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Non-Americans reveal the things Americans do that they simply do not understand

Here are 19 things they just don't get.

americans, american culture, reddit

Things non-Americans just don't understand.

A recent viral Reddit thread revealed the everyday American customs that people in other countries have a difficult time understanding. There were so many things that were perplexing to people from other countries that the thread had more than 28,000 responses.

But don’t worry, it isn’t a long list of America bashing. It’s a fun list of things people across the world genuinely wonder about that gives a unique perspective on things we all take for granted.

The thread was started by Reddit user Surimimimi, who asked, “What things do Americans like and the rest of the world not so much?” Many of the responses were from Europeans who have a hard time appreciating certain American customs, cuisines and public facilities.


A big thing that non-Americans find unusual about Americans is our outspokenness. The commenters noted that Americans love speaking their minds on bumper stickers, lawn signs or telling somebody in public how they feel.

That’s probably because Americans are much more individualistic than Europeans. A Pew Research study from 2016 found that Americans are much more likely than our friends across the pond to believe they control their destiny and that it takes hard work to get ahead. Americans are also a lot more tolerant of offensive speech.

The American diet is also confusing to a lot of people. A lot of commenters pointed out that they have a hard time understanding America's love of ice-cold drinks and odd food combinations such as peanut butter and jelly or chicken and waffles.

But if everyone in the world was the same it would be a pretty boring place. So, as they say in France, “vive la différence!” which, in American English means, “Do your thing, man.”

Here are 19 things that Americans like and the rest of the world, not so much.

1.

"College sports. Particularly football and basketball. The rest of the world loves soccer, but nobody gives a hoot about it at the university level." — Scrappy_Larue

2.

"Opinion signs outside their houses. Like 'in this house we support...' I find it weird and unusual." — Bitten Onion

3.

"Bumper stickers." — Back2Bach

To which assortednut added:

"Sometimes I get the impression people put their entire political philosophy in the space of a bumper sticker."

4.

"This used to be much more prevalent in the US but food coloring. When I moved from Japan to the US, I was surprised at how colorful their foods were. These days Americans are now more keen to organic natural stuff so I see it less but it took me a while to realize that blue raspberry is not a real thing." — Awesome Asian

5.

"Root beer and ranch dressing. I brought some to Germany and had my friends try it and they said the root beer tasted like medicine. They politely tasted the dressing with celery and said 'Hmmm, interesting' but the look on their faces was that it was terrible ha." — nargleflargle

6.

"Cheerleaders." — liebe_rootBete

7.

"ICE. Filled till the brim before you pour any drink." — locoliga

8.

"24-hour stores. I was in Chicago working with a colleague from Switzerland who suddenly realized around midnight that he needed a network cable to configure a mobile router for a job the next morning. I told him that I'd meet him in the hotel lobby to drive him out to Walmart. He was happily surprised, as he had forgotten about the US's famous chain of Walmart stores." — Fondren_Richmond

9.

"Waffles with chicken." — glori-hallelujah

10.

"MM-DD-YYYY Date format." — javapyscript

11.

"Peanut butter and jelly." — FlyBuy3

12.

"Flags. So many American flags everywhere." — justmyfakename

13.

"Free soda refills at dine-in places." — Lostarchitorture

14.

"Free public restrooms. I know they're gross but they are nice to have." — vebidib774

15.

"Marching bands. If you’d played the flute in a marching band at my school you would have gotten pelted but in the US you can become a state hero." — Fuzzie_Lee

16.

"Handicap accessiblity. Old buildings/towns in Europe are nice, if both your legs work." — boxatel499

17.

"Lawns...what a waste." — TheFarce_Sighed

18.

"I'd like to say optimism, even if it's blind sometimes. The CAN DO attitude is extremely strong. I would also put belligerence up there for better or worse. That 'Get the f*ck out of my face, I'm not paying for / doing that' attitude. Whether you actually can or not, the American culture makes you feel like you can really do anything. Again, it's a double-edged sword but you'll seldom find an American who's just going to lay down and take someone's sh*t or heed someone who says (to your aspirations) 'You can't.'" — facobi8356

19.

"The switch for the bathroom is INSIDE the bathroom." — [deleted]

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
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