25 People Online Are Unveiling Their Weirdest Culture Shock Experiences

Published 7 months ago

Traveling the world is an enriching experience that exposes us to new cultures, traditions, and ways of life. However, along with the excitement of exploring foreign lands comes the occasional cultural shock, where visitors find themselves bewildered by practices and norms that are vastly different from what they are accustomed to in their home countries.

These cultural shocks can range from humorous to thought-provoking, providing travelers with unforgettable insights into the diversity of our global community. People on Reddit are discussing the most significant cultural shocks from around the world that visitors just can’t seem to get used to. Scroll below to read some answers from the interesting thread.

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Image source: Klumber, Simon Law

Squatting toilets. I know it is just local culture/tradition, but I hate going into a public toilet and be welcomed by others’ effluence…


Image source: Hangrycouchpotato, Nick Ares

Lack of air conditioning in Europe and no screens on the windows. I was staying in Italy at a Marriott property and the hotel room was sweltering in December. I opened the window and the room was immediately flooded with mosquitoes.


Image source: anon, iMin Technology

QR codes for menus in the US, and probably other places, not sure.

“Hey welcome to Zany Bob’s House of Kebabs! Scan the QR right there on that nasty sticker on the table and you’ll be brought to our site. Click on the menu, scroll through a too-large PDF of the menu on your phone because the owner couldn’t get a proper developer for this, then order online! Isn’t that easy?!”

“Oh, what’s that, Grandma doesn’t have a phone? Well, I’d love to bring you a paper menu, but it’s gonna be about 10 mins because we only have a few in the place.”

“Hey here’s your food! I’ll be back in 20 minutes to rush you out and expect a 20% tip for doing absolutely f**k all. Y’all come back, now!”


Image source: GarageNo7711, Shubert Ciencia

I’m Filipino. Brought my Canadian husband home, he had a hard time adjusting his appetite because we eat 5 times a day. ?


Image source: fire_breathing_bear, Monstera Production

In general, the notion that turning down food is rude.

I appreciate that someone cooked a meal for me, but forcing me to choke down something I don’t like is ruder than me simply saying “No, thank you.”


Image source: JennieFairplay, Ellie Burgin Ellie Burgin

I learned in Italy if you see a shop you want to visit and it’s open, go in right then and there because they’re bound to close with no notice at any time during the day without explanation. I don’t think I could ever get used to unpredictable business hours.


Image source: clemkaddidlehopper, Petar Milošević

This is an extremely controversial opinion, but religion-based “modesty” clothing that is designed to protect women’s “sexual purity” will always rub me the wrong way. I don’t care if the religion is Christian, Muslim, Pastafarian, or whatever else: I just think it is abhorrent and archaic when women are singled out as the ones responsible for keeping men from being sexual predators and deviants and are made to cover any portion of their body because of some religious mandate. I also do not agree with the logic that this can ever be a woman’s choice or a “feminist act” as long as a religious community is the source of the pressure to dress a certain way.


Image source: iMattist, Lachlan Hardy

Tipping and taxes not included on the price tag.


Image source: traciw67, Meruyert Gonullu

Bartering. Just give me a price, already!


Image source: Euro-Canuck, Chevanon Photography

I refuse to restrict my cappuccinos to before 11am


Image source: Key_Cranberry1400, Yan Krukau

The unhinged tipping culture in the US. I just wanna go to a restaurant without feeling like I’m either either an ungrateful scrooge or ripping myself off. I understand that staffing is an expense, just factor it into the price!
Less egregious but in a similar vein is not including tax in stores.


Image source: Koellefornia4711, Mon Œil

Portuguese waiters disappearing after serving you the desserts!
A guidebook told me that dessert is seen as the best part of the meal therefore they give you plenty of time to enjoy it. But I wanna pay and move on!

On the other hand: in the US they bring you the check when you haven’t even swallowed the last bite. I don’t like that either ?

Find some middle ground!


Image source: Available_Essay_1652, https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-and-woman-holding-hands-3228726/

Dubai not allowing people to hold hands in public. And also that they have the death penalty if you’re gay.

Natural resources don’t always lead to progress, sometimes they prevent it as a resource curse.


Image source: SnakesParadox, Joaquin Carfagna

I’ve been to Spain twice and can’t get my head around everything happening 3-5 hours later than I’m used to… Breakfast at midday… Dinner at 11pm… Out for drinks until 4am…


Image source: TeleseryeKontrabida, Alcatraz1331

How American public restroom stalls have that gap between the door and frame wide enough for you to make eye contact with anyone walking outside the stall.


Image source: TheDreadPirateJeff, M S

Working in Japan temporarily:

Yeah, we’ll be here ready to go at 8AM

Ok, it’s 8PM, time to call it a day.

But first, the boss and the big boss want to take us out to dinner

Now we have to go with them to the bar for drinks and karaoke.

Ok, it’s 1AM, Boss and Big Boss have left. See you in the morning at 7:30.


Image source: t90fan, Jep Gambardella

I can’t get used to how nothing in the US is the advertised price, and why starters and mains have the wrong name on menus


Image source: sciguy0504

The lack of public trashcans in Japan. I realize it’s Japanese custom to take your trash with you / dispose of it at your own home, but having trashcans at least in heavy tourist areas would be appreciated!


Image source: Iam_Paco

The amount of food on a plate in most US restaurants, and how much leftovers of it go to the garbage, along with the exaggerated use of single use disposable cutlery.


Image source: Key_Cranberry1400

For me it’s the chronic car dependency (US, Canada and the Gulf are particularly egregious). Also I love Iraq but always find it somewhat unsettling how disproportionally few women you see in public (federal Iraq anyway, Kurdistan has is much better in this regard)


Image source: its-saute

China – people spitting all over the place right in front of you, on the streets, on the sidewalks. It’s disgusting.


Image source: cheese_wizard

In Serbia where people mistreat their dogs. Leave them in cages in the front yard, or just outside unwashed on a chain, even in the snow.


Image source: Oatmeal2348

For me, it’s in Mexico where the septic system can’t handle toilet paper, so there are small trash cans next to every toilet for the.. um.. used paper.


Image source: yepthatsmeme

The tipping screen at a coffee shop in the US requesting 20%/22%/25%/other.

Every other country in the world has figured out how to pay service employees without tipping. How has America not figured out how to run a business without handouts?


Image source: Tratata88

The lack of spatial awareness in China, like people rushing to get into the elevator before you can exit it. Men casually coughing up phlegm and spitting everywhere. Shirts rolled up above belly to cool down. All the stench that can catch you off-guard anytime anywhere.

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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biggest culture shocks, culture shocks, local customs, shocking things about different countries, travel, traveling
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