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american culture | Travel News

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America is a huge and diverse continent of indigenous peoples and immigrants, both in the north, in the center and in the south. But the fact that United States being one of the world powers has made “American culture” synonymous with the culture of this country and not the continent.

Discussion aside, today we will focus on American culture and everything a tourist or immigrant needs to know before they go.

United States of America

It’s a Constitutional Federal Republic that is made of 50 states and one federal district, has a coastline on both the Atlantic and the Pacific and borders Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. Additionally, there are the beautiful islands of Hawaii and both in the Pacific and in the Caribbean Sea there are unincorporated territories.

The United States has little more than 9.80 million square kilometers and the population is 331 million people. Its population is diverse, a product of the melting pot of races that immigration meant from when it was a European colony. The fate of the native peoples was the same as in the rest of America, conquest, removal from their lands and death at the hands of diseases brought from Europe.

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Living outside your home country is sure to be a challenge and at the same time a great learning experience. The best is to know the culture in advance, to read, to internalize, to open your mind to accept the differences.

When we talk about the american culture we can talk about several topics: autonomy, independence, equality, informality, punctuality, being direct, intimacy and personal space and then certain customs related to behavior in public , meet people, go out to bars, dine or befriend Americans.

As it concerns self-sufficiency we can say that it is a value that the media always reinforce: the self-taught. Debatable, it is true, because nobody does it alone but in a context, but for a long time it is the idea which has been reinforced. Another thing is that we place a lot of value on time, Do not waste timeor aimless, not to mention being late for an appointment. That’s to say, being unpunctual is very frowned upon.

While in other parts of the world young people still live with their parents during their university studies, this is not the style here. Upside down, After completing their secondary education, young people leave the parental home.Whether to study or work. It’s necessary to be independent and it is considered positive. Another positive idea concerns the equalitythe cultural diversity that the country has created the idea that it is a nation with the same opportunities for all.

Yes, yes, another thing that is debatable but again it’s the idea that takes hold from education and the media. The idea that the United States is a country of equal opportunity for all has been repeated over and over in movies, on television, and in comic books. Although in theory it is fine, we should all have the same opportunities regardless of race, religion, gender or socio-economic position, the truth is another.

On the other hand, while there are very hierarchical cultures, I imagine Japanese or Korean society for example, American culture is quite laid back. People talk casually, dress casually, call their bosses by their first names, there are no honorifics… Usually people are quite open and frankHe says what he thinks without holding back too much. This is direct speech and other cultures may bother it or be seen as something rude. On the contrary, when the foreigner walks around to say or ask something, it confuses the Americans.

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While Latin American cultures are friendly, open, with open doors, Americans prefer their personal space not to be invaded too much. While kisses and hugs between friends and even strangers abound in Latin America, not here in the United States. They don’t like kisses or people who get too close when they talk. The circle of personal space is wider than in other cultures.

They also don’t like being asked how old they are, how much money they make, or how much they weigh. Topics of conversation with people who are not family or close usually do not include family, religious or political matters.. Next, What gestures should I take into account if I go to the United States?

Basically: always make eye contact when talking or shaking hands (male to male, female to female and mixed), doesn’t smell bad because it is synonymous that we are not attentive to our personal hygiene and keep our distance, Don’t invade your personal space.

It is also considered good manners to keep the door open for someone to pass, to wait patiently in queues, to treat those who provide service in a friendly and equal manner, leave tips in practically all places (hairdressers, car parks, hotels, taxis…).

When you go out to eat with an American, you have to be prepared to eat early. In the rest of Latin America, dinner is quiet after 8 or 9 p.m., but not here, it’s earlier. When you eat you must not hurry, you must use a napkin, if it is between friends the usual is that everyone pays for themselves and if it is not a fast food you must leave a 15% tip.

Americans are used to traveling around their huge country. For work, for studies, they move a lot more often than any of us. Thus, it is common for people to be nice and like to chat with people they don’t know, who are curious. At the same time, these are often said to be the reasons why Americans generally don’t have friends for life, because of so many moves or course changes at school.

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Keeping all of these questions in mind can help us better tailor the time we spend in the United States. Much more if we stay a long time, studying or working. We often say in cultural contact there are several cases: one of honeymoon where everything is cool and exciting and the new culture is great; another example of Culture shock where the first problems start with shopping, housing, transport, language… all of which lead to mental fatigue.

Another moment of this cultural contact is that of initial setting. At this time the previous small problems begin to be resolved and we already know which bus to take, how to pay this and that. Maybe the language isn’t quite easy yet, but the basics are starting to stick on the brain’s hard drive. A difficult period ensued. mental isolation where distance from family and friends and native daily life begin to weigh, then loneliness weighs.

And finally, time permitting, a moment of acceptance and integration where a complete routine has already been adopted, habits and customs, food, etc. have been accepted. We start to feel more at ease. This cycle is completely normal and everyone who has emigrated to another country usually goes through it.

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