Coming to America: 7 Things You Should Know

Coming to America for the first time can be exciting and incredibly terrifying. While the opportunities for growth and fun abound, the underlying anxiety of living in such a diverse country can affect your outlook.

Americans talk differently. They behave differently. And they certainly eat differently. Each of these thoughts can wreak havoc on your mind as you prepare for your internship. So before the ‘Welcome to America’ sign greets you in the airport, here are seven wonderful facts you should keep in mind.

American Behavior

America is comprised of a variety of cultures and experiences. Many families still hold onto their immigrant traditions. As a result, behaviors vary from one region to the next. While it’s impossible to define one true American behavioral style, there are a few similarities to take note of before coming to America.

Most Americans enjoy small talk. While at work, the bus stop or waiting in line, a typical discussion may involve the weather or recent sporting event. It’s important to note however, Americans value their privacy. Keep your conversations light and airy when first introduced.

Once you become more familiar with an individual, deeper conversations will follow.

Personal Space

As mentioned above, Americans value their privacy and keeping strangers at a comfortable distance plays a big part in that. You’ll discover Americans like plenty of space everywhere they go. They drive big cars. They own big homes. And they keep that large space with them in public. When arriving to work, standing in line or even walking down the street, be mindful of your surroundings.

When strangers enter their peripheral, Americans tend to grow tense. They have an elevated sense of awareness of those around them. Depending on the circumstance, your closeness may or may not lead to a positive encounter. Give your coworkers the opportunity to know more about you before standing too close or hugging them.

Dining Out

Throughout your internship, you’ll encounter many busy restaurants and bars. That’s because most Americans in large cities truly love dining out. And with the vast diversification in cuisine, who could blame them.

In large cities, you could find restaurants or bistros catering to almost any nationality in the world. From Indian and Asian to French and Latin, American Cuisine encompasses them all. With so many options right at your fingertips, coming to America is a wonderful opportunity to experience food from all over the world.

Ice Cream

If you only try one new dessert during your visit to America, it has to be ice cream. Americans love ice cream so much; they’ve dedicated the entire month of July to the treat.

Ice cream shops and specialty stores can be found in every American city. And the flavor options are just as plentiful. To prevent your mind from becoming overloaded with ice cream options, it’s a good idea to make a list of flavors you’d like to try before coming to America.


Like many countries, Americans are passionate about their sports teams. Baseball and football in particular. Keep in mind, when Americans talk about football, they don’t mean European football. They’re talking about the oblong pigskin ball you get to touch with your hands.

Whether it’s soccer, football, baseball, or hockey, some sort of game can be watched throughout the year. But if you can only choose one game to see, check out a baseball game. This All-American sport may be watched on televisions around the world. But hearing the crack of the bat and seeing the game play out right in front of you is something special.

It’s an experience you’ll never forget.


America is home to many beautiful natural and man-made wonders. No matter what region of the country you spend your internship, make a point to visit a popular point of interest.

Take a camera and a few emergency essentials and hike the nature trails in one of America’s National Parks. These parks boast wildlife and land formations you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

If a nature trail isn’t your style, ask your coworkers or host family about other must see places in your city. Most major cities offer museums, aquariums, and theme parks that provide an educational glimpse into American culture.

Be heard

Americans love to be heard. Perhaps that’s the reason so many innovative ideas and designs are constantly emerging. At work or in the home, the small hum of noise is usually welcomed. In fact, idea generating conversations are actually encouraged in most workplaces.

During your internship, don’t be afraid to speak up. It may take some time to get accustomed to your new environment, but don’t wait too long to let your voice be heard. Ask questions and give your opinion. While your supervisors and coworkers should always be treated with respect, it’s completely acceptable to voice your opinion. After all, this is a learning experience and your opinion may spark a new idea within the organization.  

Coming to America today

Don’t make your internship in America only about work. Take some time to get to know the people you work with. Talk to your host company about your interests and let them get to know more about you.

Before coming to America, you may have preconceived notions on how they act and what they eat. One of the goals during your internship could be to discover why Americans act the way they do and why they eat the way they eat.

In your quest, you’ll discover that while Americans love everything about their country, perhaps what they love most is showing you all the great things you can experience there.


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