The Weirdest Things About America, According to a CMU International Student

Aniruddh Chaturvedi came from Mumbai to Pittsburgh, and many things about the United States shocked him.

The Randy Pausch Bridge at Carnegie Mellon University. Photo by Ryan Oksenhorn.


Promiscuous women. Hyper-competitive students. Unlimited soda refills. Those were just some of misconceptions that Carnegie Mellon University student Aniruddh Chaturvedi had about America before he came from Mumbai, India, to study computer science. Well, alright, the last one turned out to be true.

Recently, Chaturvedi insightfully (and at times hilariously) reflected on his first two years at Carnegie Mellon and what he’s learned about Americans for Business Insider.

Some highlights from Chaturvedi:

  • Everyone is highly private about their accomplishments and failures. Someone's performance in any field is their performance alone. This is different compared to India, where people flaunt their riches and share their accomplishments with everybody else.

  • Before I came to the United States, I heard stories about how students at Johns Hopkins were so competitive with each other that they used to tear important pages from books in the library just so other students didn't have access to it. In reality, I experienced the complete opposite. Students were highly collaborative, formed study groups, and studied / did assignments [until] everyone in the group "got it."

  • Girls are not very promiscuous, contrary to most Hollywood films.

  • It's expensive to have brick houses in America, contrary to India, where brick houses are the norm.

  • Obsession with coffee — Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, etc. is crowded with office-goers and students every morning. I don't understand why they can't drink or make coffee before leaving for work. Such a waste of money! ($5 / day * 5 days / week * 52 weeks / year!)

  • Support towards the LGBT community — it's fairly normal to be part of the LGBT community; it's not considered a mortal sin if you like someone in your own gender or if you aren't comfortable being male/female/etc.

  • Smoking weed is seen the same as smoking cigarettes.

  • Unlimited soda refills: The first time (and one of the last times) I visited McDonald’s, the cashier gave me an empty cup when I ordered soda. The concept of virtually unlimited soda refills was alien to me, and I thought there was a catch to it but apparently not.

  • US Flag displayed everywhere: I was surprised to see that the US flag is displayed in schools, on rooftops of houses, etc. India has very strict rules governing the display and use of the national flag. Also, something that [stuck] out to me was how it was completely normal to wear the US flag or a US flag-like pattern as a bikini.

  • Bag of grapes: $6. Box of strawberries: $5. McChicken: $1.

The entire article is worth a read at Business Insider


#History: Here’s a photo of the 1907 Pittsburgh Pirates


(h/t to @BeschlossDC)

Incredible. Those fellas all look like they slept in a hyperbaric chamber. Filled with Pall Mall smoke.

Categories: The 412