The United States of America are the country of unlimited opportunities …and a country of contradictions. There are many myths and legends growing around it and while some are true in our view, others are far from what is reality. As we’ve both been to the US and fell in love with the country, Laura from Yellowtravelbird and I decided to come up with a collaboration for you.
You’re now reading the first part of our collaboration: Expectations that will come true! The second part will be published on Yellowtravelbird soon. On Laura’s blog, we will tell you about expectations vs. reality!
1. Americans are super friendly and will welcome you with a smile.
This is probably the first thing I learned when I had just arrived in the United States. Especially if you come from Germany – like I do – the open friendliness of Americans will first shock you. You may even be a bit confused and helpless as you don’t know how to react to that. But don’t worry! You’ll soon adapt the friendliness and welcome others with a big smile on your face as well. Moroever, Americans aren’t as distanced as other nationalities sometimes tend to be. So, no matter whether you’re at home with friends or neighbors or just shopping in the grocery store: You should better get used to being called ”sweetheart” or ”darling”. In the USA, a stranger won’t remain a stranger for a long time!
2. There’s nothing that you can’t find somewhere in the United States.
The USA are known for their diversity of …well…almost everything. And if you believe it or not, this diversity is not just a wild fantasy of people who have never been to the US. It’s real! During my time in the United States, I saw a range of extraordinary and weird things that I had never seen before or that I had never even considered to be existing. From the famous neon-orange spray cheese to frozen yoghurt topped with bacon – there’s probably nothing you can’t get at least somewhere. One of my friends from the US even told me about a supermarket selling pineapple-flavored meat. And that’s pretty weird, isn’t it?
3. Everyday work in the United States is more relaxed and not stiff at all.
Being an intern for a Californian travel agency, I was surprised by the relaxed and open atmosphere in my job. Even though there are goals that need to be reached and tasks that need to be done (obviously), fun at work is a huge priority in the US. This already starts with the fact that you often address your colleagues with their first names and even your boss will probably introduce himself to you by telling you his first name. In general, hierarchies are flat, which helps to create a collegial and respectful spirit in a team.
I’m Laura from www.Yellowtravelbird.com and lived in Chicago for two years. I remember the weeks before moving to the US to work as an Au Pair. I had so many expectations, especially because I have never visited before, my imagination went completely wild.
One thing was the size. I knew everything would be bigger than in Germany. The country itself obviously but also the houses, cars, malls, cities and simply everything. In the US there are 323 million people living, that’s four times as many as in my home country. When I arrived in New York City for a one week workshop before heading to my host family in Chicago, I was amazed by the dimensions. The buildings, the lights at Times Square, the energy, the people and everything in between were absolutely fascinating. After two years in Chicago, I’m now still looking up in amazement at all the skyscrapers.
Another expectation was the extremely high brand awareness. I wasn’t really into high-end brands like Michael Kors, Tiffany’s or Kate Spade before living in the US and I’m not in a rush to buy them now either but I knew they were a lot cheaper than in Europe. That’s why most people shop till they drop during their visit to the US. And while my time being there I was a little addicted, too. I found myself on a constant bargain hunt for brands. Everyone on the streets walks around in established brands and the classic Michael Kors bag is a common Christmas gift from host families to their Au Pairs. Before I left the US, my host parents gave me a necklace from Tiffany’s and said I couldn’t leave without owning something from Tiffany’s.
From movies and shows I knew there was gonna be a very strong patriotism. In the center of American cities you can’t go 50 meters without eying the USA flag and especially in the suburbs the majority of households have one in front of the house. Citizens are proud to be American, well not sure abut that one now that Trump is president… Traditions and festivities liek Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, 4th of July or Christmas are unbelievably important and big in the US. It’s always been nice to see how loyal Americans are to their country!