Emma Kate & Co.

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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

8 Things I Hate About Living In America

Not long ago, I wrote a post called '7 Things I Love About Living in America'. The US is full of cool and crazy things, things that I'll certainly miss when I go back home. That being said, there are also a lot of things that have been harder to get used to and that I'll, quite frankly, be happy to see the back of.

1 // Seminars

I could write a whole post about the schooling system in America because it is W E I R D. One thing that I find particularly irksome however is contributions in seminars. Here participation is graded. In theory, a very good idea. It gets everyone involved and we're all active participants in our own learning. In practice, it's quite another story. People will say any old rubbish, so they can pick up those pesky participation points, and for some unknown reason the lecturer never challenges their argument. It's very odd and means that almost all of my seminars lack any critical thought whatsoever.

2 // Money 

Why is American money all the same colour?! Scrambling through my purse trying to tell the difference between a one dollar bill and a twenty has become a recurring theme in my life. This seems like such an easy thing to fix that I can't understand for the life of me why it's still an issue. On another note, change is the bane of my life. I leave in a couple of weeks and have an ever-growing pile of coppers that are completely useless.

3 // Pret A Manger 

If you follow me on Twitter (@emmakatehall), you may have seen my rant about America's poor excuse for a Pret A Manger. Living in London, there's a Pret on every corner and you can bet they are the lucky recipients of a hefty chunk of my student loan. So I was delighted when I learnt that there was one on Penn's campus! This excitement quickly dissipated when I saw the pitiful lack of vegan options. Where are the soups I've come to know and love? Where are the delicious sandwiches and salads? Why does everything come with a bucket-load of cheese?

4 // Picketing

This is something that I've never experienced in the UK. Groups of people take over a public space with slogan pickets and chanting about their beliefs. This can be incredibly intimidating. One charming woman from a group of Christian picketers on campus kindly informed me (okay, she shouted it) that I  really ought to put some clothes on, wasn't I ashamed of myself? I must admit I didn't realise that my denim dress and 100 denier tights were so provocative. Luckily there were police around and I was on campus surrounded by people so I felt very safe, but I can imagine in another environment it could feel quite threatening.

5 // The Weather

This is a very Philly-specific issue. When I applied to study here, nowhere was it mentioned how bizarre the weather is. Since arriving, I've experienced heavy snowfall with cancelled classes, 40mph wind and 30 degree heat, all within days of each other. It's very odd and incredibly annoying. Whilst the weather in England is certainly no picnic either, at least at I know what I'm getting most of the time.

6 // Americans Get Deep

Unlike the Brits, Americans often get incredibly sentimental. Coming from a nation that doesn't talk about their feelings much, I can find this a little disconcerting. General expression of emotion is obviously to be encourage but when they start asking existential questions about the meaning of the ocean, I can't really take it anymore. Sorry.

7 // Tipping

Going out for a meal can get very expensive very quickly because of the large amount you're expected to tip. I always do leave something as I know that people in service jobs get paid next to nothing out here. However, I always find it super frustrating to think that I'm paying their wages, when really the business owner ought to be doing that out of profits. It's a very unfair system that only really benefits the people at the top.

8 // The Gap in The Loo Stall Door

In the UK, even public toilets provide an almost completely private experience. You get your own sealed cubicle, away from prying eyes. Here there's always a gap between the toilet door and it drives me absolutely insane. My sister kindly let me know when she came to visit that, yes, she could see me sitting on the toilet. The low walls on either side also pose an issue for tall gals like myself. I'm very aware that I must look straight ahead at all times. Suffice to say I'm certainly looking forward to peeing in peace when I get home.



  1. Loved reading this!!


  2. Whenever I got to the States I always thing that about money with it all been the same colour, so confusing!

    Danielle xx

    1. It's such a nightmare isn't! Can't understand for the life of me why they don't change it xoxo

  3. This was so interesting to read! I've never been to America but would love to go! xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

    1. Thanks lovely! It's a weird and wonderful place xoxo


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