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Home > Op-Ed > November 28, 2021

The US Does It Better
By: Rocko

Non-Americans are sharing things the US does better than anyone else.
And I'm actually feeling pretty proud to be an American right now!

It's pretty easy to pick on America, but there are also some things that the US does pretty darn well.
So a reddit user asked, "What does America get right?" Here's what people had to say.



1."Restaurant substitutions and alterations. When I visited Spain, and I couldn't find a place that let me substitute or change things. Everything had to be ordered as specified on the menu. No, you can't replace the ketchup on your burger for BBQ sauce. Here in the US, substitutions are generally allowed without an issue."


2."I didn't like '80s music until I heard American '80s music. America definitely did the '80s best."


3."As a non-American, one of the things that stood out for me in the month I spent backpacking around was how helpful and friendly the people are. Everyone I met over there was willing to help me however they could."


"I ended up hitching a ride from strangers to get from New Orleans to Florida; I got lost walking hungover through a new neighborhood and a few guys gave me directions back to my hostel on the other side of town and invited me back for a party that night; many locals I met took me in and showed me their hometowns. For all its faults, America and its people made me feel like I was in a second home, and I'll be back one day."


4."Halloween season. I love the whole spooky season in America. I live in the UK now, and they just don't do it here like they do in the US. You don't see houses lit up and decorated with pumpkins, and you don't really see Halloween-themed treats. Halloween is catching on here more thanks to TikTok and other social media, so I'm hoping we adopt more of the American mindset where people aren't afraid to let out their inner child and put on a silly costume."


5."Theme parks! The US has so many to choose, and it's not all just Disney and Universal. The few I've been to have been fantastic. Meanwhile, here in New Zealand we have one theme park with a single roller coaster (and it's a pretty meager one at that)."


6."The public library system. In my county alone we have over 10 different libraries, and you can transfer between them so there's an enormous selection of movies, books, and magazines at your disposal."


7."Barbecue. I'm Canadian and we'll 'barbecue' year-round, but it's just your average grilling. I want American barbecue aka that brisket that's been smoking all week."


8."Public land and access to it. Everyone talks about the National Park system, which is the crown jewel, but our wilderness areas, national forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, state and local parks, and protected coastal areas are truly amazing. Not all Americans can afford a cabin in the mountains or a house on the beach, but with a car and a tent we can all enjoy those places no matter your income."


9."America has some of the best higher education in the world. Even if you don't go to an Ivy League School, you can still get an amazing education. State schools can give you a world class education. In fact, universities like Penn State, Ohio State, Florida State, and a handful of California state schools have all been in the top 100 at one point or another."


10."Endless variety and options at the grocery store. I'm Brazilian, and my experience living in America was that there were so many choices and endless variety in things like food, candy, and drinks. Here in Brazil, you'll usually be able to choose from 5 or 6 soda flavors. In America there are so many options that it's hard to count."


11."The freedom to be whatever you want. I don't mean career freedom, per se, but more the ability to express your personality. My friends who moved here from Germany and Canada felt that being different in those countries made you stick out like a sore thumb. But here in the US, people can be whoever they want to be."


12."Accessible buildings. Honestly, I never appreciated them until my dad ended up having to use a wheelchair."


13."LGBTQ rights and protection. I don't believe our system is perfect. In fact, it certainly has its flaws. But in comparison to where my extended family is from in Eastern Europe, I feel much safer coming out in the US than where the rest of my family lives. At least here in the States I don't have to worry much about possibly being fired, ridiculed, assaulted, 'corrected,' or killed, if other people know I'm gay."


14."America is full of wandering hype people. You never know when it will happen, but in America, people are always hyping each other up. They are usually complete strangers. Someone will cheer on another guy unwrapping his perfect burrito or the person ordering three extra shots of espresso at the coffee shop. Americans genuinely love watching people win, even if there's no competition. We feel this weird sense of camaraderie when we share a moment of victory, and we love hyping each other up."


15."Ranch dressing. We have something labeled 'ranch' where I live, but it's not the same as American ranch. Not even close."


16."Burgers. Each one is better than the next. I'm not talking about McDonald's or Burger King. I'm talking about gourmet American burgers. No other country I've been to comes close in the hamburger department."


17."Convenience. I love traveling to Europe, but every time I go I miss the convenience of America. Grocery stores have everything you could ever want, whether it's 80 different cereals or kinds of potato chips. If it's 2 a.m. and I want pancakes or a burger, the diner down the road has me covered. Within a few miles of my house I can get Chinese, Jamaican, Korean, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Italian food. If I need to buy a toaster oven at 9 p.m., Walmart and Target are open."


18."The ability to turn right at a red light."


19."The diversity of the 'American' experience. Globalization is well and alive here, and it's my favorite thing about living in the US. Where I live, there are revolving sushi bars, Russian bath houses, Korean grocery stores, Mexican restaurants, and Italian specialty markets."


20."The entertainment industry is second to none and absolutely light-years ahead of all other nations. In terms of 'content', the US is in a class of its own."


21."Ice in drinks. America has a better beverage-to-ice ratio than just about anywhere else in the world." 22."The interstate system. It is one of the safest and least congested road systems in the world. The fact that you can drive from New York to Los Angeles in relative comfort on flat, paved roads is an insane concept outside the US. It's like driving from Moscow to Madrid in a mostly-straight line with little risk of an accident. There's a gas station/convenience store, a restaurant, and a rest station every few miles."


23."Science, technology, and medicine. People from all over the world come to America if they have really important health issues that they want treated. The US has so many great doctors. Sure, the price of healthcare can be very expensive, but the quality is unmatched."


24."Household appliances. The US takes this very seriously. I lived in Europe and hated the lack of dishwashers and clothing dryers. Americans definitely have the right idea here." 25."Entrepreneurial spirit. America really fosters this attitude. There are so many people taking risks and coming up with new ideas and businesses in the US. It's not a coincidence that so many of the new, great companies of the world come from America."


26."Freedom of speech and press. Many people don't appreciate that America seems to have so many problems because problems are exposed and discussed whether the government likes it or not. Many 'more orderly' countries only appear that way because the government controls the flow of information."


27."The National Parks System and the America the Beautiful pass, which gives you unlimited access not only to national parks, but also National Monuments, historic cites, etc... It's amazing for road-tripping."


28."Beer. This one still surprises many non-Americans when I travel and talk to them about it. Most non-Americans think of American beer as Bud and Coors, but when I tell folks about the microbrewery scene back home, their jaws drop."


29."NASA. Despite all the political bullshit, NASA is still taking great strides in taking humanity forward. Even more importantly, it focuses a lot on educating the common people during missions. I love that all the information and pictures and everything NASA produces are publicly accessible for free. I'm not even American, but NASA made me seriously interested in space and astronomy when I was growing up."


30."Opportunity. I am an immigrant, and America is the only country I want to live in. I have traveled to 60 countries and lived in eight. No other place in the world gives you the freedom to realize your dreams if you work hard enough."


31."The United States Postal Service. It's crazy that I can pay just 55 cents and USPS will get my letter where it needs to go. And quickly, too."


32."Free public restrooms that are easy to find and relatively clean. Why do I have to pay $1 to pee in Europe?!"




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