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17 Things That Surprised Redditors Upon First Moving To Developed Countries

Sara Newman |
June 11, 2014 | 2:49 p.m. PDT

Deputy Editor

The differences are harrowing, (Twitpic/CBCNews)
The differences are harrowing, (Twitpic/CBCNews)

Mark Twain famously remarked, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts." Thanks to the internet, however, people need look no further than Reddit to see the truly harrowing realities of how other people live. 

Just yesterday someone opened an AskReddit thread about what surprised people the most upon moving from developing to developed countries. 

In just over 24 hours 9376 comments have gone up. hese responses will blow your mind.

  1. Complaining or referencing the "Ghetto" as if it was a harsh or very difficult environment to grow in........in Colombia the "Ghetto" is made of card board boxes and the people that live in them don't have anything that the "ghetto" in USA has...like great public libraries, great public transportation (It is great..go take a bus in Colombia and youll start loving your public transportation) and all in all the help or the opportunities that people in general have. - ADM86
  2. The toothpaste aisle. There is an aisle for toothpaste. It's been almost 25 years, and that still boggles my mind. - annarchy8 
  3. It's so weird how people walk without groping their bags and glancing sideways constantly. - carolnuts
  4. For the first few years of my life I lived in a rainforest in a little leaf hut with my grandmother. No electricity, no running water, no cars…I remember flying on the plane and been so confused at how such a heavy thing could fly. Even the lights were amazing to me. Turning them on and off was like magic to my mind. - merrderber
  5. Gone are the old attitudes towards sexuality, race and money. You question how you ever thought life in a developing country was normal. You question things openly, not in fear of reprisal. There is open discourse on political issues. There aren't checkpoints at every intersection. People have an opportunity to be whatever they want…You are served by an large by a capable police force in the first world. Bribery is not rampant. Education is freely accessible. Electricity, running water. More than one national newspaper. A more open internet. Access to information. Great infrastructure for economical development. A chance to see public transit run effeciently. A ridiculous mixture of races and beliefs. - YeOldeSpark
  6. I was picked up from the airport in a Ford Expedition, which was about the size of my house back in Cuba, and then taken to a six bedroom house. I remember I used to feel uncomfortable in the big rooms, so I would hang out in closets and what not at first. - TouchedByUncle
  7. Peaches. delicious, delicious peaches…peaches are taken for granted but when i was not living here, i did not know peaches even existed. - kronosphere
  8. My father grew up in Sri Lanka and if you've ever been to any south Asian country you'll that the roads are deadly and nobody stops for anyone. He said the thing that surprised him most was when he went to England to study and people stopped at the crossing waiting for the man to turn green. When the man turned green he said it was like magic that the cars all stopped to let people cross the road! - ILikeEggsAndUkuleles
  9. I was amazed at how you can go to libraries and borrow books for free without paying anything. I felt like there had to be some catch - chaosindahouse
  10. I grew up in Syria. Recently moved to the states after the civil war broke out. I was really shocked by how people take things that sound as dreams for those who live in the 3rd world for granted. Things such as Democracy, order, stability, clean roads, basic human rights. I could go on and on. The fact that the elections are not rigged yet people actively choose not to vote still boggles my mind. - NotYourAverageGenius
  11. As a 9 year-old coming to Chicago from the Philippines, a lot of things definitely caught me by surprise. Before arriving in America, I thought that everything was supposed to look like the Sims. Boxy houses in the suburbs with clean cut grass and the most regal people imaginable. Instead, I saw many similarities with the Philippines, especially in the urban areas. The poverty, the beggars, and the hardship that many people faced really caught me off guard. I used to think that the United States was the closest thing to heaven. And while I soon learned that America is certainly better overall, I was nevertheless surprised that many people did struggle in the mighty United States. - gussypoo
  12. People in the 1st world have six packs to show off to others and they get their six packs by forcing themselves to exercise and diet...in the third world everyone has six packs because they work hard and don't eat enough to store away any fat. in some third world countries, having a little belly fat is showing off - puyaabbassi
  13. I lived in Indonesia for 7 years of my childhood (ages 3-10), on the island of Sumatra. From a child's perspective, the biggest change was how rarely kids go outside in first world countries. When kids in Indonesia get bored, they go outside by default. I learned to play soccer with a ball that was pretty much rags, in flip-flops or bare feet, on concrete. It was all we did, play outside. When I got home from school, the first thing I would do was step outside, and there was always some neighbor friend who was already out there having fun.Then we moved back to the US, and suddenly nobody was outside. - Connguy
  14. I was born in Luanda, Angola. I was smuggled to the U.S on a fishing boat. Things that genuinely surprised me was a lack of Police Brutality, Clean Air, and Clear water. I felt that the U.S was a utopia. I recovered free education, housing, and fresh, safe food. In Angola, food was usually sold rotten and on cardboard boxes. - Ex-Lurker25
  15. The first thing I noticed when I came to the US was the value given to human life. I am from India. So, it wasn't like I was in a war zone or anything but I saw vehicles on either side stop for the school bus. I saw signs in residential areas that alerted drivers to deaf or blind children that may be living nearby. It still brings me to tears. - Lurker-guy
  16. I left the USA at six and moved back at 18. Life was very different living in a small village in the Philippines…The biggest surprise? All the bottled water. We have a miracle flowing out of our tap every time we turn the faucet. - Absocold
  17. A lack of importance placed upon family. In 3rd world countries, they band together as a family and support one another. In the first world it's more about carrying yourself as an individual and disregarding others for your own benefit. I find living life while looking out for others and helping those less fortunate leads to a much more positive outlook on humanity. - disposeofgarbage

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