18 Of The Biggest Culture Shocks People Had That May Convince You The World Is Actually Wayyy More Different Than You Think

18 Of The Biggest Culture Shocks People Had That May Convince You The World Is Actually Wayyy More Different Than You Think

Visiting a new part of the world can sometimes feel like walking into an entirely new planet. Often, our worldview gets challenged, our knowledge expands, and naturally, we compare the experience to what we know.

Person in a denim jacket and eyeglasses walking in a city street with Japanese signage
Johnnygreig / Getty Images

I'm an American, but I've been splitting time in Canada, where my partner lives, for the past three years. Culture shocks have hit me more than I imagined — especially in Québec, which already feels like its own little country within Canada. One interesting shock — I feel people here really work to live, not live to work. I felt an immediate calmness here after living in the hustle and bustle of New York City.

Two individuals enjoying a picnic on a blanket in a park, with snacks and a bottle between them, engaging in a cheerful conversation

Also some fun ones: Canadians don't have Venmo. Imagine the confusion when I asked someone, "Can I Venmo you?" They use Interac, which is connected through their banks. It's much easier IMO. And, Canadians don't take your card from you at a restaurant. They bring the reader right to the table. And they split checks with absolutely no issue!

Three separate images stacked vertically of people in a retail setting, including a woman with a tablet and two of the same man with a cardboard box
Getty Images / Tom Werner / iStock / Canva / Alana Valko

Anyway, I was reminded of all this after coming across this thread on Twitter, which asked: "What is the biggest culture shock you have ever witnessed?"

Twitter: @David_pattt

The responses were fascinating — and they came from all over the world (not just North America or Europe)! Here's what everyone had to say:


Twitter: @mymarvelouslife


Twitter: @nuffsaidny


Twitter: @WaikiHarnais


Twitter: @simsimmaaz

Split image of a woman tasting something with a displeased expression. She's on a set resembling a talk show


Twitter: @merahuelebicho


Twitter: @theobromic_

Woman mimicking flight attendant's safety demo in a bathroom
Fox / Via youtube.com


Twitter: @ThePlatfield


Twitter: @TanakaSDG

As of today, 700 South African Rand (ZAR) is about $36.82 USD.


Twitter: @Jabeehah

Cow walking alongside vehicles like autos and bicycles on a busy road in India
Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images


Twitter: @Calypsoforte


Twitter: @yooneedmorejodi


Twitter: @asemota


Twitter: @lopeoflagos


Twitter: @ChitownCamille

Police line the street with onlookers behind barriers, likely at a public event
Halldor Kolbeins / AFP via Getty Images


Twitter: @Suzuki_Bj


Twitter: @lettersfromjuno


Twitter: @A_Abby_Abi

And lastly:


Outdoor public gym with numerous people exercising, lifting weights and running in Dakar. A monument is visible in the background
Jacob Silberberg / Getty Images / Via Twitter: @MrJonetsu

Have you visited a new country and had a huge culture shock? Let me know in the comments!