So you’re abroad and feeling like a celebrity. And you should! After all, you are from the land of the free and the home of the brave––the place that, to outsiders, is akin to the long-awaited promised land: America, home of the Big Mac, baseball, and My 600 Pound Life. Your bleach blonde hair has been turning heads since you arrived at the airport but you don’t care, because culture shock is no big deal when you don’t actually have to assimilate! You’re American! There’s a reason everyone’s learning English – they all want to be like you!
Your time abroad may be the closest thing to fame you’ll get – until you make it big Kim K style. So waste no time; it’s important to make sure that everyone around you knows you’re American. Here’s how!
- The number one indicator that you’re from the US of A is your accent, so get those gums gabbing. Talking loudly is an absolute must, especially since everyone else here keeps their conversations pretty quiet in public. The louder you talk, the more certain it’ll be that everyone can hear you, and the more everyone can hear you, the more people will know you’re from America. Yep, that stranger next to you in the deli will definitely know that you don’t have free health care and that your neighbor back home probably has a Donald Trump sign on their lawn. And that’s the goal, isn’t it?
- Tell everyone where you’re from with relation to the Jersey Shore – “Yeah, Illinois? It’s, like, a 14 hour drive to the Jersey shore. You know, like, the TV show?” Maybe everyone in America has forgotten that particular dream of a show, but you sure haven’t, and you know that the foreigners haven’t either. They’re usually pretty behind anyway.
- Refuse to call currency anything but dollars. What are these colorful pieces of paper that don’t fit in your wallet? You sure don’t know, and it doesn’t matter either. If the guy behind the counter tells you it’s cinquante centisimi, say, “How much is that in dollars?” It’s probably a good idea to carry around a few green ones for reference, too, so they know that a) you’re American and b) you have money––from America. Exotic, right?
- When walking down the street, make sure to stop every now and then to turn around – preferably right in the middle of a busy intersection – and look for the street signs. Complain loudly that streets here are so poorly marked, and make it a point to lock eyes with a few people while you do this. (Because, seriously, where are you? No. Really. Where are the street signs?)
- Talk about how little every car here is. “Oh my God! It’s like a little toy car!” “Wow look at her in her teeny little car! Can it even go up the big hill?” “This clown car is yours?!” To really drive home this point, show reference photos of the pickup you inherited from your dad when you were 16. Extra bonus points if there’s a dead deer in the bed!
- Speaking of small things, definitely comment on how small everything is every time you walk into a store/apartment/house/whatever. In the corner grocer, it’s best to tell the tired-looking man working the register that, in America, your local grocery store is ten times this size and you have twenty different types of Oreos crammed between the Chips Ahoy and Keebler cookies. This will impress him and hopefully motivate him to speak to management to get some more cookies in stock.
- Fact: American brands are the best. Fact: other countries love American brands. There’s a reason this dude is wearing an I <3 NY shirt on the street in Seoul and it has nothing to do with forced westernization. It’s all about the brand recognition. So throw it back to middle school and haul out your American Eagle, Nike, even your Livestrong bracelets because honestly? These people don’t know what steroids are and Lance Armstrong to them is the first guy who walked on the moon.
- Lots of people say that when speaking a foreign language, pronunciation is key. No offense or anything, but these people are probably British. Nobody likes England, but everyone loves America. If you’re into the whole foreign language thing, that’s a little middle school but still cool. Fortunately for you, you can speak their language and assert your American-ness at the same time! Just pronounce every letter of every word exactly as you would in American. “Bwon Jor No, Seal Voo Plate!” Easy.
You know, there are probably a thousand ways you can make sure everyone knows you’re American. You didn’t come to this country to do things their way, and that’s the most important thing to remember. America is the strongest country in the world and the glue that holds pretty much everything together. As long as you remember that, you’ll have the confidence you need to say it loud and proud: I am American, and so can you!