Cultural Differences

CROWDS – There’s a subway station in Shanghai called People’s Square and the name couldn’t be more appropriate. Shanghai is extremely crowded and getting around can be pretty exasperating. Most people will push and cram into subway cars, elevators, and buses without so much as an “excuse me”, so be prepared for a bit of frustration. – Patty, Shanghai

GOING TO THE BATHROOM – Each time I went to use a public restroom in Shanghai, I would pray that it was the American style that I was used to at home instead of a squatter. We were also advised to carry our own packet of toilet paper around as many of the restrooms did not have any. – Jasmine, Shanghai & Madrid

RUNNING – When I would jog along the streets (which were made of cobblestone – terrible for my ankles!) I would get the strangest looks. Some were of confusion, some of amusement, and some of alarm. I’m sure some people thought I was running away form the police or something. – Joyce, Prague

PACK YOUR BAGS –The first time I went grocery shopping, I was waiting for the cashier to ring up my groceries. After a while, it dawned on me that that cashier would not be bagging my groceries, and that I’d have to do it myself. – Michelle, London


One thing I know from being German is that most people in Europe would not normally go outside in their pajamas or in very casual sweatpants. In the US, it’s not a big deal to wear that if you just want to grab something from a store. In many European countries, however, you will stick out. It’s not like most people care, but you will definitely identify yourself as an American.– Maria, London

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