7 Things to Know Before Studying Abroad in the U.S.
Studying abroad means that you will have to adjust to the new culture in a foreign country. It may seem daunting when the culture is completely different from your own. Check out our list of 7 things to know before studying abroad in the U.S. that will help you be well-prepared for your transition.
1. Classroom culture
American classes are pretty casual in terms of class interaction and student behavior. Don’t be surprised if your professor sits on the desk while teaching, students wear casual clothes, or people eat snacks in class. In some cases, students can freely speak up without raising their hands.
However, the casualness really depends on each professor. While the environment is generally relaxed in college classrooms, some professors have rules specific to their course. If you want to learn more about the academic dynamics in the U.S., you can find more here.
2. Saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes
It is a common courtesy to say “Bless you” to someone after they sneeze. It comes from old folklore: People used to think that a person’s soul became separated from their physical body when they sneezed, so they said “God bless you” or “Bless you” to wish that person protection from evil.
These days, it’s just the polite thing to do.
3. Saying “How are you?”
“How are you?” is sometimes misunderstood by international students as an actual question; usually, it’s just a greeting. People really mean “Hello” when they say this phrase, so it is completely okay to just say “I’m fine” and repeat the question to the person who asked you.
4. Popular sports
Football, basketball, and baseball are very popular American sports, and people are really enthusiastic while watching them. Games typically run several hours, and at larger venues there are snacks to buy at the events. Attending a game is a really fun way to spend time with your friends.
5. Tipping the waiter when eating at a restaurant
As a rule of thumb, you should give a 15 to 20 percent tip of the total bill to your waiter when at a restaurant; most of the money they make waiting tables comes from tips. Waiter salary at restaurants is normally lower than the minimum wage. So, while tipping is technically voluntary, not tipping is generally looked down upon.
Keep in mind, though, that no tips are needed at fast food restaurants or for take-out.
6. Getting in line in most public situations
Whether it is at a ticket counter, a taxi stand, or a public restroom, Americans always stand in line and wait until their turn.
7. Cranking the air conditioning
In the warmer months, many campus buildings automatically have the air conditioning on high. Sometimes it’s so cold that you have to bring a sweater to the classroom or library. This can also happen in restaurants, movie theaters, and grocery stores.
While studying abroad always means some (or many) changes, you aren’t going through this transition process on your own. Our team of Student Services Advisors are always there to assist you. Read this blog article to see who they are and how they can help you.