is that the prices on those tags in, for example, European countries are the price you will pay for whatever item you’re buying. Tax is included in the price…no surprises! Unlike here where an item which costs $1.99 will come out to $2 and some change at the register.

(Image Source: Flickr | Alvy)


Chicken Based/Vegetarian McDonalds’

Fast food restaurants are the same but different around the world. Usually the store meets its demands of the market it is in. Take for example a McDonalds in India. The menu is chicken based with vegetarian options. Good luck trying to find a McCurry wrap anywhere in the States.

(Image Source: Flickr | counterclockwise)


Not Tipping

In many other countries the waitstaff is paid a higher wage than here in the States. Thus making tipping unnecessary. It is a problem discussed by many servers and bartenders that when someone comes in to eat or drink from a country that doesn’t recognize tipping they don’t leave a tip. And, seeing as most server’s wages are $3 or less, this makes some people unhappy.

(Image Source: Flickr | torbakhopper HE DEAD)


Casu Marzu Cheese

You will not find this Italian cheese anywhere in the United States. The reason why is because the FDA has blocked its import because there are live maggots living in the cheese. The larvae of the cheese fly’s digestive action is what causes fermentation…or better yet, decomposition. You can either clear larvae before eating it or not. Choose wisely.

Acer Image
(Image Source: Wikipedia)


Yelling to get Server’s Attention

Snap at or yell to a server in the United States and you will likely get set ablaze by an unhappy glare. But, in Japan it is recommended. That’s because a server won’t come to you until they know you need their service. If you’re ever in a restaurant in Japan you will surely hear “sumimasen” (excuse me) being called out.

(Image Source: Flickr | w00kie)



Josh is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *