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Life and Culture – Study in USA

Studying in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially if the culture of the place is very different to what you’re used to. And in its most basic elements, the American culture is very different to the Indian culture. Many Indian students face something similar to a ‘Culture Shock’ during their initial days in the U.S. Before you choose to study in the U.S, it is important to have a general overview of the American culture and understand its peculiarities and uniqueness. Knowledge about their culture will help you make your decision regarding studying in the U.S.

Individual Freedom and Independence

The most basic aspect of the American Culture lies in the concept of ‘Individual Freedom’. Unlike India, where there the ‘society’ plays a major role in your opinions, thoughts and decisions, Americans tend to stress on using their own viewpoints and living their lives the way they wish to. The culture revolves around individual freedom and each and every citizen is expected to make informed decisions regarding every aspect of their lives. This also results in the U.S being much more tolerant than other countries to different viewpoints and opinions as they understand that every individual thinks in a different manner and everybody has the right to express themselves and lead their lives in a way that they like.

If you go to the U.S, keep in mind to respect everybody’s opinions and also express your own. It is important not to ‘judge’ people on the basis of the way they lead their lives but is also important to not let other people’s opinions force you into doing things you do not wish to.

Friendly and Social

Americans, in general are quite social and friendly. They are frank during conversations, which makes it easy for international students to discover students with similar viewpoints and ideas. Socializing and meeting new people is an important part of the American culture. However, it is also important for you to understand that they value personal space and privacy a lot. Therefore it will be important for you to respond to their friendly and social nature but without invading their personal space or privacy. A good way to do that is to reciprocate goodwill and friendliness through gestures and greetings without getting too personal.


Another very important aspect of the American Culture is that they consider all types of work to be equal and see everybody as a professional. It is not an uncommon site to see international and American students working in university cafeterias or libraries. This is considered extremely normal and rather looked at as vital ‘work experience’. They do not look down upon on any sort of work and respect a waiter as much as they would respect a Management Executive.

It is also important for you to know that Americans tend to do all their work themselves and you will seldom find a household that employs maids or servants. It is normal for everybody in the U.S to look after their house and belongings. All household chores are performed by the members of the family and you will see this reciprocated while living in a hostel or a shared apartment as well.


The U.S culture is generally very informal in nature. Everybody sees the other as an ‘individual’ no bigger and no lesser than anybody else. It is not uncommon for Americans to refer to each other by their first names. This is applicable to a lot of colleges as well where the students refer to the professor by his/her first name. You will find that people in the U.S dress informally as well. Schools and Universities do not generally prescribe a ‘uniform’ that all students are expected to wear. However, during business meetings and interviews, your dressing sense is expected to be very formal and proper.


One of the most highly valued qualities in the American Culture is the importance given to punctuality. People in the U.S look at time as a ‘resource’ and believe that time once gone will never come back therefore it is important to make the most of it. If you’re invited over to someone’s place at 6 P.M, you will be expected to reach the place by 6 P.M. Being late for more than 10 minutes is generally considered rude. If you’re going to get late, it is important to inform the other person beforehand.

Diversity and Acceptance

Diversity and Acceptance are two very important aspects of the U.S culture. You will find people from all races, ethnicities and religions living with pride and dignity in the U.S. All types of people are accepted and everybody has the freedom to practice his/her religion. Along with religion, Americans also accept diversity in all other aspects of life such as sexualities, opinions, cultures, beliefs etc.

You will find Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and people from all other religions in the U.S. Christianity is the most widely followed religion in the U.S and English is the main language. Spanish is also spoken by a lot of people in the U.S.

Achievers and Material Gains

Americans give a lot of importance to achievements in the professional as well personal aspects of an individual’s life. Success is respected and desired. Competition is considered to be healthy in the U.S and people are encouraged to perform to the best of their abilities. You will find that Americans are ‘go – getters’ by nature and work very hard towards achieving their goals and aims in life. They value material gains and consider money to be a very important part of a person’s life. The U.S has a culture that is often considered to be materialistic as success is measured in terms of material goods and resources. Most people in the U.S work hard to achieve these material goals that include living a comfortable and luxurious life. Please keep in mind that the love for money is not considered to be ‘bad’ or ‘immoral’ in the U.S.

Americans also tend to be very big spenders and do not really believe in ‘saving for the future’. Their love for luxury drives them towards spending their money as and when possible in order to have fun and live a comfortable life. The U.S is completely unlike India in this aspect, where people are expected to first save and then spend when necessary.

Sports and Extra – Curricular Activities

Sports and other Extra – Curricular Activities are very important parts of the American culture. People in the U.S generally tend to be very active and constantly participate in sports and other activities such as dance, theater etc. Sports like American Football, Baseball and Basketball are very popular in the U.S and people are generally very passionate about their teams and favorite players. You can easily expect to be invited over to someone’s place to watch a match or play a game.

Other activities like Dance, Exercise and Theater are also actively encouraged in the culture. Americans work hard on honing their talents and improving in their respective fields as performers. You will find many institutes and schools that will work on your hobbies as a performer and help you stay fit and excel in the craft at the same time.

Study in USA