We travel to explore the hidden places, taste delicious food, meet new people, and see different cultures. But part of traveling is also cultural shock, which you will notice if you decide to move from one country to other.
Meet Jorie, a Chicago creative who has moved to Norway to live together with her husband, family, and pets, and who has also turned her TikTok channel into a platform to broadcast all of the interesting things she as an American found foreign in Norway.
In her running series of videos, appropriately titled “Things In Norway That Are Foreign To Me”, she points out things like bread cutting machines in grocery stores, leaving baby strollers with babies outside, packing your own groceries, and the like.
This, and other videos on her channel, have drawn in nearly 24,000 followers and almost 800,000 likes.
Scroll down to witness the cultural shocks.
Dogs Are Allowed On Public Transport
We got in touch with the face behind the channel, Jorie, for an interview on her Things In Norway That Are Foreign To Me video series and all things Norway.
In the beginning, Jorie thought of creating these videos for an American-only audience as a way of informing them about the Norwegian culture. But she quickly understood that Norwegians like to see their culture reflected back at them, so the audience grew rapidly.
“Of course, it’s a small country in population and representation is exciting. I also think they enjoy explaining (as much as I enjoy reading it) why these differences are the way they are,” elaborated Jorie.
So as my audience arose, I now try to point things out to Norwegian viewers of things here in Norway that are not common in other countries, especially the Americas, that they might not realize (like how much they add canned corn to, its not something they notice until they realize many other places don’t have it as a common pizza topping!).”
Grass On Roofs
Double Beds From Single Duvets
Stop Light Buttons That Actually Make Drivers Stop
Now, it’s not all culture shock, as there are also “spot the difference” videos. Sure, some can be a tad bit shocking, like the idea of the government having to agree on a baby’s name, but the latter category would involve things like date format differences and, according to Jorie, they are more for the sake of discussion.
And speaking of videos in general, Jorie used to keep a running list of things to discuss in them, but it changed a bit when the audience got involved:
“Now I read heavily through the comments, and just note things as I experience them. Again, there are 2 categories in the series: the ‘culture shock’ which doesn’t have many items left on the list as I’ve been living here a while; and the ‘basic-known differences’, those I have a few more on the back burner about. I’m also highly sensitive to all the things that will be misinterpreted as ‘stupid American’ so I try to stay always from those… or at least give a very thorough brainstorm of how to communicate it in a video.”
Leaving Babies In Strollers Outside
Nothing’s Open On Sundays
Recycling Bottles And Cans
There are, however, videos that Jorie decided not to post, or there are videos that were posted despite it not really being “new” information at this point. She elaborates:
“Like I just mentioned, I hate the ‘stupid American’ comments. Of course, I know in Europe the dates are D/M/Y vs M/D/Y, or that the power outlets here were different, but I still want to post these small differences for Norwegians and other Europeans that don’t know how America does it.”
“I also get a lot of comments telling me how America works (in a negative cliche light) from people who definitely have never been. Mind you, we are made up of SO many states that are SO different culturally than one another. So videos that bring up politics, I’ll stay away from as I don’t like feeling any personal association with those cliches.
“On the other end, I’ll get comments from people who studied abroad in the states telling me I’m wrong about my comparison (roundabouts are not common in the US, period, end of story!).”
Bread Slicers In Grocery Stores
Clean Drinking Water From Faucets
Packing Your Own Groceries At Checkout
Different (Consecutive) Date Format
“My biggest takeaway on it is that these videos are not ‘who’s right and wrong’, and no, I personally don’t think the world revolves around the US, and many try to declare that. It’s just a fun note on how different countries and cultures can be. Although I find my commenters can be a very literal bunch! So I also try to put out as many disclaimers as I can to avoid all these types of comments.”
“Sometimes my videos are dramatizations (I added canned corn to everything I ate that week of shooting, I do know Norwegians don’t add it to those specific items). And some of my videos are more based on my experience coming from Chicago, not just the general US. But no matter how hard I try, no one reads captions and they will still find a point of contention. I do have a huge experience I plan to talk about in the very near future that I’ve been eager to share on social. So those will maybe become a sub-series to this series very soon. Stay tuned!”
Smaller Milk Packaging With Shorter Expiration Periods
Gender-Specific Names For Newborns
Standing Rather Than Sitting Next To A Stranger On Public Transport
Paprika Flavored Snacks
Blinds Outside Windows
Flexible Shower Doors
Windows Open In Multiple Directions
More Laid-Back Airport Security
Separating Beer Packs
Canned Corn In Almost Any Dish
Different Electrical Outlets
Do these things happen in your country as well? Have you also moved to any country and experienced any major cultural shocks? If so, you can tell us about it in the comment section. We would love to know.
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