Welcome, reader, to my lighthearted account of the peculiarities I’ve encountered since leaving my home country and arriving in the land of stars and stripes. As an African immigrant in America, I’ve been charmed, bewildered, and sometimes creeped out by the customs in this melting pot of cultures.
Buckle up, grab your sense of humor, and join me on this fascinating and often hilarious journey through the oddities that have made me raise an eyebrow in my American adventure.
The Language Barrier
As someone who grew up speaking English in Nigeria, I thought I would breeze through interactions with American strangers. Boy, was I wrong!
After many days of asking people to kindly repeat themselves several times and needing clarification on what they said, I realized there are more than a few linguistic differences between Nigerian and American English.
I knew the Weather in America was different, but I was unprepared for how extreme it could be. From the scorching heat of summer to the bone-chilling cold of winter, My body is unaccustomed to going through such drastic changes in temperature so quickly.
The Culture Shock
As an African immigrant, I was expecting culture shock when I arrived in America; however, I didn’t expect the seemingly simple things about American customs and cultures that would surprise me.
Everything can perplex a newbie like me, from how strangers talk to each other in public to how American servers serve food in restaurants.
The Social Etiquettes
Getting used to the social etiquette of America has been one of my most significant adjustments since moving here. From learning to stand in line and wait my turn to mastering the proper way of greeting people– I’ve had quite a few embarrassing moments while trying to fit in!
The Social Interactions
As an African, I’m used to living in a more communal setting where everyone looks after each other and is always willing to help. But it’s often been difficult in America to find that same sense of community.
People tend to be so wrapped up in their lives here that they rarely reach out or take the time to get to know their neighbors.
The Lack of Privacy
It’s a total culture shock that privacy is so hard to come by in America. Everywhere you turn, there seems to be someone watching or listening- it can be quite unnerving at times!
I’ve also noticed that people don’t seem as concerned about respecting other people’s privacy either, which I’m still getting used to.
The Concept of Time
In Africa, time moves a lot slower, and it’s common for things to take longer than expected. But in America, the concept of time is a different ballgame- everything happens so quickly that I always need more hours to get things done!
The Shopping Culture
I’m taken aback by the sheer number of shopping malls and stores here in America- unlike anything I’ve ever seen. But more so than the number of shops, what surprises me is how much people are willing to spend on clothes and other luxury items- it’s a whole new world for me.
The Fast Food Culture
As a Nigerian, I’m used to eating three square meals a day and enjoying homemade dishes full of flavor. But in America, most people would grab something quick and convenient from the drive-thru rather than cook something from scratch.
Not only does this make me miss my mom’s cooking, but I’m also concerned about the long-term health implications of such an unhealthy diet.
The Advertising Culture
Everywhere you turn in America, there’s an advertisement trying to sell you something- a new pair of shoes or a special offer at your local store.
It can sometimes be overwhelming and intrusive, and I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that it’s a normal part of life here.
The Education System
Coming from a country where almost everyone pursues higher education, I expected American universities and schools to be similarly rigorous.
But what I found instead was an educational system that seemed more focused on preparing students for jobs than learning about the world around them.
The Political System
As someone who grew up in a country with a very different political system, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how things work here in America. It’s interesting, but sometimes it can also be intimidating, especially when I try to make sense of all the debates and discussions happening in Washington, DC.
The Healthcare System
Another source of confusion for me has been the healthcare system here in America. From understanding what type of insurance you need to where to go when you’re sick- there’s just a lot to take in! I’m still figuring out how everything works, which can sometimes be overwhelming.
The Entertainment Scene
From the spectacular clubs and bars to the bizarre reality shows, the entertainment scene here in America has been an eye-opening experience for me. I’m still trying to understand everything and figure out what activities to do in my free time!
The Love Culture
Last, I’ve been creeped out by how love and relationships are treated here in America. People find true love quickly, almost magically, and it’s strange for me.
After all, I come from a culture where finding your soulmate takes time and patience.
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