Russians and Americans rarely understand each other when it comes to temperature, shoe size, and other measurement systems. Inches vs. centimeters, pounds vs. kilos, Fahrenheit vs. Celsius, miles vs. kilometers – life would be so much easier if we used the same system worldwide!
Driving and Drinking
Americans can get their license when they turn 16, but they are not allowed to drink until they are 21. Russians are able to both drive and drink when they are 18 years old. The age gape might explain the mentalities of both countries. The idea behind the American law is pretty much “teenagers driving cars + teenagers drinking alcohol = bad idea.”
Yes and No
To Americans, every answer is clear-cut. “No” means “no,” “yes” means “yes.” For Russians, the situation gets more complicated, because when a Russian person says “no,” he or she might mean: “no;” “maybe;” “it depends on how willing you are to convince me;” or even “ I’ll say ‘yes’ now, but do ask me one more time to make sure I haven’t changed my mind.” Russians even have an expression that sounds completely mind-blowing to foreigners, translatable as “yes no maybe”. As the famous Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev once noted, “You cannot understand Russia with your brain.”
If you ask most American people about their favorite writers, they might name a couple of them without going into details. Instead, talking to a Russian you won’t even be able to finish your question because he or she will already be reciting by heart a 25-page-long Pushkin poem from elementary school. Years of hard-work finally paid off. This does not happen because Russians care more about their literature than Americans. It is just the outcome of their education system that focuses a lot on the heritage of Russian poets.
Most Russian people walk barefoot or in slippers in their apartments, while usually Americans do not take off their shoes when they get home. In Russia, hosts will ask guests to take off their shoes as soon as they open the door.
In spite of all the cultural differences, both Americans and Russians are very open-minded and friendly! Find new international friends while studying in John Cabot University!
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Class of 2018
Hometown: Moscow, Russia