Thought Catalog
January 18, 2014

25 Things Foreigners Admire About Americans

Report This Article
What is the issue?
I think Americans get a really bad rap about being gauche and bigoted people in the eyes of foreigners. We can’t be all bad, so I searched through Reddit to find some things people think are actually awesome about us.
MarineCorps NewYork
MarineCorps NewYork

1. Friendliness

My partner’s American and whenever we travel to the States I’m always struck by how ridiculously friendly everyone is. I’ve had long conversations with people I’ve only just met who are just genuinely interested in what life is like in other countries/how I’m finding America etc. And people tend to be very giving of themselves as well. In Britain the standard response to ‘How are you?’ is ‘Fine/great’ whatever, whereas American’s can give you a complete breakdown of their life at the moment (including an in depth medical history id you’re not careful). It’s nice though.

A couple of years ago I was flying in to meet my b/f, a blizzard hit and I got stranded in Newark. The airline was NO help (‘act of God’) and I ended up spending 6 hours in a blizzard trying to catch various trains to Philadelphia. Everyone I met along the way was so helpful. When I finally got to the Philly suburb where my bf was he insisted on taking me to his cousin’s party at a bar before we went home. I was tired, soaking wet and pissed off, but as soon as I walked through the door a barful of people I hadn’t seen in a year all yelled my name, ran up and treated me like a long lost sister. I cried :)

That’s what I like about Americans.

2. We’re open to experimentation and innovation

Americans think “in trial balloons”. They always explore new ideas, ways of doing things. A lot of times, silly and mediocre stuff comes out of it, but when a balloon flies, boy, does it go a long way.

Educated Americans can leave you in the dust. It’s true, a lot of Americans may be uneducated, or undereducated. But if you meet a person who has studied hard, you better know your stuff, because they are goooood. And since they are used to think in “trial balloons” (see above), chances are, they have thought about the topic in question in ways that you have never even considered.

3. We’re a nation of dreamers

Americans (still) dare to dream. This goes with what some other people said: If you fall, you get up and go on. There is not such a great social stigma associated with failure and the notion that it’s a learning experience is much more pronounced. In Germany, failure is not an option, and ever since I moved to the US, I breathe easier because of this.

4. We genuinely wish well onto others

The thing that stands out to me from times that I’ve visited to US is the phrase ‘Have a nice day’ and the sincerity with which Americans will say it and appear to mean it.

5. Great music

The music. Americans gave Blues and Jazz to the world, which in turn gave us rock and roll, pop, so much music owes its life to blues and jazz.

Andy Newcombe
Andy Newcombe

6. Customer service

Has to be customer service in restaurants. Sure a lot of the enthusiasm and peppiness is to garner more tips, but have you experienced customer service in other countries? The staff act like they were doing you a favour by allowing you to pay to eat there.

7. “In my country you can die on the street and people will just stare at you”

Common respect for life. I know somebody is going to come and tell me “why? they killed so many people!!” BUT, I’m going to talk about the average American on the street. Are you crossing the street and a car is coming? They will stop for you to cross the street! You fell unconscious? someone in the crowd will call 911 and probably, someone will know CPR and apply it. A dog is hurt on the interstate? They will rescue the dog. In my country you can die on the street and people will just stare at you.

8. Our capacity for change

Who would have imagined a country where MLK was assassinated just a generation ago could elect a black president now. I love that you can hold such a huge amount of cultural diversity within a single national identity.

9. Work ethic and equality

I’m a dual citizen of Canada and the US. Really, there isn’t a vast difference in terms of the culture. Even my family, being francophone Québecois, is culturally very compatable with the US (or at least the secular New England region that I call home)
What do I admire most about Americans? They work hard. I know there’s the stereotype of laziness, but I think that this is inaccurate. Most Americans work their asses off, and many never complain.

I also like that in the United States, nobody is above or below you socially. Someone might think they’re above you, but in the end Americans will not hesitate to personally call out an asshole, whether that asshole happens to be Bill Gates, Steve Spielberg, Hilary Clinton, Danny Bonaduce or Dale – – the guy from the trailer park a few blocks away.

Also, Americans love innovation. It’s a great place to take a novel idea an run with it.

