American life: living in the USA, basic features of the American, interesting parties of the American character
I. Theoretical part
1. Living in the USA
a) Social customs
c) Sports and recreation
2. The basic features of the American
а) American national character in popular culture
б) Character of the peasants
3. The interesting parties of the American character
а) American Sexual Character
II. Practical part
1. Living in the USA
a) Social custom
Forms of address. In U.S. culture, there are three titles which can be used for women -miss, mrs. and ms, and one for men - mr. The title "dr." is used in academic settings. Some professors will prefer to be addressed by their first name. In the U.S., people tend to be informal.
Personal space and handshaking. Americans tend to guard their personal space. Generally people stand 61 cm apart. People in the u.s. shake hands when they are first introduced. Touching the elbow or kissing the hand are considered too intimate.
Hello and goodbye. Americans are friendly. Strangers may smile to you and say "hello" or "how are you?"- it is a U.S. version of politeness. In U.S. culture one "hello" per day is sometimes not enough. There may be many hellos in a day but the good-byes are too few. One will often leave the room without saying "excuse me" or "goodbye". Students in a rush to get to the next class, may not say "good-bye" or "thank you". It is customary to say "good-bye" at the end of the working day.
The U.S. Public Face. Besides greetings from complete strangers in public places visitors can expect - loud laughter, singing, whistling, yelling, running and skipping. Children may play ball or skateboard on sidewalks. When people converse, they often use sweeping hand gestures, use direct eye contact, and tend to smile a lot.
Speech. People in the U.S. also tend to be informal. They use a lot of slang. There are also differences in American and British English.
In the U.S. classroom. Europeans are surprised by the teachers' informal atmosphere of U.S. classrooms. Thy may eat, drink or chew gum in the classroom. Teachers have a right, however, to ask their students not to do these things in their classroom. Students also dress rather informally. Students often wear jeans and tennis shoes to class. Jeans are often purposely ripped for a "stylish" effect. Some students wear revealing clothing -short skirts, tank tops, and sheer clothing. Students also sk rather informally, sometimes on their own legs or cross-legged. Students often rush to and from classes without saying hello or good-bye to teachers. Sometimes students Come into classrooms after the class period has begun, or leave before it has ended. They say nothing to the teacher, since they may consider that interrupting would be rude.
Dress. People in the U.S. wear different types of clothing in different situations. Students often wear informal clothing. Professors dress in more formal, yet comfortable clothing. It is appropriate to alternate clothing daily. People often wear different combinations of three or four outfits. They mix and match a few shirts with 3 or 4 pairs of pants or shirts.
Smoking is prohibited in elevators and some bathrooms, on buses, subways, on all domestic airline flights and most public buildings /museums, markets, classrooms and offices/. Violators are subject to fines. It is polite to ask your companions if they mind if you smoke.
Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages. The purchase of alcoholic beverages by or for people under the age of 21 is unlawful in the U.S. It is also prohibited on many university campuses. No beer or alcoholic beverages may be consumed in public areas, including streets and parks.
ATTITUDES AND VALUES IN THE U.S.
Individuality and independence. People in the U.S. consider themselves individuals. They value independence and self-reliance. Children are encouraged to think and do things on their own. The educational system seeks to cultivate an adult who can manage his/her life independently.
Frankness and Curiosity. Directness is a desirable trait in the U.S. people often respond to questions in a frank manner. People are quick to get to the point. In the classroom frankly disagree with a professor and express their own opinion. People in the U.S. are eager to learn. Their curiosity may lead them to ask many questions.
Privacy. People in the U.S. feel comfortable answering most personal questions. However, some people may take offence to certain questions regarding personal finances, house or car costs, family details and health.
Achievement. People in the U.S. tend to value personal achievements. This lends to the competitive nature of U.S. society. Honor codes are taken very seriously.
Materialism. Some people in the U.S. take great pride in their possessions as measures of their success. How ever, there are many people who do not agree with this definition of success.
Time Orientation. People in the U.S. value time. They are often rushing around. This creates a very rapid pace of life. They keep very busy even during their leisure time. People punctuality is respected. There is a great emphasis on meeting deadlines. U.S. society is focused on the present and not the past.
International Naivete. Some people in the U.S. are relatively unaware of other nations and cultures. They may ask questions which are very uninformed and may even seem rude.
"Jet Lag" is the first of many adjustments which you will have to make during your stay in the U.S. After the long flight, it may take some days to rid yourself of sleepiness.
Cross-cultural adjustment comes next. Cultural shock happens to everyone. There is a general cycle of emotional phases that a person experiences.
Phase 1 -"The honeymoon period". This is a time in which everything will seem new and interesting. You will be happy to explore.
Phase 2 - "Culture fatigue". You will realize that you will have to work to adjust to a new culture. You may feel stressed, isolated, irritated, homesick or unmotivated. You may begin to eat or sleep too much and even believe that you are ill.
Phase 3 - " Rejection of the host culture". At this point you may feel hostile toward the U.S. as the cause of your discomfort. You may wonder how Americans live as they do. You may not want to speak English and may withdraw from others.
Phase 4- "The new culture makes sense". You will become more self-confident and outgoing.
Phase 5 - "Adaptation to the new culture". You will feel comfortable and effective.
All these feelings are normal.
Meal Times. In the U.S. meals are usually served at the following times: breakfast: 6:30-10:00 a.m., lunch: 11:30-2:00 p.m., dinner: 5:00 p.m.-8:00. Breakfast meals can varyfrom cereal and milk to eggs and pancakes or French toast /slices of bread dipped in an egg and milk batter and fried/. Lunch tends to be a lighter meal - a sandwich, yogurt or a light entree. Dinner includes a main course of meat, poultry or fish, accompanied by side dishes such as soup, salad and; vegetables. Brunch, a common Sunday meal