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Basics on American Culture

We're glad to connect with you! Here's some things you can learn in the meantime



Here's some of the things to know about American culture


US culture focuses on the individual (what I want to do), which may be different from your culture where you focus on what the group wants.

Think BIG!

Everything may seem big to you - food portions, large spaces, big trucks, big parks. Americans often think bigger is better.

Free Speech

People will say and print things about how they disagree with the government. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects both freedom of speech and assembly.

Small Talk

Madison is in the Midwest where strangers will sometimes make conversation with each about non-controversial topics like the weather or sports.  Don't be alarmed if a stranger starts to say something to you.



Image by Rodion Kutsaev


There are fewer holidays in America and you don't work on them. 

Image by Tim Mossholder


No work on Saturdays and Sundays! (though, you may still have to work on homework.)

Image by Brad Neathery

Be On Time

It can be insulting to be late as it shows you do not respect or honor their time.

Image by Matt Ragland


Americans can be conscious of "wasting" time and focus on efficiency, which is not always good.

Kids Reading Book in Park

Keep an eye on your kids!

Individualism shows up in parenting

In the US, other parents most of the time are not involved in looking after or parenting another person's child(ren). You are expected to look after your own child(ren)! This is different from many cultures, where the community is expected to help parent the child.


Packing List

Several 110v outlet converters

Mementos and items to make you feel at home

Passport, student visa, proof of identity

Clothing appropriate for your journey and for the season you're arriving in.

Everything else can be bought in America!

Packed Luggage

The only dumb question is the one you don't ask


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