Interesting Views on America by a BBC Editor

It is always interesting to hear their thoughts on the US from foreigners. The views tend to differ based on where they come from. For example, someone from a poor country might consider the US as the best in everything. However someone from another developed country say Canada, Germany, France, UK, etc. might not agree with that assessment completely. Since these countries also are democratic and have political systems and institutions similar to that of the US, it becomes easier for people from those countries to give a better opinion on the comparison. Around Thanksgiving the BBC published a post by Jon Sopel, its North American editor who was returning to the UK after working in the US from 2014. Below are some excerpts from the excellent post from a foreigner’s perspective:

What I’ll miss (not in any order)


National parks and the great outdoors

Skiing in America – so much better organised

Fabulous geographical diversity

Weather reports – so much weather here

Paved cycle trails through stunning countryside

College sport – particularly March Madness basketball competition

Being able to watch all the Premier League football matches you can – even the 3pm kick offs (which you can’t in the UK)

The singing of the national anthem

Burgers and fries

Can do attitudes/innovation


Washington museums and memorials

The device on petrol pump nozzle where it automatically clicks off when tank is full, so you don’t need to keep hand on it (not significant I know)

Epic complexity of Washington politics

Friendliness and kindness

Work ethic

What I won’t miss

Guns – worst bit of my seven years has been going to all the mass shootings

Endless TV ads for prescription drugs promising miracles for first 20 seconds and warning of – in rare cases – catastrophic death in last 20 seconds

Endless political ads during election season that just make you want to live on a desert island

A terrible health system that only works if you have money

Hearing people in front of me at the pharmacy saying they can’t afford the drugs they’ve been prescribed

Seeming lack of interest in what happens in the rest of the world

Restaurants (this is a whole subsection)

– Food that is often too salty or too sweet

– You feel you have to tip 20% cos staff are so badly paid

– Ludicrous hierarchy where you can only talk to waiter/waitress allocated to your table, and not get service from anyone else

– Also why is the person who pours your water never able to take your food order

– Surf and turf – do one, but not the other

– Being asked my opinion endlessly about Charles and Diana/William and Kate/Harry and Meghan – the royal family is an obsession

Source: The America I give thanks for (as I depart), The BBC

A similar topic on reddit a few months received nearly 7,000 replies. You may want to check out: [Serious] Non Americans of Reddit, what is something about America you admire? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *