10 things: USA vs the world | The Balkans

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Written by Kelly Asmus, Work and Travel

On a recent trip to Bulgaria and Montenegro, I noticed some interesting cultural differences between the US and the countries I visited. Here is what I observed;

1. In the US, the focus is definitely on the perfection of the service when at a restaurant and less so on the food. In the Balkans, the service is not the main priority, but the food will most likely be very delicious!

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2. In the Balkans, you can see the impact of history in the people’s demeanor leaving them more cautious and cynical, less tempted to go above and beyond. In the US, everyone has a tendency to be more outgoing and optimistic, believing that anything is possible if you work hard for it.

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3. In the US, young people wear a suit to an interview. In the Balkans, young people wear whatever they feel like to their interview. 

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4. In the Balkans, cover bands are extremely popular and you hear their songs often in places like restaurants and on radio stations. In the US, you will generally only hear the original song on the radio or while out for dinner, not a cover of that song.  

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5. In the US, pedestrians always have the right of way. In the Balkans, cars rule the roads. 

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6. In the Balkans, space is a precious commodity so buildings are smaller, closer together, and prefer multiple floors. In the US, there is so much space to spare most buildings can be larger and expansive, not needing additional floors.  

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7. In the US, a quick day trip could mean driving for a few hours to get to your destination. In the Balkans, driving for a few hours will land you in another country!

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8. In the Balkans, breakfast is not a huge meal, some coffee and maybe a pastry. In the US, breakfast is considered an important meal that cannot be small or missed.  

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9. In the US, we smile, a lot. In the Balkans, they need a reason to smile.   

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10. In the Balkans, they have a tendency to communicate in circles as their language is structured that way. In the US, English is constructed in a way that makes communication very clear and direct.   

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