Cultural Differences in the USA
Every time you move forward, you will face changes. But the culture will also be different when you go abroad, even temporarily. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
But don’t base your expectations about the United States on TV shows and movies, as they tend to exaggerate characters or lifestyles and aren’t precisely known.
So whatever you think you know about life in the United States, take it lightly because the North American continent is a melting pot of different peoples.
Here’s our guide – and it should be used to guide you, not as a final word – to the cultural and social norms you should follow as an international student in the United States, along with some examples of American culture. Must know
Don’t believe all the American stereotypes you may have heard – only a few are true! American culture tends to be more informal than in other countries.
It is common for Americans to wear casual clothing to school, and it is not uncommon to call supervisors by their first name. But good manners
And politeness is always appropriate, and at least you’ll be memorable if you’re more formal than your American friends.
Some Of The More Common Stereotypes Of Americans Include:
- Arrogant and arrogant
- Disregard for authority
- Extravagance and extravagance
- Unknown to other countries and cultures
- Loud and unpleasant
- Rude and immature
- It looks like they know everything.
- I think every country should copy America
Americans need more personal space than some other cultures. So if you try to get too close during the conversation, the person you’re talking to may feel like you’re in their personal space and will try to back away.
If this happens, don’t try to close the gap and continue discussing the weather a little more remotely.
Touching is a little too intimate for casual acquaintances in the United States. Unless you have a close friendship with someone, try to avoid physical contact, such as holding their hand or touching their face.
If you think you’re friends enough to touch them, check if they’re okay with it – some may not feel like you, some may be scared of germs, and some want a secret handshake.
The only exception is the handshake, usually done when meeting and leaving others in a business or otherwise formal setting.
Forms of address
American full names are written and spoken in the order of first and last names. So, using the most common English name as an example, John Smith’s first name is John, and his last name is Smith.
In a formal setting, men are usually referred to as Mr. (pronounced “mister”), followed by their last name; Married women usually go by Mrs (pronounced “Miss”) and single women by Miss, both of whom have their last name.
If the person has an MD or PhD, they will usually be addressed as “Dr”. (pronounced “doctor”), especially if you are meeting with them for medical or professional advice. Many, but not all, of your instructors at school should be referred to as “professors.”
In a casual setting – probably in most environments – most people introduce themselves and are addressed only by their first name.
These forms of address are in no way official or mandatory and may change depending on the individual’s preference or local culture.
In many southern states, for example, people use first names followed by Mr or Miss to show respect.
Many people are also becoming more flexible in their gender definitions and may ask you to refer them with names or titles that differ from those listed above or what you expect. Honor their requests. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
Americans can be more vocal than most international visitors. If someone says something that seems direct to you, don’t be offended; feel free to approach them directly.
Making eye contact is often a big deal when talking to someone, and refraining from doing so can be considered disrespectful.
It’s not polite to burp in public, slap your soup, or make loud and avoidable noises.
It’s not polite to pick your nose or teeth (with or without a toothpick) in public.
In general, follow the golden rule:
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Especially in a business, professional, or educational setting, but to anyone who is not a close friend, do not make sexual or suggestive remarks, do not touch anyone other than shaking hands, and engage in neutral (rather than personal) conversations. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
You should learn the most important phrase: “Where’s the bathroom?” “Bathroom” is the most frequently used term in the United States, but ironically we don’t use the word “toilet” to refer to a standard room (though if you do use it all, I will know what you mean).
Sometimes the term “restroom” is used for more formal situations or public places such as restaurants or stores, but there is no official rule.
If you’re having fun and need a bathroom, you may not easily find one on your commute because there aren’t many public bathrooms available.
Restaurants, bars, gas stations and stores may have bathrooms, but they also sometimes dictate that only customers can use them. So plan! (Cultural Differences in the USA)
Tipping is one of the most significant cultural norms in America. In almost every situation where someone helps you with service—a waiter, a hairdresser, a taxi driver, a bartender, a masseuse, etc.—Americans offer a small tip on top of the total cost of their bill.
Although there is no mandatory amount, most people pay a tip of about 15 to 20 percent of their bill, or sometimes a dollar or two per serving.
Knowing when and how much to tip is difficult even for lifelong US citizens, so don’t hesitate to ask your friends or work person what is appropriate.
Here are two crucial facts about tipping that might help you be less confused: Tips are usually calculated automatically and included in your bill if you’re somewhere with six or more people. And “gratuity” (sometimes printed on the receipt) is a fancy word for “tip”.
One final piece of advice: bribery is not tipping and is often illegal. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
If you’re one of those who’s always running late, you’ll need to find a way to change that for meetings, doctor’s appointments, and formal events.
In the United States, it is preferred that you are either on time or a few minutes early for the specified meeting time. Arriving too early can be disruptive to them.
Someone else’s schedule and arriving more than a few minutes late are considered disruptive and rude. If you’re running late, make sure you contact the person you’re meeting with to let them know so they can adjust their schedule.
In a more casual situation with a smaller number of people, arriving 5 minutes late within about 5 minutes is still best. But for a big party at someone’s house, your timing may be a lot more flexible.
Your timing should be considered if there are enough people in the group or meeting that your late arrival will not be noticed. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
Americans are sometimes considered casual dressers, although the style can vary by city or city. But it’s usually for everyday situations, like running errands or visiting friends, or regular times like weekends and holidays.
You should dress more formally in a business or professional setting or for special occasions such as a wedding. If you dress too casually for a job interview, your chances of getting the position drop significantly.
