A group of self-described “non-Americans” shared the quintessential American things they wish they could do and it’s a great reminder of some of the endearing aspects of American culture that far too many of us take for granted.
At a time when America is plagued by political divisions, it’s refreshing to remember that we all share a unique culture that others appreciate.
The responses were prompted by Reddit user gaping__hole, who asked the online forum, “Non-Americans of Reddit: what is an American thing you have always wanted to try?” The most compelling thing about the responses is they didn’t center around the advantages afforded by the country’s commitment to freedom and individuality. Instead, they focused on the day-to-day experiences that the average American enjoys.
The “non-Americans of Reddit” seemed to be really interested in sampling America’s unique culinary contributions such as fair food or things that are deep-fried. They appreciated the lifestyle that Americans in small towns and middle-class neighborhoods enjoy.
They also wanted to take advantage of America’s size, whether that’s the diverse topography or the idea that one can change their life by moving a few hundred miles away.
Personally, the responses gave me a renewed appreciation for the small comforts that we enjoy as Americans whether that’s chowing down on a corn dog or watching a yellow school bus roll down the street full of happy kids.
Here are 19 of the “American things” that non-Americans have always “wanted to try.”
“To visit a diner like in the movies. In the middle of the night, it’s raining and just a few people there with great music from a jukebox.” — TotalAd6225
“Can I interest you in our lord and savior Waffle House?” — ShadowDV
“Ride a yellow school bus even if I’m too old. Growing up I always loved seeing them on TV.” — infiresemo
“A friend of mine from Indonesia said, ‘the food chewer in the sink.’ Garbage disposal.” — Mnemonic22
“Being able to start a whole new life ‘elsewhere’ without having to leave my country and going through an arduous immigration process.” — Gmtfoegy
“It really is a country where you can get up, move 3 hours away and completely reinvent yourself. The only thing that follows you is your credit score.”
“Deep fried foods at a state fair. I’m from Scotland and we love to deep fry everything and I wanna know if it’s just as good or better.” — fenrislfr
“Trick or treating at Halloween.” — IvanaHug
“Proper tailgating before a ball game, the kind where there’s ribs and stuff.” — SpiraltoNowehere
“7/11 slurpees.” — Elford12
“Corndogs, I don’t understand what it is but I want to try it.” — AFowlWaterfowl
“A friend of mine from China took a vacation to the US. He landed in Chicago, rented a car and drove down Route 66 until he could peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon, then drove back. Where he’s from, a road trip isn’t even a thing.” — Henri_Dupont
“Chicken and waffles.” — Wide-Flower3494
“It’s impossible, but the small town/suburban middle-class American childhood experience from the ’80s (think ‘ET’ or ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘Goonies,’ minus the spooky fantasy stuff). What you guy’s say about Blockbuster nights nostalgia, the shopping malls. Growing up in Latin America at that time, we had a few glimpses of that lifestyle in some movies and it was fascinating, dreamlike.” — steak_tartare
“I want to understand baseball. Man that sport looks boring, but a lot of movies are made about it I just wanna figure out how the game is played.” — shweyzy02
“Using the word ‘ya’ll’ in general conversation.” — Devlin_McGregor
“French woman I used to hang out with needed instructions on how to eat a chili dog. Blew her mind. Steamed and toasted bun, all-beef natural casing hot dog from a local farm, homemade chili, raw and finely chopped onions, and a bunch of Colby-jack cheese. She had seen pictures and wanted to try it, so I took her to this place run by a Vietnam vet who had wanted to own a chili dog stand since he was in the war. That was his life goal. Not get married, raise a family. But survive the war and open a chili dog stand. He finally made it after decades of biding his time, and all that passion went into the perfectly executed chili dog.” — DeepStateofAffairs
“White Castle. Specifically that big box of white castle sliders. (I want to try it because of Harold and Kumar).” — Camus-Albert
“I’ve always wanted to go to a ‘real’ haunted house with actors during the Halloween season. Or those scary corn mazes with actors, etc.” — tadpolecrusader
“Beer pong.” — manserct