If you’ve ever studied abroad, then you know what it’s like to be submerged in an entirely foreign culture. But have you ever wondered what it’s like on the flip side of the experience – what it’s like for someone going abroad to America? Join columnists Amy Chilcott, of Australia, and Kasumi Hirokawa, of China, as they encounter all things American and Penn State – and tell it as they see it the way only one with a foreign perspective can.
During my time in the U.S. I’ve noticed that Americans love America. Patriotism here exists like nowhere else in the world. After talking to a few other international students, I realized that they appreciate different things about the U.S. than Americans do. Here are a few of the things I, as an Australian, appreciate about the U.S.
When I go home, I have about four stores to buy clothes in. In Australia there’s no Forever 21, no Urban Outfitters, no Bloomingdales (however, we did have our first H&M open in Sydney this month!). Our choices are limited. You might be thinking, “Oh, but you can just shop online, right?” Well, yes, but after converting currency and paying international shipping fees, everything is too expensive. Clothes here are pretty reasonably priced too: a shirt that costs $15 here would cost $30 in Australia.
All of my favorite shows are American, but you know what the best thing is? I can watch them on TV as they air. No more waiting for three months until an episode makes it to Australia, or trying to find a link online to watch it. I don’t have to worry about someone online spoiling the new episode of “Orphan Black.” Similarly, I can access the websites of American broadcasters. If I miss an episode of a show on MTV, I can watch it on the website the next day! You know what happens if I try to do that in Australia? “Sorry, this video is unavailable from your location.” Oh, and let me just mention this: we don’t have Netflix. What am I going to do when I go home?
There is so much food here. All the different kinds of cereals, biscuits, candy – I wish we had them all back home. Things I’m really going to miss when I’m leave include Lucky Charms, Sour Patch Kids, and Cool Ranch flavored Doritos. We also don’t have Chipotle, Taco Bell, or Burger King, but I know I’ll miss In-N-Out the most.
Photo by Victoria Oberdorf