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By on May 29th, 2017

Americans 101: A Guide for International Students

No matter where you’re from in the world, there’s no place like America. Even their two neighbors, Canada and Mexico, are completely different. While a country with well over 319 million people that prides itself on diversity is hard to generalize, the following guide should help international students better know what to expect.

Americans Are Very Nice

If you’re basing your impression of Americans on TVs and movies, you may think that they’re all loud, blunt, and even bullies. To be fair, this is a perfectly accurate depiction of some of them, but you can find people like that anywhere.

The vast majority of the people you meet will be excited about talking to someone from another country. International students usually face all kinds of questions by people who are fascinated about another part of the world.

Furthermore, don’t be surprised if they insist on showing you around or taking you out on the town.

Most Won’t Know Where You Came From

At the same time, most Americans don’t have the same knowledge of the rest of the world as international students do. There could be a lot of reasons for this, but one simple explanation is that they live in the third-largest country in the world, so just getting to know the other 49 states is a serious task.

Don’t take it personally if they can’t find your country on a map. As we just mentioned, most will be very happy to learn all about where you’re from.

College Is Treated a Little Less Seriously

In most countries, college isn’t considered as much of a “right” as it is here. There’s a good chance you’re from a country that offers free public education but only to people who have qualified through their academics.

Americans have to pay for college (though there are scholarships and student aid) and while this may involve loans, just about anyone can otherwise attend. If you’re from a country where attending class is seen more like a job, you might be surprised to find out that many American students are a bit more casual about it.

They Enjoy a Diverse Menu of Foods

One big stereotype about Americans is that they all eat fast food and other forms of processed menu items 24/7. The country is definitely not lacking for food or places to buy it. Depending on where you’re from, it may be overwhelming to look at all the restaurants surrounding your campus.

That being said, you’ll find that many Americans like all kinds of food, including the kind that comes from all over the world. Most will be excited to dry any recipes you can cook from your country.

America also has more to offer than fast food. There is a thriving foodie community here, which is made up of people who love high-quality foods and finding new ways to enjoy them.

Their Politics Are Equally Diverse

You probably know that there are really only two major political parties in America: Democrat and Republican.

However, the vast majority of the population doesn’t belong to either. Even if they do, it’s hard to generalize their political beliefs despite party loyalty.

While politics is still largely considered a taboo topic amongst strangers, as you get to know Americans, you should feel comfortable asking their opinion on things. Instead of saying, “Are you for/against…”, though, just say, “What do you think about…” to get a sense of their political beliefs. Many will volunteer the information early on.

Americans are a diverse lot, but you should find that the above applies to most of them. Put some effort into getting to know your classmates and it won’t be long before you’ll be able to add to this guide.