JD Hancock
JD Hancock

10. We speak clearly

You speak really clearly, unless you’re from the South or East. Midwestern American is one of the few accents I can’t pick up because I have to pronounce each word in its entirety.

11. The Internet

Your contributions towards the ongoing development of the internet, for without it, I would have to talk to real people.

12. Miss Congeniality

I like Americans more than I like most other nationalities of people – even more than I like the Scottish, my own race. The main reasons are that they are boisterous, loyal, effusive, broad-minded, friendly, trusting, industrious, generous, forgiving and companionable. I’ve never been to a single party yet that had a miserable-looking group of Americans skulking in the corner not talking to anyone.

13. Ambition

Your drive. As an Australian whose duties extend to leaving the hammock once a fortnight to grab more beer, I’m always amazed at how driven Americans are to do things. I sometimes wish I had that sort of passion for achievement.

14. Great beer

Their micro-brews. American beer is seriously underrated.

Summit Brewing Company Facebook
Summit Brewing Company Facebook

15. Self-deprecation

I hear all the time about Americans being jerks or this guy did this horrible thing, or whatever.

But you know what? It’s almost always an American who is bringing these things to light! The people most likely to criticize Americans are Americans themselves. There are no sacred cows or “well, that’s just the way things are” on a national scale.

16. Personal freedoms

There is a lot of personal freedom. People in America can live pretty much as they want, as long as they can afford it (many can) and respect other people’s rights.

17. Self-help and pragmatism

Americans tend to be very pragmatic. I believe that an off-shot of that is American “how-tos” and manuals are the best in the world. This has been very helpful for me personally, as I have wanted to know “how to begin running without injury”, “how to properly teach a preschooler”, and many other practical matters, and I could find almost anything in American books sold in online stores.

18. Big houses

The houses. They’re so big and like….. Fancy. We have a street we all call “millionares road” here, and the house are like American ones. In saying that I know not all American houses are nice and fancy and big, but you know the ones I’m on about.

19. The women

I like the girls… the ones I’ve met.

They are more free spirited, open, understanding and can be fun to converse/hang with when they are learned (all these in comparison to the ‘learned’ European girls – where I’m at).

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

20. Cheese

Your meals, they are delicious and cheesy. You put cheese in everything which is AWESOME.

21. We’re optimists

I like what Stephen Fry says: when someone in the the UK says “Only in Britain” it is a negative about queues or delays or bureaucracy when someone in the US says “Only in America” it is a positive about something dynamic and creative. Americans are intrinsically positive.

22. We want others to succeed

I think that by far the best thing about Americans is this:

When someone wants to be successful and works to achieve it, Americans generally celebrate that, with an attitude of “Right on. I hope you get there, man.”

A lot of other cultures approach such a person with the attitude of “You think you’re better than me? Who the fuck do you think you are?”

23. Passion

Your Passion. Sometimes it is misdirected, but it is a fire inside of every american I have met.

24. More freedoms than my liberal country

1) The internet

2) Everything on the internet

3) Every bit of meaningful technology in the last century

4) You care about freedom of speech (Dutch people don’t understand it and want to silence everyone who’s “offensive”)

5) Your military is what really keeps us safe, because ours is completely irrelevant.

6) Good television shows.

7) All of the popular music that the British didn’t make.

8) Every video game ever.

Anti-americanism is the most despicable aspect of Dutch culture.

24. How much Americans love other people’s accents

I’m Scottish and I love how much American girls dig my accent. It’s fuckin’ awesome. Bitches here don’t appreciate the awesomeness that spills from my mouth every day. I also love American Patriotism. Seriously, when I see how patriotic you crazy motherfuckers are it brings a tear to my eye. It saddens me to see you complain on reddit about certain things, because you fuckers have an awesome (beautiful) country and you can literally do anything.

25. We’ve been dead wrong in the past, so now we’re more open-minded

Any Americans I’ve met have always been very open-minded. It’s probably because of the Civil Rights movement and your very diverse population. It’s only really after catching on with the rest of the world in the last few years. Ten years ago in Ireland it was very rare to see someone who was black and being friends with someone who looked so different was frowned upon. And you can forget about coming out as homosexual… but thats changed since american t.v. has become so popular and the american culture has spread around the world. TC mark

Read This