One of the most common things I get asked is what are the biggest differences between living in America and living in Australia. There are so many little things that makes it a difficult question to answer. The following items would be among the top things that the biggest culture shock
Portion Sizes - When you go out to eat in America you get huge portion sizes compared to the serving sizes in Australia. For example the large drink and fry in Australia are about the size of a small in most fast food places in America. Serving sizes at a sit down restaurant are no different. I remember taking my parents and sister out to an Applebee's when they came over to visit and when they brought out the food my mum asked me how many people are sharing with her since the meal was so big.
Driving on the other side of the road: This took a long time for me to get used to. For months I would forget that the driver's side was on the left and I would end up on the wrong side of the car. I would then have to do the walk of shame around the correct side which was quite embarrasing. When I first started to drive I had a tough time staying in the lane as I was not used to having the bulk of the car on the right of me. I also had trouble when coming out of a driveway onto a road as I would instinctively go to the left side of the road and not realize I was on the wrong side of the road until I saw oncoming traffic. After a few months I got used to driving on the right hand side of the road and now I have to be careful not to make the same mistakes when I am visiting family and friends in Australia.
The Accents and being understood: When I first came over to America I had trouble being understood, especially with new people. Even when I wasn't using Australian words there were many times people would have to ask me to repeat myself. I realized that my accent was quite thick and that I was probably talking too fast for them to understand me. Because of my accent it was nearly impossible to be able to use the drive thru at a fast food place for quite a long time. As the years have gone by my accent is not nearly as strong but I still have a distinct Australian accent that will likely stay with me forever.
There are many other things that were a culture shock to me but these are the ones that most readily come to mind. What has been the biggest difference(s) that you have noticed on your travels?