Canadians Shared 8 Things That Are Wildly Different In The US & America Is Complicated
From politics to activities, there are so many disparities.
The United States and Canada, while part of the same continent, are wildly different on each side of the border. In fact, two Canadians shared with Narcity all the biggest cultural changes they've noticed in the States compared to their country... and America seems so much more complicated!
Idriss Bouchatal is currently based in Canada but has lived in the States before, and Meghan Bouchard grew up in Montreal but now resides in Florida. From the political presence all the way down to the number of activities, there is so much more to consider when traveling to the U.S., according to these Canadians.
Below, we've compiled a list of the differences they noticed between the countries that they said shocked them the most.
There's apparently a more prevalent political divide in the U.S.
"The political divide in the U.S. between Republicans and Democrats is very present in the culture and in the way people interact," Bouchatal said.
He mentioned that it's not necessarily a focal point for Canada, and the same goes for religion. He said there's a more clear separation between church and state in Canada.
The presence of guns is felt a lot more in the U.S.
In the U.S., guns are a hot-button issue and are sold at places like local Walmarts in certain states. The right to a firearm is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and is still being brought up as a campaign pain point in politics today.
Bouchatal, who visits Florida often, said that he saw signs all the time advising where you can open carry.
"One thing that surprised me in Florida particularly was the 'no guns allowed' signs on the doors of commercial buildings. This isn't as much of an issue in Canada," he told Narcity.
Health care in Canada is way cheaper, but the U.S. has shorter wait times.
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Affordable health care has been an ongoing debate in the U.S., and Bouchard, who now lives in the U.S., confirmed there's a stark contrast.
She said the U.S. has hefty medical bills, but on the flip side, there are more available doctors.
"When I was in Canada, it would take forever to be able to see a doctor (even the emergency room)," she said. "But I never end up having bills come in for it."
The U.S. seems more culturally different than Canada is (except Montreal).
The American dream, as many call it, is one of the reasons why the U.S. prides itself on being a culturally diverse melting pot.
Bouchatal said that aside from Montreal, the rest of Canada seems to have a pretty similar culture.
"You won't feel much difference in culture between Ontario and British Columbia, for example, as you would between South Carolina and California."
However, Bouchard said that her hometown of Montreal in particular felt more diverse than many areas of the States when it came to cuisine.
"I lived in Montreal and I find that their food was more diverse. If I wanted Haitian food or Nigerian food it was easier to find than here. It has a more diverse selection of international foods," she said.
Americans are apparently more approachable for small talk.
In some regions of the United States, Bouchatal said Americans are way more "approachable and willing to engage in small talk," while Canadians are more "individualistic."
This isn't far off from what one TikToker said back in December after visiting Atlanta, GA. The creator, Chris Zou (@storiesofcz), mentioned in his video that "southern hospitality" is unlike what you'd see in his hometown of Toronto.
Most things in Canada are written in English and French.
Canada has two official languages (English and French), whereas the U.S. doesn't technically have an official language.
In Canada, everything is translated into both languages, such as signs, stickers on food, etc.
Bouchatal noted that the second most popular language in the U.S. would be Spanish, but it's not designated as an official language at a federal level, the way French is in Canada.
The currency and measurement systems are an obvious difference.
The United States has an obvious difference in currency as America has the U.S. dollar and Canada has its own dollar.
"Obviously the currency is different, but Canada uses coins for one and two dollars whereas the U.S. has bills, which takes some adjustment to," Bouchatal said. He joked that U.S. money makes your wallet "fat."
As far as the measurement system goes, America gets a bit complicated because the country is one of the few globally that still use the Imperial system, while most of the world is accustomed to the metric system.
There are so many more activities in the U.S.
Bouchard, who now lives in Florida, boasted about how much there is to do in America vs. Canada.
"There are a lot more activities to do in Florida! You can go to Devil's Den, the Everglades, the beach, and so many other things to do. Montreal was a small city so it was limited in things to do, I found," she said.
It's a positive for Americans to have so many choices that it can be difficult to choose!
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.
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