An Estonian’s First Observations on the USA

By Raili Sormus, Reporter

 The teenagers of Estonia have directed their eyes towards America. As a 17 year-old exchange student from there, we definitely want to wear the same clothes and hairstyles to be like you, but Estonian teens have no idea what American teens are really like.

(Please do not take the following observations personally.*)


The weird high socks that Americans like to wear surprised me. Image Courtesy of FedFan via Twitter

Americans wear very high socks. It looks normal for Americans, but no one wears high socks in Estonia. At first glance, it was very funny to me. It’s especially funny when you wear socks with open shoes.


Americans are very emotional. When I was at a culture expo, there were people who told their stories. Everyone in the room was crying, except for me. In Estonia, it is rare to see a woman crying, and men never show their emotions. I really like that you are not afraid to show your emotions.

One thing I also noticed is you use your hands when you are talking. It is very funny to look at what Americans are doing with their hands when they talk. Some people do this a lot, some little, but all the people I have met here do it.


Three flavors appear in this one snow-cone. Image Courtesy of MrBoss via Twitter

Americans chew a lot of gum. I have a feeling that you eat it all the time. It is not bad, but it is just different. In Estonia we have gum, but it is not as popular. But here, I eat a lot of gum because I want to try all the flavors.

Last week I had the opportunity to try a snow-cone, an ice ball with some syrup. It was really great. I think that when I go back to Estonia I can make my own snow-cone cafe because in Estonia we have a lot of snow and ice, so I can just take the snow and sell it to the people.


Yesterday my mother called me and asked about the foods in America. She asked if I had the opportunity to try peanut butter. My answer was that they only give peanut butter to the dog. Mother and I just started laughing because it is really funny and unusual for us.


On my first day in Susquehannock High School all the teachers shared their private life. I was very shocked at first because I did not know they could do it, but I really like it.  There is no teacher in Estonia who will share their private life. I think this is not forbidden, but Estonians like to keep their job and private life separate.


In Estonia when you go in the street, nobody smiles. You smile only at people  you know. Otherwise, it’s believed that something is wrong with you. Smiling is not common to us. Americans smile all the time, so it is really hard for me. I do not understand how you can smile all the time.



ASSE is the organization who enabled me to come here. Image Courtesy via asse home page