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Learning the American Culture
Studying and working in the United States is much easier if you understand the culture. This will allow you to prepare for your time in the country. Knowing the culture can also help you form connections and make friends. Let’s look at some things you need to know about American culture before moving abroad.
Time Is Important in the United States
Time is highly valued in the United States. While being late is completely normal in some cultures, that’s not the case in America. Being a few minutes late can annoy others, so it’s a good idea to organize your schedule so you arrive on time.
Personal Space Is Valued
While many Americans hug hello and goodbye, most people value their personal space. People expect others to stand one to three feet away from them. If you get too close, others might ask you to back away. This isn’t an insult. It’s just part of the American culture. Keep that in mind when you’re in America.
Small Talk Is Common
Small talk is also a big part of American culture. You can expect to engage in small talk with strangers and friends alike. The topics can range from sports to the weather. Engaging in small talk will help you connect with the culture. It’s also a great way to fine-tune your English skills.
Independence Is a Priority
While multi-generational households are typical in some countries, it’s rare in America. Some people do live in these households, but most Americans have a strong sense of independence. Teenagers often choose colleges far away from home so they can enjoy new experiences. It’s also common for Americans to take jobs far away from the places they grew up.
This can benefit you if you move to the United States. You’ll be with countless people who have left their hometowns. You might have traveled further, but you can bond over your newfound independence.
Informal Interactions Are Common
Some cultures are very formal in the way they address others. However, informal interactions are common in the United States. Your college professors might even ask you to address them by their first names. Even though many people believe in informal interactions, some Americans expect to be addressed formally. It’s always best to begin by addressing professors and others in positions of authority by their formal titles. Then they will let you know how you should address them.
Direct, Open Communication Is Expected
Americans also tend to communicate directly and openly. If you disagree with someone, that person will likely want to speak to you about it. The direct style of communication can come as a shock at first. However, you will discover that you can move past conflicts quickly when you address issues directly.
Immersing Yourself in American Culture
Now you have a better understanding of American culture. Keep this information in mind when you go abroad. Then you can immerse yourself in the culture and learn even more. That’s the best way to learn about a new culture.