Welcome to the USA – Part 9

It would seem there’s much for our ESL students to be aware of when traveling to America. Hancock International College instructors, faculty and staff have helped many students conform to American culture if they wanted to. This can go as far as how we talk about money and how we practice personal hygiene!

According to harrisburg.psu.edu,

Money – American appreciate their privacy, especially when it comes to matters of money. They would not like to be asked how much things cost or how much money they make. This is seen as an invasion of privacy and very rude. ‘I know Americans do not like to talk about money, because of privacy. Sometimes, they even think it is impolite. So I barely do that. But I found an interesting phenomena, which is totally different from what I knew about America before I came here. In my old perspective, Americans always pay their own bills when they hang out together, even if they are best friends or in a relationship. Actually, they sometimes treat their friends without any special reason, the same as we do in China. Additionally, if they invite you to their home and you order food together, they will treat you as well.’ (Chao “Calida” Gao, China)

Personal Hygiene - In restrooms, it is expected to flush the toilet after use and to dispose of toilet paper in the toilet. Please ensure to wash hands after using the toilet.  Ladies’ sanitary items should be put in the provided trash can.

-Women shave their legs and underarms.

-Americans typically shower every day and wear deodorant.

-Americans blow their noses with tissues and dispose of them in a trash can.

-Tap water is clean enough to drink and to brush your teeth with. Some people prefer to drink bottled and/or filtered water.

-In the U.S., it is rude to spit in public.

Restaurant Etiquette

-Tipping your server 15%-20% is required.

-No tips are needed at fast food restaurants or for “carry out”.

-‘Doggie bags’ are a common way to package leftovers and take them home.

-Burgers, sandwiches, and pizza are eaten with hands, instead of utensils.

‘Sharing food at dinner is not proper in the USA. Chinese people like to share food at the table, especially among family, relatives, or friends. Americans usually prefer to split the bill when having dinner together.’ (Liping “Cindy” Qin, China)

‘In my country, Brazil, we can go to a restaurant and not order anything or take a long time to order. In the end we always stay after eating to talk to whoever is with us and it may sometimes last for hours. You pay for your check whenever you want. In the U.S. you are expected to enter the restaurant, order, eat, pay and leave. Sometimes you don’t even need to ask for the check, and when you eat the last bite of food, the server may bring the check for you. In the beginning it was very weird and stressful to me, but I got used to it. If you do not want to eat, but just want to have drinks, you should ask the host/hostess of the restaurant if you can get a table or if you may go to the bar inside the restaurant. Some American restaurants are more relaxed and waiter/waitress will not pressure you so much to order, slowly we find the places that we feel more comfortable in.’ (Patricia Flecha Amarante, Brazil)”

Full Article: http://harrisburg.psu.edu/international-student-support-services/guide-american-culture-etiquette

Idiom of the Day

In a Class by (One) Self

Meaning: Having no equal.

Example: She is the best director in Hollywood right now—she is simply in a class by herself.