7 Differences Between New Zealand and America

‘Toilets flush the opposite way in the southern hemisphere!’ 

You’ve probably heard that before. But I don’t think that’s true. To tell you the truth, I don’t know, because I’ve never checked. I don’t pay much attention to which way toilets flush.

But there are some different things I’ve noticed since living in New Zealand!

  1. Light switches. They are the opposite. In the States, up means on. Down means off. In New Zealand? It’s the opposite. Up is off and down is on. Whaaa?
  2. Door handles. In New Zealand, door handles are a little bit higher than they are in the States. I’ve seen some, though, that are way higher- you have to reach up to open the door.
  3. Vocabulary- there are several words that are different: dog leash is lead, counter is bench, garbage/trash is rubbish, bathroom is toilet or loo, truck is ute. Since I’ve been here for a year total now I’ve become used to those words and to using them.
  4. Bathrooms are??? Guys. In America. You have a bathroom. In a half bathroom you just have a toilet and a sink, right? In a full bathroom you also have a shower or tub. But you always have a sink and a toilet together. In New Zealand, some houses have a room with only a toilet, and a separate room with a sink/bathtub/shower. To wash your hands you have to go into another room. What??? That is so weird to me.
  5. Variety. While grocery stores in New Zealand have plenty of variety, in America you have even more.
  6. Prices. I think this has to do with New Zealand being an island, so it’s more expensive to get things that aren’t made in New Zealand because of shipping. Either way, I do know that many things are more expensive in New Zealand (even when accounting for the exchange rate between America and New Zealand).
  7. Culture. Obviously the culture is going to be different in different countries. But one thing I’ve noticed is that the native Maori culture is very big here- it’s part of who New Zealand is. In politics, there’s a Maori party, children learn some of the Maori language in schools, many place names are in the Maori language, and the language is used- on city signs and buildings, etc. In America the most interaction I have with the Native American culture is when I drive by casinos, or when driving to/through a place with a Native American name- Nooksack, Tulalip, Samish, etc.

Anything else you would add? Oh and also *duh* the accents. I forgot about that because by now I’m just so used to the New Zealand accent. It did take a while though… at first I was a bit slow because my brain took more time to process what people are saying. I’m used to it now since I’ve been listening to the New Zealand accent pretty much every day for a year (while I was in the States Jared and I skyped every day so I still heard the accent).

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