People Say the Darnedest Things: 16 hilarious things that People Have Said to an American Traveling Abroad

March 31, 2017

16 hilarious things that People Have Said to an American (ME!) Traveling Abroad

As an American traveling abroad, I love when people ask me the most outrageous and hilarious questions ever.It not only makes me smile, but it also shows me how people around the world perceive the citizens of my country. And the great part is, I can actually use this experience to educate others about the fallacies and realities of life in America. So, without further delay (Actually there was this one time, at band camp…just kidding), here are some of the funniest things that people have ever asked me while I was traveling abroad, and believe it or not, some of the answers to these questions were definitely YES!

Vocabulary Vices: 16 Hilarious Things that People have said to an American Traveling Abroad

1. “Are all American women like Samantha from Sex and the City?” And they were not referring to my self-sufficiency and my effortless style and grace (I have neither style nor grace. I am one of those people who trip over my own feet, so high heels are out of the question). This person basically wanted to know if all American women were easy. And I hate to break your heart, but the answer is no.  While we enjoy sex as much as the next person, as a population, we are not running around the world and looking to ravish all the foreigners that we come in contact with. I mean, if that’s your things, go for it. This blog is a judgment free zone (Like Planet Fitness. LoL).

I don;t know what gave you the impression Americans are happy all the time? LoL. I swear, as an American traveling abroad everyday is not this joyful. I wish it was though.

2. “Oh, you’re from the United States? Do you know my friend Amanda, she lives in Wyoming?” This one ALWAYS cracks me up. And I get it. American geography is probably not a top priority in classrooms around the world, but the short answer is that the United States is huge, and has a ton of people. So, just because someone is from the U.S., doesn’t mean I am actually going to know them. I mean, I live in New York and New York City is huge, so the chances of me knowing your friend who lives in New York City are pretty slim, so there is no way I would know your friend from Wyoming ( but i’m sure they’re super cool!).

3. “Wow, Americans are happy all the time!” Aww!! Thanks. I have heard this one a lot and
we do tend to look on the bright side of things. But I assure you, I have met some pretty nasty, miserable Americans in my day. Plenty of people here are walking around with a cloud of doom hanging over their head. So I swear, many of us are totally miserable and hate our
lives (LoL).

4. “Can you teach me how to speak like a rapper?” This one had me dying after the shock of what was said wore off. I honestly, don’t even know what they meant. I mean I guess they wanted to speak in rap lyrics? All I know is that I am not a rapper so I can’t help you. But I do know that some of the lyrics in rap songs can be kind of offensive so i would steer clear of this type of vocabulary when speaking English on a daily basis.

5. “Why are some Americans so rude?” I dunno, maybe they think they’re better than everyone else? I have no clue. All I know is that I was taught to be kind and courteous and to always use the words please and thank you. To this day, and I’m 32, I still call my friend’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Powell because even though I am an adult, I still feel weird calling them by their first names.

An American traveling abroad;  I swear, we are not all members of fast food nations.

6. “Do Americans REALLY eat McDonald’s all the time?” I don’t think I could eat McDonald’s everyday, even if I wanted to. My stomach would launch a full on protest and there would be no way I could eat the stuff. And actually, truth be told, I can’t even remember the last time I ate McDonald’s. So while fast food is popular here, most Americans do at least try to exercise and eat healthy foods. But I totally get where this question is coming from. Portion size in the United States can be insanely large (and anyone who has been to New York City knows this is true). That and, statistically speaking, 68.8% of American are considered either overweight or obese (yikes!), so I can understand where people might get this idea from.

7. “You are so lucky, your  life must be JUST like Gossip Girl” Omg, I wish. I mean, I do live in New York but that’s like the only similarity between my life and Gossip Girl. So sadly,, my parents are not millionaires and I don’t ride around in a limo. I have also never been to a celebrity fashion show or had my own lavishly decorated, debutante ball. My dad is a plumber and my mom was a secretary, so my life is and was about as far from a Gossip Girl episode as you can get.

Well, I have lived in America almost my whole life and have never been shot, so you’ll be okay. Just my perspective as an American traveling abroad.

