Typical American Customs
While studying abroad in the USA, you are going to come up close and personal with American culture, customs and traditions. It is a great opportunity to learn about them. The USA may seem in some ways (because of movies, music and Disneyland) familiar, but you will also be struck by its very unique national character. While in the USA, use your time to acquaint yourself with American customs and you will find that your open-minded attitude will help you adapt faster, and allow you to enjoy the best of the experience. Adapting though is not always easy. When studying abroad always be flexible and be prepared to make changes and accept differences.
Some American customs will be very new and possibly unexpected for you, depending on the culture in which you were raised. Be aware of this and embrace the other!
- Americans feel free to voice their opinions, whatever they may be and however unorthodox these ideas are. They are proud of their individuality.
- They are good-natured, often injecting humor into conversation.
- Americans value those who independently think for themselves.
- Americans are patient and will wait their turn in lines.
- Americans value those who are on time.
- Americans like personal space and privacy. The good thing is, they are direct and honest, and will not hesitate to say this!
- All that honesty and directness is not to be interpreted at rude – this is not at all their intention.
- Americans will ask about your day without expecting a response.
- Americans feel personal hygiene is important. It is not unusual to bathe once or twice a day.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the American customs and culture, know that you aren’t alone. There are many students who experience culture shock. You may feel anxious or tense in your everyday life for a while but this will fade with time. If you are really having a problem coping, see one of your teachers or peers for support and help through this difficult time.