What are the biggest differences I noticed during my internship on a cultural level?
First of all, pretty much everything you’ll buy comes from Amazon, after half a year I’ve become a pro at hoarding Amazon boxes with ease and with 2 day free Prime shipping they easily find my way to my house (or work). If you’re not home they usually leave your packages on the front porch and so far I have been lucky enough that non of them got stolen. Where in the Netherlands you’ll most likely use a comparing sites to see where you can find a certain product the cheapest Amazon has pretty much everything and is most likely the cheapest option in the States.
Food, this is probably the thing I missed most, it’s a lot harder for me to get to a grocery store since I don’t own a car anymore and the grocery store is not around the corner as I used to have.
Healthy food and produce is usually more expensive and the quality highly varies depending on which grocery store you go to. Where I could buy a bunch of fresh produce and other food I paid almost half for an entire week compared to America.
One of the things I usually missed most in America is normal bread like we have in the Netherlands. The bread here is sweet and usually very thick and soft. While we have fresh bread in pretty much all grocery stores with a nice hard crust and a wide variety of choices in between white and darker bread. If you want to get a decent bread you have to visit a bakery which also doesn’t guarantee to have the same bread as home.
The biggest difference is probably the fact that we go out to get take out lunch every day at work, sometimes people take some food from home or leftovers from another day. And lunch is usually something warm. At home when we had lunch at work you either take your own lunch which was usually a sandwich or we would eat bread/sandwiches at work.
Holidays are a big thing in America, where we usually have dinner with our family and focus less on the gifts, America spends huge amounts of money on an endless amount for gifts. Chirstmas is also a little different with their days from the Netherlands. Usually we have Christmas eve where we sometimes open gifts or do something with family and then have dinner at the first day of Christmas and the second day with Christmas with other parts of your family or with friends or loved ones. America doesn’t have a second day of Christmas and only celebrates on Christmas eve and Christmas day.
Something that was completely strange to me was that women don’t have equal rights here, I was pretty much blind at first since it’s something I never had to think about.
In my 24 years of living in the Netherlands I never noticed anyone of my female friends, family or coworkers having issues with landing a job and I know many who are in high functions.
A lot of women that I’ve met here don’t feel equally treated and told me stories with examples.
It’s almost the same with gay rights, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to allow gay marriage by law in 2001. Being gay is accepted more and more but also that is still not seen as normal to everyone.
Something interested that I’ve learned about was class rings, people that graduate either high school or college can order a class ring, which is a usually massive ring that can be worth quite some money. Some parents would buy these expensive rings for their children so they have some money in they were in a case of need to eat from and such.