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First Impressions Of The US – It’s often said that first impressions are everything. Or that they’re the foremost lasting impressions. If that’s the case, then what do non-American visitors deduct from their first trip to the United States? What are their first impressions of America? Are they left with a positive feeling about our country or a nasty taste in their mouth?

We asked our international friends and colleagues, additionally to conducting some online research, to figure out the answers to those questions. Their initial impressions and observations generally fell into one of the next categories: personality, size, food, lifestyle, interests, and expressions.


Perhaps the foremost important first impression you’ll make relates to how your personality comes across to visitors. If you come across as cold and unfriendly, people may generalize that everybody from your country is mean. Fortunately, Americans appeared to make an honest impression within the personality department.

Tom, also from the UK, said Americans had “Lots of enthusiasm. I actually like that, though. albeit it makes Brits look unenthusiastic by comparison…”

You thank the McDonald’s guy, and he, in turn, wishes you an honest day with a smile. You enter the bus, and therefore the driver greets you with a smile. I honestly didn’t once desire an outsider … within the U.S., you’ll ask an individual on the road directions to the beach, [and] he/she might … accompany you so as to assist .”


So we made an honest first impression in terms of personality, but other characteristics surprised our foreign visitors in a rather less favorable way. In fact, many of them were downright shocked at the dimensions of things in our country.

Yijie from China summed up her observations this way: “Everything is HUGE! Food portions, dres’ sizes, supermarkets, and malls. Everything is unbelievably and sometimes even unnecessarily BIG.”

Charlotte from the U.K. was only 6 years old when she first visited the States, but she also commented on the dimensions of things. “I remember everything being so big! Roads, cars, food portions.”

“Food portions and drinks at restaurants are bigger than wont to be”> I used to be used to,” said Valeria from Colombia.

Max from the UK took it a step further, commenting on the “size of the food portions and therefore the size of the people.” He added, “The bellies overhanging the belts are simply much more numerous than anywhere else I’ve traveled!”


Beyond the larger portion sizes, our international friends made a couple of other food-related observations about us.

Here’s what Akansha from India wrote: “People eat cheese with everything! Raw vegetables [with] cheese, fruits/berries [with] cheese! I mean why!!!!! For god’s sake.”

Phoebe from China also noticed our dairy obsession, writing on Quora: “People eat ice-creams as if there have been no tomorrow.”

Valeria from Colombia says she was impressed by the number of food commercials on television, but Nathan from the U.K. said there weren’t as many fast-food restaurants as he’d expected supported American stereotypes. Nathan also said he found our grocery stores to be very confusing.

As with most things, impressions of costs are relative, counting on where you come from. 


Lifestyle can differ greatly from place to put, and even among friends within the same locale. And it’s a reasonably broad category housing a hodgepodge of impressions.

Giulia from Italy visited NY City and commented on the mindset of being always on the go. “You got to be busy. I even have this Italian friend living in NY for an extended time, and she or he cannot accept anymore the very fact that sometimes I just spend time doing nothing. [She’ll ask me] ‘Nothing? Not even yoga? NOTHING?’”

Ruben from Portugal said he was struck by the number of individuals jogging here. Akansha from India agreed: “People within the U.S. are often seen jogging around the clock …


International visitors were fascinated with Americans’ passion for 2 things in particular: religion and sports.

Giulia from Italy had this observation: “In Florida, there have been only religious radio programs. Driving to Key West, I almost gave up.”

In a Quora post, Jing from Singapore noted: “the intensity and keenness of fans when it involves sports (especially in football, baseball, and basketball).”

Akansha from India also commented on the American obsession with athletics: “Interschool/college sports are taken seriously …


Most of the previously mentioned observations are about what Americans do and the way we live, but what about the items we say? Are there certain commonly used words and phrases that foreigners have picked up on?

Lucy from China noticed an enormous one: “People can’t say one sentence during a conversation without using ‘be like.’”

Two people commented on a classic American greeting. Here’s what Kate from the U.K. observed: “Everyone says ‘Hihowyadoin’ like it’s one word and seems surprised once you really answer or ask how they’re .”

Giulia from Italy agreed. “Random people asked me ‘How you doing?’ I began to actually tell them and it took me a short time to know it had been just a polite question. They were surprised once I answered.”

And Raj from Australia noticed that Americans say the word “exactly” tons.


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