What Makes America, America: 14 Things The US Does Differently

by Nina Vir

We say we have wanderlust. So we travel to Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond. But then we start missing WiFi. And friendly strangers. And wearing sweatpants in public. And everything in abundance.

America has plenty to celebrate (as it did this July 4th weekend!) a lot of which we take for granted. There’s not just one thing we’re best at – we’re a highly diverse group of mixed talents and achievements.

Without further ado, here are some of the best reasons to feel patriotic and proud to be a part of it all, as the United States of America continues to celebrate its 238th birthday.

Higher education

It’s no secret that the US has the most highly regarded colleges and universities in the world. Top students from across the world flock to America's universities. It’s not such a common occurrence for top students in the US to go abroad for higher education.


Denim jeans, plain white t-shirts, Converse sneakers, aviator sunglasses -- nothing says cool like these all American classics. No one can pull of the the easy and relaxed look better than we can.

Don’t get me wrong, in Europe, it’s suave and slick. In Latin America, it’s all about being macho. In Asia, it's super fashion-y... but they try too hard. But with us, it's rugged, it's worn-in, it's easy, it’s cool. We’ve even nailed the preppy look better than our buddies across the pond.


YOLO. Swag. Hashtag. All evidence of the ubiquitous nature of American-born lingo.


The US is by far best in movies and TV series, and its influence on the world should not be underestimated. Hollywood is where every actor wants to be.

It is the home of worldwide superstars. With a worldwide audience of 2.6 billion, the impact of Hollywood on the cultures of other nations cannot be underestimated.


Rock and roll. Hip-hop. The blues. What do these genres have in common? They all have their roots in the US. They all have changed the world in their own ways.

The world can thank us for Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Kanye West and Beyoncé.

Saying hello

Hey! Yo! Sup! Hi! Hello! Aloha! Howdy! Americans say hello more often, more creatively, and with more enthusiasm than anywhere else. American friendliness is unrivaled.

Whether you’re shopping for clothes, getting coffee or entering a building, expect a greeting and a smile.


The US is essentially a mashup of every world culture, climate and landscape. We have New York City, Miami and LA, but we also have pristine lakes, mighty rivers, sandstone arches and snow-capped mountains.

The population is even more diverse. The melting pot of cultures is the hallmark of America. We are a country of immigrants, formed of people from every walk of life, and are therefore tolerant and accepting.

It is this very diversity that inspires the creation of some beautiful fusions: the sushirrito, the kimchi quesadilla, the ramen burger, which brings me to my next point…


Cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, milkshakes, peanut butter, pancakes, bagels and A SIDE OF HEARTBURN! But ooh, is our food good.

Free refills, pizza delivery, drive-thrus, supermarkets, take out bags, and out-of-this-world portions? All very American, too. On the other hand, we’re also kale-munching health freaks.

The idea that Americans do not have any cuisines worthy of praise is clearly an expression of ignorance of America and its diversity. The options here are incredible: Mexican food, Italian dinner, Irish pubs, French cafes, Indian buffets, Chinese delivery, Thai take out – the options are endless.

Make all the fat jokes you want, but no other nation offers the portions and assortments of culinary experimentation found in the US.


The US has a big, big heart. By nature, Americans are charitable, proactive and community-oriented people. According to a global index of giving, America is the world's most charitable nation -- a higher proportion of Americans helped a stranger than any other country in the world.


"The chief business of the American people is business." – Calvin Coolidge.

There’s no better place than the US to start a business. We are go-getters -- always creating, always innovating. We are opening our own businesses, developing our own products and marking new trails.

It is home to four of the top 10, 10 of the top 25, and 543 of the top 2,000 biggest companies in the world. Not to mention the millions of small businesses all across the country. America is the land of entrepreneurship and opportunity. Business is what we do.


Americans have stretched the bounds of the possible – from the first transatlantic flight to putting a man on the moon. We’re a nation based on capitalism and free enterprise – the perfect playground for innovation.

Apple! Facebook! The Internet! All invented in America. With the largest GDP in the world, it’s no surprise that so many great inventions come from the US.


Travel to another country and you will immediately appreciate all of the US’s anti-smoking efforts of the past 50 years. Over the last few decades, the entire country has witnessed a steep drop in the number of smokers.

The US was one of the first countries to ban cigarette advertisements on TV and radio in the 60s. Airports in the US, unlike international airports in many major countries, do not accommodate for smoking rooms in the terminals.


The rest of the world is missing out on the body paint, tailgating, cheerleaders and halftime shows that come along with American football. Sure, one might argue that the world’s most popular sport, soccer, has yet to gain critical traction in the US.

But that’s only because we have baseball, basketball and football keeping us busy. Oh, and the US has won more gold and overall medals than any other country in the Olympics.


Marilyn Monroe. Farrah Fawcett. Scarlett Johansson. Angelina Jolie. Blake Lively. Megan Fox. Kate Upton. Nobody can take this away from us.

Yeah, I know, I know. Our country still has a lot it can improve on. I'd be lying if I said there haven't been moments over the past few years when I've thought: America, WTH?

Now, step back for a minute and remember a few things. Some of America’s most notable traits are hope, industriousness, optimism and perseverance. These very traits assure me that America can and will overcome its issues. It's in our nature to fix the present and to create a better tomorrow.