An Indian Student's Guide to Adjust Culturally in the US

The United States of America (USA) has over 2,500 universities, which educate many students, every year. Because of the facilities available, and large number of universities and programs on offer, no wonder it is one of the most preferred places to study. In the academic year 2008-09, more than 2,00,000 students from India and China alone went to the US to study. Because of this diversity, the American culture has been enriched by the values of almost all cultures. This diversity helps an international student adjust to the environment, since everyone can find something or the other similar to his country, for example there are temples, mosques, ethnic restaurants, so that one finds a part of his homeland in the US.

Most universities conduct orientation sessions for new students to help them get acquainted with the new surroundings. International students can always seek help from the admissions office or the international student office at the U.S. University you with to attend.

Many Universities have full time therapists who have been trained to work with International students, to find a solution to the challenges these students might face.

To adjust to the new environment, observe things and be prepared to learn, both, inside and outside your classroom. Interact with people, introduce yourself, make friends and discover as much as you can.

International nights and mixers, where both, foreign and U.S. students are invited, can be a great way to meet new people and learn more about your surroundings. Many times, topics include immigration, academic advisers, computer and library resources, telephone services, public safety, medical services, and banking and transportation options. Universities also plan trips to local attractions. The Student Activities Centers are the places where you may learn about a lot of different activities and programs, such as the college editorial staff, outdoor clubs, chorus, athletic teams and a lot of other things. You may choose things as per your liking.

(Also read: Life in USA: Guide for an Indian Student)

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Some Common Differences in British English and American English

 British English
 American English
 Petrol  Gas
 Lift  Elevator
 Flat  Apartment
 Chips  Fries
 Jumper  Sweater
 Wardrobe  Closet
 Trainers  Sneakers
 Number Plate  License Plate
 Tap  Faucet
 Football  Soccer
 Estate Agent  Realtor
 C.V. (Curriculum Vitae)  Resume
 Autumn  Fall
 Dinner Jacket  Tuxedo
 Canteen  Cafeteria
 Holiday  Vacation
 First floor  Second floor
 Staff Room  Teachers Lounge
 Caretaker/porter  Janitor


Knowing yourself is very important. You should know who you are, what you are comfortable with, how you might react to a situation and how much are you willing to learn. Develop new friendships. It has been found that the International Students like you must be more assertive if a friendship is to develop.

In many places in the US, a simple “hi” is considered very friendly. Americans feel that it is very outgoing and welcoming. These greetings are a social custom which has little to do with friendship. The person may become your friend eventually, but it is important not to misunderstand the nature of your verbal exchange.

 The easiest and the most preferred way to communicate in the US is through e-mails.  E-mails and the Internet are considered the cheapest and fastest way to transfer information. However, try to resist the urge to spend too many hours in front of the computer; keep in mind that your visit to the U.S. may not last forever, so go out and socialize with others to get a full American experience. Make sure you are open to new experiences!

Socialization is one of the most important aspects of your international experience. It is essential for the development of individuals who can participate and function within their societies, as well as for ensuring that a society’s cultural features will be carried on through new generations. Socialization continues throughout an individual’s lifetime, and your experience in studying abroad will challenge you to develop your "people skills" even further.

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