40 Signs You Might Be an American Expat


Please like our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, as we do try to post regular pictures or frequent status updates on certain daily observations we see while living & working here in Germany…

…but, this being a Blog Post…there needs to be something of interest to read right?

So, borrowing the line from the American comedian, Jeff Foxworthy, I present…40 signs that “you might be an American Expat in a non-English speaking country if…

  • 1.  If you routinely laugh when your colleagues laugh but have no clue what they are saying that’s so funny.
  • 2.  If you always pay using a 50 Euro bill because you can’t understand the cashier.
  • 3.  If you are amazed to watch the television news and learn about news in other countries than the US.
  • 4.  If you get sick and your medication costs little to nothing at a drug store.
  • 5.  If you dream in a foreign language.
  • 6.  If you hear English being spoken and your brain can take a break.
  • 7.  If you have opened birthday or Christmas gifts on Skype.
  • 8.  If you traveled to more countries than are on display at Epcot Center in Disney World.
  • 9.  If you try to go shopping on a Sunday or after 8pm in the evenings but find all stores closed.
  • 10.  If you logon to a computer to watch your favorite team play live at 2am.
  • 11.  If you hear uncensored music on the radio, in a department store, or in a restaurant.
  • 12.  If you have mastered reading train schedules.
  • 13.  If your friends and family ask if you ever work.
  • 14.  If you are running out of stamp pages in your Passport.
  • 15.  If you come home at night mentally exhausted from reading and listening to words you cannot understand.
  • 16.  If you travel home to the States and feel more like a foreigner than in your new country.  BONUS SIGN: You refer to your home country as “the States”.
  • 17.  If you have no idea how far 500 meters is or how cold 30 degrees feels.
  • 18.  If you have to pay to use a public toilet.
  • 19.  If you have to Google how to spell simple English words.
  • 20.  If you stay in a hotel that is older than the United States.

Like These Signs?-2

  • 21. If you have mastered charades and hand gestures because of the language barrier.
  • 22.  If you feel uncomfortable with very little personal space when talking to someone or standing in a line.
  • 23.  If you ever have to open a financial account or sign a lease in a different language and not sure if you were signing your soul away.
  • 24.  If your electric gadgets (like an electric razor) have ever caught fire when using it.
  • 25.  If no one is talking about pop culture events at work.
  • 26.  If you go to the grocery store and had to use a cellphone to translate the label of a package.
  • 27.  If you can do currency conversions in your head without a calculator.
  • 28.  If you promise to call someone home in the States and you have to say the time in their time zone.
  • 29.  If you bring an empty suitcase inside of a suitcase home to the States and return with two full bags.
  • 30.  If you have sold or donated most of your possessions including your car before moving.
  • 31.  If you are routinely asked which English word is better to use in a sentence.
  • 32.  If you travel home to the States and you speak in a foreign language to the first non-family person you meet.
  • 33.  If you have a collection of money in different currencies.
  • 34.  If you have replaced Google.com with Translate.Google.com as your homepage.
  • 35.  If you have a set of electrical outlet adaptors and electric transformers.
  • 36.  If you know how to say “excuse me” and “thank you” in multiple languages.
  • 37.  If you find your favorite candy bars (Reese’s) or ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s) and it costs 4x more than back home in the States.
  • 38.  If you travel back home to the States and you realize how sweet everything tastes.
  • 39.  If the number of pages for your new country’s tax returns + US tax returns approach triple digits.
  • 40.  If you receive a care package from your parents that includes candy, mayonnaise, peanut butter, and cake mixes.

I could continue, but I would love to hear your signs that you might be an American Expat living in a non-English speaking country. I would love to know in the comments below…

8 Replies to “40 Signs You Might Be an American Expat”

  1. Mine: You often find yourself having to explain English figures of speech and American slang, and even pop culture references to your teenagers who did not grow up with the same frame of reference as their cousins back in the states.


  2. All of these (except the language barriers) apply! Great list. Another would be that you find yourself hoping that you are obeying traffic laws and signs as you aren’t 100 percent sure what they mean…


  3. I love this! I am always paying with large bills – especially since the cashiers usually say “seventy and twelve” instead of “twelve seventy” and I just can’t handle figuring that out while trying to translate in my head. And I rarely go to the store without needing to use Google translate – it makes me SO glad that I don’t have food allergies!


  4. Oh YES to the explaining things to my US born but German raised teen. Strange little culutral reference or figures of speech he has missed (meanwhile, he can explain the German ones to us). The funniest one was when he was about 12. We were watchign some movie (I don’t recall what) and a person was arrested for prostitution. HE pasued the show and asked what he was missing, why was she being arrested. “She’S really a prostitute”
    “ok, yeah, i got that, but why is she being a arrested”
    shorrt beat while my brain processes and tehn it hits me–he hasn’t lived where that is ilegal sicne he was old neough to know what it is.
    “that’s not legal in the US, except in very rare cases”
    “oh, weird, ok”


  5. I was delegated to Houston from Ludwigshafen, funny to read how you guys perceived your delegation. For me it was not so funny. Greatings, Christian


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