Cultural Differences in the US and India

How different US and India is culturally?

I would like to share very interesting cultural differences between India and the US in today’s blog. Our day-to-day etiquette like eating, tipping, holding the door open for the person behind you is courtesy and these are some things you cannot know about a foreign place.

Tipping culture

One of the cultural differences I noticed in these two countries: tipping. It is considered mandatory in the US to tip or to prioritize pedestrians while driving. However, the tipping culture in India is more voluntary. In the US it is not considered very highly of you if you do not tip appropriately but, in India I would always prefer tipping out of compassion. The servers working do not really earn much to have a good living in India. There are places where there is forced child labor and harsh working conditions where the workers are made to work way too hard and are terribly underpaid. Thus, tipping at places like these is out of generosity.

Moreover, in the US, tipping has become so common, the restaurants have started taking advantage of it by paying the servers way below the minimum wage under the name of them earning way more in the tips. This is not how things are supposed to work. Tipping is a courtesy by the guests for a good service and not a way to fixed wages. This could indeed be a good way to make sure a great service is provided by the servers to the guests but cannot be used to pay less. The general amount tipped here is 15% – 20% which is high enough as compared to that in India which is 2% – 5% at the most.

Appreciate a little more every day

Another cultural difference is that of showing appreciation. People showing appreciation is more common in the US as compared to India. The number of times I say, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ in this country is incredibly more than what I have heard back home. People are nice in both the countries and I do not doubt the helpfulness of people in either of the cultures, but things like frequent verbal compliments and appreciating small efforts is something I applaud in the American culture. One thing I noticed is, be it receiving a compliment or a ‘hi’ from a stranger, it will always make me feel better. For example, if I am cycling in a park in the US, most of the people walking by will say hi, most of them being strangers. In India, this does not happen as often.

In India, you address your seniors as Sir or Ma’am out of obligation or society’s norms. I don’t think it is wrong, as it is a part of the Indian culture, but in the US, it is more out of being nice and respectful. For example, I address everyone at work by their first name (which took me a while to get accustomed to), but occasionally if someone addresses me as ma’am, it is a different exult.

These were some of the differences I have noticed. I would love to hear about any more different cultures you might be aware of which have interesting stories. Please don’t hesitate to comment below.

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