daily californian logo


Midwestern culture shocks

article image



We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

JULY 21, 2023

When I think of the Midwest, I think of flat lands, cattle and really nice people. These are just the typical clichés, though, since I have yet to truly spend time in this area. 

After all, I knew that every part of the country would be vastly different because these inter-country differences are what make up a diverse country.

I’m in Evanston, Illinois for a month, and I’ve definitely noticed many unique things that have floored me as someone who has lived in California their whole life. After experiencing these sectional differences, I’m here to bust some myths and note some cultural differences between the Midwest and California. 

Weather changes  

California generally has moderate temperatures all year round. On most days, I don’t need to check the weather forecast because it’s probably the same as the day before. In the Midwest, I’m noticing significant temperature swings on the daily. It’ll be a perfect 80-degree day for a second, and within five minutes, it’ll start pouring heavily. I don’t know what to wear anymore because I can experience three different seasons within the day! There’s a running joke about not checking the weather forecast because you don’t know what to expect, which definitely is the experience.  

People here are more “polite” 

I always heard this cliché about the Midwest having really nice people. However, I’ve only experienced some true value in it. Compared to coastal towns, I’m noticing that people are kinder to strangers. I’ve heard that this niceness is more about being passive-aggressive and performative, but locals have busted this myth for me.

The flatness

California is famous for its mountain ranges, beaches and varied geography. In the Midwest, I’m noticing that everything is flatter. When looking out at Lake Michigan, I am surprised to see just a flat span of the lake. I knew I was in the Great Plains region, but seeing the lakes without any mountain peaks clustering around them was shocking. 

Different food

The Midwest is known for its barbecue, and from roaming the city streets, I can tell they’re proud of it. Obviously, there are barbecue joints in California, but I’m noticing their prevalence here. Also, the specialty foods in the Midwest seem to be centered more around meat, such as Chicago hot dogs, pulled pork and chicken wings, while California staples include burritos and avocado toast.

Contact Annabel Chia at 


JULY 21, 2023