8. “I never have
to worry about hearing what an American is saying”
 Guilty as charged on this one, at least for me. I am an extremely loud talker (Even by American standards! Let’s just say I never need a microphone), but not everyone is like me because I get told to be quiet all the time. LoL. But I do genuinely feel bad
hen I bother other people and try to be as quiet as possible, if the situation calls for it.

9. “Am I going to get shot if I visit America?” No, probably not. I mean, unless you go to a really
bad neighborhood; and even then, the chances are slim. Sure, we all have the RIGHT to carry a gun, but not everyone does. And while I do know that incarceration and crime rates here are higher than in other countries around the world, I actually don’t know anyone who carries a gun or who has been the victim of gun violence, and I have lived in New York most of my life. So no need to buy a bullet proof vest before you visit the States (Three cheers for saving money!).

10. “You must know SO many celebrities!” Hahahaha, If you mean waited on some at a restaurant, then yes, but in any other circumstance, no. My life is SOO not that exciting. I am just a normal girl who doesn’t really hang out in those type of social circles,  I’d rather travel. But Leonardo DiCaprio, if you’re reading this then give me a call!

Question from an American traveling abroad, you mean every country doesn’t have Monster trucks to cross cars? LoL. Yeah, I know this is just a bigger is better, American thing.

11. “It must be so nice to be rich!” Omg, I would LOVE for this to be true. Seriously universe, pretty please with a cherry on top? Well, sadly no, not right now.  I only travel  because I work hard and saved most of my money. Plus, both of my parents were just ordinary, working class people, so there are no trust funds and or secret offshore bank accounts in my future.  And it’s like that for most people in the United States. Sadly, we all cannot be reoccurring cast members on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

And the one liners that are SOO true, it hurts!

1. “Wow. Everything is so BIG in America” Because we’re consumer whores?? LoL. Just kidding.
But this one is kind of true. Maybe it’s because we’re from a big country? I have no idea. But we do have big houses, big cars, big drinks, and big meals. An American life motto is something along the lines of, ” bigger is always better”.

2. “You guys sure like to wear Khaki pants.” LoL. I was surprised when I heard this one because I never really thought about it. I don’t wear khaki pants but a lot of men and women do, so this one is kind of true and kind of hilarious. Oh us khaki loving Americans.

3. “You guys sure love sneakers.” We sure do!! I actually never wear high heels. Like ever. I look like an elephant when I stomp around in them. Plus, they really hurt my feet and make walking rather difficult. So, like many of my American brethren, I opt for comfy sneakers. But I swear, mine are super cool Tom’s or Converse sneakers. I mean, I have an image to uphold right (I actually don’t because I’m a nanny and a baby basically just spits up on me all day)?

As an American traveling abroad, I can say that a lot of Americans don’t know the geography of our own country, let alone the world.

4. “Seriously, you don’t know where Bavaria is?” Nope. I am terrible at geography like most of the people I know. I mean, I know we have a Bavarian Cream donut, so does that count? But you have to remember that this is coming from the girl who thought LaGuardia airport was in New Jersey, when it is actually in New York. I am so geographically hopeless that I don’t even know where things are in my own home state. But I seriously think that most Americans would have no idea that Bavaria is a part of  Germany (See, I learned something new today! But t’s also terrible that I didn’t know this because my grandma was from Germany. Ooppps)

5. “So, how many other languages do you speak besides English?” Umm, does pig latin count? Okay, I am not THAT bad. I can speak a little bit of Spanish but I am not great at it. Besides, I have enough trouble with English, do I really need to learn another language (Totally joking. Wish I knew way more languages than I actually do)? Truth be told, we are kind of spoiled since English is practically at universal language.But I think it would be great if Americans revamped the language education system and learned to speak as many different languages as other citizens around the world.


Nanny by day and travel blogger any other time.

I love writing and traveling and bearing my soul on the page.
I want to inspire others to face their fears and join me on an adventure.


  • Julia Dent 12 months ago

    I’ve heard so many of these, too! It’s so funny that people think that what they see about the US on TV is true!

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Come on, you know your life is just like the cast of Laguna Beach and real World. That’s how every American lives for sure. LoL

  • Vrithi Pushkar 12 months ago

    This cracked me up ! Love it. Btw do you also know my cousin who lives in Houston? lol.

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Yes yes I do!! LoL. Your genderless cousin in Houston is often, even though I’ve never been to Texas. LoL

  • BonBon 12 months ago

    hahaha… #8 So hilarious and so true!!! LOL

  • Nuraini 12 months ago

    🙂 For sure most people’s notions about what USA is like is from TV … I remember my confusion the first time I went to Texas and the restaurants had free flow soda but didn’t seem to understand why I wanted a glass of just-water – and worse, I wanted it still, not carbonated. ????

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Hahaha. Wait, what’s water? I thought it was just for horses? LoL. Love it!!

  • maegan white 12 months ago

    OMGOSH! I laughed throughout this entire piece! So much truth! I wanted this post to keep going! You will have to make a part 2!

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Don’t worry, I’ve got some other funny stuff in the works that you’ll be able to relate to. Scout’s honor.

  • Kate the Great 12 months ago

    Hehehe that’s a funny one! And I would probably ask you all these questions as well! 😀 But people have a tendency to think in stereotypes and in my opinion stereotypes coming from somewhere, so they are based somehow on truth and your article proved it! 😀
    I wouldn’t say that Americans are always happy but overexcited. A bit different to us, pragmatic Europeans.


    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Oh I like that because I think it is really true. We do tend to be more boisterous than Europeans. That’s probably why we are so much older, or at least I am. I am the absolute worst at volume control. Totally American of me.

  • Brooklyn Murtaugh 12 months ago

    Haha this was funny to read!
    I’m Canadian, and I DEFINITELY relate to #2! People seem to think that everyone in Canada knows each other and are best friends lol

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      And Canada is huge!! You want to be like come on people, that is not possible!!

  • Allison 12 months ago

    As an Aussie u also get hilarious questions … Do you have a TV ( from my Nana in the Uk) … Ah yes and we just got electricity last year too! Do all the critters kill you … Possible but if your are sensible you will be fine! Do you have a pet kangaroo … No I have a dog and a snake. (Gasps of horror at the snake ensue!) Why do Aussie drink so much? Because we can lol Are Aussie really so laid back? No only when we are overseas. Sooooo many more. Love everything about this post ????????????

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Omg I bet Aussies get a lot of hilarious questions!! I like the one about the kangaroo? If it were me i’d be like, “Do dingos really eat your babies?” Just kidding. I know the wild snakes get them. LoL

  • Laia 12 months ago

    Haha that was very funny to read! It’s interesting to discover the image other people have from our country. I’ve also got the question “Do you know “random name”? He’s from your country!”. Well… no I don’t!
    And the most common comment I get when I say I come from Spain… “Do you like football?”

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Omg I bet!! That football comment does not surprise me at all. People also say to me because I;m from NY, oh you must eat pizza and bagels everyday right?? And I’m like no, then I’d be the size of a whale. LoL.

  • Agnes 12 months ago

    Some of them are pretty funny, but number 2 really surprised me! I have been asked the same question, but I am from Estonia and we only have 1,3 million people living there so makes a little more sense, though I still cannot possibly personally know a million people. But to ask an American that is just hilarious. Even if you are bad at geography, you still must have noticed how huge the US is, haha.

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      People do that to me all the time. I try and be kind but in my head I’m like really? How would I know your friend? It’s even funnier when they forget their last name. LoL

  • Becky 12 months ago

    Ha ha Kelly , great post. Love how you wrie as it always mskes me smile. Dam I was gonna ask you how to rap!! I live in the uk and one thing everyone asks is do I live in London I gues NY is the equivelant for you so you can jyst say yes ????????????

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Yeah, people here don’t realize that there is a lot more to New York than just New York City. we just have to expand their horizons.

  • Daphne from Girlswanderlust 12 months ago

    This post is hilarious as well! The first one ‘Wow. Everything is so BIG in America’ is definitely true and very recognisable!

