A former KGB spy reveals how he faked being American. A story reached 1 million views on YouTube in the first 30 days.

I'm Jack Barsky.
I'm a retired and reformed ex-undercover KGB agent.
I'm gonna talk a little bit about what it took to morph from a German to an American, where I was successful and where I was not.
I spent all together about four years studying English, perfecting to the extent possible an American accent.
Practicing until I was blue in the face to pronounce English words properly.

For instance, one of the hardest things for Germans, one of them is the T-H, but things like the difference between hot and hut.
I had learned to speak English and write it as well as anybody, but I hadn't become an American culturally.
My behavior was still very German.
Having now learned the difference between the German style and the American style, I have been trying to adjust and soften the way I'm approaching things.

Germans are in your face, they will tell you what they think even if you don't ask for it, and they will criticize you at any chance they get.
And that was me. And there's still a residue of that left.
Americans will be a little more passive, sometimes passive aggressive, and they wrap everything, every piece of bad news, in some kind of a velvet cloth so it doesn't hurt that much.

The clothes and the food, that was taken care of by a three month practice trip to Canada.
Before I was sent to the U.S., that was I think, and Canada is close enough so I learned menus, I learned what beer there was being drunk.
What wine and liquor, and I bought all kinds of clothes.

Obviously spent a lot of time wandering around in stores and so forth.
That was actually a good idea by the KGB to send me on this kind of a training trip.

First night in Montreal, I go to a restaurant to eat dinner and I have a beer.
That place, they just gave you a bottle.
They wouldn't pour it into a glass.
So I'm looking at this bottle, I'm calling the waiter, and say hey, can I have a bottle opener?

And he looked at me like huh? And then he twisted the cap off.
I had never worked with a bottle where you can twist the cap off.
Eventually, I found out watching television, reading the newspaper, and so forth, and eventually started to think, feel, and act more like an American, except for the communication style.

When I came to the United States, I was fundamentally, culturally, and psychologically unprepared.
I spoke the language as well as anybody, but being an American, not at all.
The one thing that saved me was that in the early years I managed to stay away from inquisitive folks, particularly say ladies who were Americans, who would quickly find out there's something different about you.

What saved me from making these fundamental bad mistakes was that I started interacting with people who didn't care.
I worked for two years full time as a bike messenger.
That was sort of a transient kind of a crew that worked there.

You know, one day they work and the next day they're gone.
Nobody cared a whole lot and nobody was inquisitive.
So I listened a lot and I learned what it was like to live in the country and pretend to have lived in the country for many years.

Includes the sports, the movies, celebrities and all that stuff that you cannot learn when you're outside of the country.

And so I slowly got to a point where I felt comfortable talking and acting as if I were an American even though I was not aware that my behavior was still clearly traceable to my German roots.

If you're looking for people who pay attention to history, if you're looking for people who are spiritual, if you're looking for people who
know how to appreciate good food, this country provides such a variety to folks who live here that you can always find what you're looking for.

The one thing that you have here that I believe in no where else in the world is called freedom with a capital F.


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