There are many definitions of how to dress formally, but here are some guidelines: In general, for a business setting, men should wear a suit or nice pants (some UK-derived English speakers) with a button-down shirt. for “trousers”). ,
Women can wear a suit (with pants or a skirt underneath), a dress, or a skirt with nice pants or a blouse. Unless a company explicitly says so, jeans should not be worn in a professional setting.
For a special event, men have the same options as professional attire, or they can be more attractive by wearing a tuxedo while women dress up. But, within reason, dress in your style! (Cultural Differences in the USA)
Most Americans eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The specific timing of these meals vary by program and family, but breakfast is usually served between 7 and 8 a.m. and lunch between 12 and 2 p.m.
What time do Americans eat dinner? Usually between 6 and 8 pm, and it is the main meal… even though we have had breakfast throughout the day.
One of Americans’ favorite pastimes is brunch, which combines breakfast and lunch and typically includes breakfast-ish foods, and is usually eaten on a weekend or other days with a flexible schedule. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
If you are invited to a wedding, baby shower, religious event or other celebration, you are expected to bring (or send a gift ahead of time).
Often, the hosts of significant events will supply guests with a registry of gifts they would like to receive so that you don’t have to guess whether or not they want something.
If there is no registry, you can give money or a gift, but the amount spent and the suitability of the grant varies greatly.
An important point to keep telling yourself: There isn’t a culture of gift-giving in the United States.
Gifts are appreciated but not always required and certainly not done as part of an elaborate ritual. If you’re unsure what to give, how much, or if you have to, ask a friend. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
In the United States, you must be at least 18 years old to buy cigarettes, and it is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy them.
Plus, every pack you buy will be taxed at a higher rate, so you’ll need to factor the cost into your budget.
While the specific laws regarding where you are prohibited from smoking vary by state and city, it is common to include restaurants and bars, parks and beaches, hospitals and other medical facilities, schools and offices. Smoking is banned in buildings.
There are also laws against smoking on public transport, such as buses, subways, and all aeroplanes. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
Gestures vary worldwide, and we don’t want you to be offended or offended just because you are using gestures from your country.
Some of the main gestures used in the United States are in the image below, but here are additional gestures (pun intended!):
It is okay to point to an object or place, but it is not polite to suggest it to people.
Moving your head from side to side means no while nodding your head up and down means yes.
If you want the waiter to bring the check, gesture with your hand as if you are typing something. Make eye contact and raise your hand if you wish the waiter would come.
Never raise your fist with your middle finger, as this is a great insult. It is also rude to shake a clenched fist at someone, especially if it is on their face, and is considered an expression of anger.
The peace sign has a positive connotation and is indicated by making your index and middle finger into a V and closing your other fingers.
However, your palm should be facing the other person – this is very important, as in the UK and other countries, using the same V and fingers when facing your palm is considered extremely rude. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
In some countries, a period is used instead of a comma to indicate the decimal point. This also applies to the amount of money. So when checking your bank balance, you will see $1,243.68.
In the United States, dates are written as month/day/year. This contrasts with the UK method (used in most countries worldwide), in which dates are written as day/month/year.
So while 4/3/67 would be March 4 1967, in Europe, it is April 3 1967, in the United States. To avoid confusing everyone, we recommend writing down the months whenever possible. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
Even though it is unlike everything else in the world, temperatures in the United States are written in Fahrenheit.
The tricky math equation used to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius is to subtract 32 from the temperature and then multiply the result by 5/9, but we accept that you’ll need to do a lot of math when the Internet can convert it for you. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
The American calendar is filled with many holidays, some of which are almost always days off for most office workers, banks, post offices, and government offices.
If those holidays listed below fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, it is up to each company to decide whether Monday or Friday should also be a day off (to create a more extended weekend).
Many other holidays are either not considered important enough to close every office (for example, Veterans Day on November 11) or are noted and ignored (for example, on June 14). Flag Day) or Sunday do not affect office schedules (e.g., Mother’s Day).
Even though the United States technically follows a separation of church and state and should not associate religious holidays with anything official, you will see that Christian holidays are an essential part of American cultural values and only religious holidays where everything has stopped.
Although some offices remain closed on Christmas Eve (December 24), there is no Boxing Day in the United States, and offices will be open on December 26.
Depending on the local population, some school systems may be closed for essential holidays of other religions.
This is great if you bring your kids to the USA with you, but be sure to check the school calendar before making plans. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
Holiday – Date
- New year’s day, January 1
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the Third Monday in January
- President’s Day is the Third Monday in February
- Memorial Day Last Monday in May
- Independence Day 4th of July
- Labor Day First Monday in September
- Thanksgiving Fourth Thursday in November
- Christmas Day, December 25
It is also essential to be aware of the holidays of people of other religions. For example, critical Jewish holidays include Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkoth, Chanukah, and Passover.
Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Sukkoth come in the fall. Chanukah takes place near Christmas in December. Passover occurs near Easter in March or April.
Weights and Measures
Like with temperature, Americans follow their own rules and do not use the same measurement system as the rest of the world. Use the following guidelines to help you figure out some basic conversions.
Most electrical outlets in the United States operate with a voltage of 110-120 volts. If your appliance requires 220 volts, bring a transformer and plug adapter. (Cultural Differences in the USA)
The US Constitution guarantees religious freedom for all religions. Even though the calendar is based on Christian holidays and works with it, you can follow any religion without consequences.
A law says that: You cannot be discriminated against on the basis of religion, and adjustments must be made to situations that preclude your religious practice.
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