  • Jennifer Schlueter 12 months ago

    HAHAHHA, I’m a German who’s lived in the U.S. for 8 years and I’ve heard foreigners ask most of these as well! These articles are fun; we need more of these for EVERY country 😀
    And – so funny, but I made a video about what Americans have said to me as a German while I was living there 😀 If you want to check it out 🙂

  • Cheryl Howard 12 months ago

    Ha ha! I’m from Canada and now live in Germany and I often get hilarious questions as well, including the one like ” Do you know Bob who lives in Vancouver?” They also ask me why Canadians are are so nice, is it really as cold as they say, and if we have Robyn Sparkles from How I Met Your Mother types. 🙂

    Great post! Thanks for the good laugh .

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Omg thank you for sharing the Robyn Sparkles comment. I love it. Oh the things people “learn” about cultures from tv

  • Cassandra 12 months ago

    HAHAHAHA “you guys sure love khaki pants” is hilarious! That really makes me think of those khaki cargo shorts that everyone sees during the movies….

    I loved this post and I’ve definitely been asked about getting shot, which actually is really disheartening.

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      My mom got that question all the time because she had some blisters that burst on her back and looked kind of funny. In response and total dead pan she said, “Who do you think I am, fifty cent?” I was dying.

  • Steph 12 months ago

    This made me LOL. “Can you teach me to speak like a rapper?” really?! hilarious. I can totally relate, I get some pretty weird questions about coming from Canada (do we really live in igloos?). Funny read!

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Omg are you kidding?? Sometimes I wonder where people get these questions? That is too funny about the igloo. Wait, you guys are all hockey playing lumberjacks ehh??? LoL

  • Karen 12 months ago

    LOL THE GOSSIP GIRL ONE. My other favorite one is “Do you now any famous people?” Um, well, no. Or they tell me about how their friend hated NYC and how they refuse to there. -_-

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      People always think we know famous people. All I can say is that I’m famous, to my parents. LoL

  • Castaway with Crystal 12 months ago

    Ha ha ha I enjoyed this 🙂 Good job. When my brother moved here from the states when he was 10, he was so excited that he would be getting his own kangaroo to ride to school. Such a sad day for him finding out we just took the bus like everyone else.

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Omg I’m dying!! That is too funny. I would love to ride a kangaroo. We just rid horses to school here. LoL

  • Lara Dunning 12 months ago

    Ha! Funny! Great list. I haven’t been abroad in a long time, but last time I was everyone wanted to talk to me about Micheal Jackson and how all Americans loved Micheal Jackson. I admit when I was 10 I went through a love Micheal Jackson phase, but by the time I was 25 that had ended. The anthropologist in me loves to discover different cultures choose to see, and sometimes, well many times, it’s an eye opener to see your own culture through someone else’s eyes. Guess I’d better have an answer ready when I get asked what celebrities I know. 😉

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      It just cracks me up!!! The closest I ever got to a celebrity was waiting on them in a restaurant. And I am totally okay with that. LoL

  • Aaron 12 months ago

    I get a lot of these as a guy from the States, couldn’t hold more true. The part about people constantly asking “how many guns do you own” or “will I get shot in the States” gets me overtime, I think the media likes to focus on the shootings and what not so we get a really bad rep for it. As far as the languages besides English part…it kind of makes me wonder everytime someone brings it up, because it’s true that a lot of other countries are bilingual compared to us. I’ve met Scandinavians, Germans, and generally people from all over Europe that can speak anywhere from 2-4 languages fluently, and then I’m just over here like; “well I kinda learned Spanish in High School…does that count…?” What are your thoughts would love to hear!

    • girlwiththepassport 12 months ago

      Yeah, I agree with your thoughts about the media. I mean I have lived in New York my whole life and have never been the victim of any violence. And I actually don’t know anyone who owns a gun, besides my brother who is a police officer. But I do think there is some statical evidence to back up the fact that the US has higher crime rates than some other countries, I just have never been the victim of gun crime. As far as languages are concerned, I feel like language education here is a joke. It’s like our government relies on the fact that English is a pretty universal language and thus neglects our language education. I mean, i didn’t start learning Spanish oil i was 13, and that was not helpful at all. I feel like people need to remember that we are part of a globalized, larger community and that in order to thrive in that environment, we need to diversify our attributes and enhance language education.But that’s just my opinion. I am no expert but I do wish I was better at speaking other languages.

  • K. 11 months ago

    LOVED this. Reminded me of all the strange (sometimes sinister!) questions I get asked as a Welsh person when travelling. 🙂 x

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