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Explanations For Things People Do In Other Countries That Confuse Foreigners

Everything is weird if it isn’t something you’re used to. People in Britain and parts of the United Kingdom definitely will have a hard time getting used to driving on the other side of the road, while that completely normal for them. Just like how a visit to the United States might be alarming with how large portion sizes are and how large our cars are. 

Here’s a roundup of some really interesting things people do in other countries that would seem really weird to foreigners.


1. British people driving on the left. 

Back when people walked around with swords on their hips, they wore them on the left side, meaning that it was easier to have traffic on the left. After the French Revolution and the invention of freight wagons, other countries began driving on the other side of the road. This was because the best place to sit for control was on the back of the left-hand horse.

2. Instead of saying “cheese” the Dutch say “laugh at the little bird.”

Different countries use different expressions for asking someone to smile for a camera. Most Spanish speaking countries say “whisky,” and in the Netherlands they say “laughing at the little bird,” because photographers used to put a bird on their camera. 

3. Japan uses blue traffic lights.

In ancient Japanese culture, only four colors were used: white, black, red, and blue. Because of the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals which requires countries to have standard road signs, Japan has found a compromised to have their traffic lights the bluest shade of green possible. 

4. When answering the phone in the Netherlands you don’t say hello.

Most regions use a variation of ‘hello’ when they answer their phones, people in the Netherlands say ‘with + their name’ so you know who you’re talking to. This honestly makes a lot more sense than having to ask. 

5. In Ecuador, the trash trucks play similar music to ice cream trucks in America.

The ice cream trucks in Ecuador play a song similar to the ice cream truck you might hear in other countries. Here is a video of the song

6. Public transportation is free in Luxembourg.

Over 180,000 people who live outside of Luxembourg travel into the country for work everyday, causing a huge traffic problem. The free transportation is meant to ease the traffic problem they have and offer a greener solution. 

7. You can walk the whole of Monaco, from North to South, in about 50 minutes.

Monaco is the second smallest independent country and can be crossed in only 50 minutes from North to South. That is roughly the same she as Central Park in New York City. 

8. In China you can major in “Bra Studies.”

Most bras are made in China so the Hong Koa Polytechnic University started a degree program called “Intimate Apparel Specialism.” Hopefully they can make a comfortable one soon! 

9. Costa Rica’s streets have no names.

Costa Rica’s streets didn’t have names until 2010 and when addressing an envelope for someone, you would use landmarks as an address, including landmarks that no longer exist. 

10. In Italy cappuccino is only meant to be had at breakfast.

In Italy, milk is viewed as being very heavy and is not consumed after breakfast. Milk in coffee after lunch or dinner is not standard

11. If you’re single when you turn 25 in Denmark, you get showered with cinnamon.

Hundreds of years ago, traveling spice salesmen were notoriously single due to never being in one area for a long period of time. Salesmen who didn’t find a partner were called “Pebersvend,” which translates to ‘pepper companion.’ Now, Danes cover their unmarried friends in cinnamon on their 25th birthday. Once you are 30 and unmarried, the spice ups to pepper. 

H/t: Brightside