How Foreign Exchange Students Can Prepare for American Culture
Foreign Exchange Student Preparing for American Culture
There is bound to be some level of culture shock the first time a foreign exchange student visits a new country, no matter how prepared he or she is. That said, the more you know about your host culture going into the situation, the more quickly you'll be able to acclimate, fit in, and enjoy yourself. And there are many ways to prepare for American culture when you decide to come to the United States as a foreign exchange student.
In all likelihood, you probably speak fluent English already. However, you'll likely be thrown off by the slang and colloquialisms that dominate everyday speech patterns. You can prepare for this to some degree by taking conversational English classes taught by Americans. But when you have a good understanding of the language before you go, the best thing you can do is to ask people to explain when you don't understand what they're saying. A willingness to ask questions and continue learning during your time in America could be your greatest asset.
Foreign exchange student also want to learn all you can about customs before you go, including appropriate greetings and how to behave while eating, interacting with different types of people, and so on. For example, some Europeans offer kisses on the cheeks as a form of greeting. Americans are more likely to shake hands when meeting a new person or hug if they're more familiar. And U.S. residents also tend to prefer a wide berth for personal space. If you get closer than about 2-3 feet, they may start to back up!
As for interacting with different types of people, you can probably use a measure of common sense. If you're speaking with teachers or other authority figures, you should be respectful. You can likely relax more with people your own age, as well as your host family. Again, you should take your cues from the people you're with to determine what behavior is acceptable.
Check For Study Abroad Guides
You'll find that no matter how much research you do, you'll still have a lot to learn when you arrive. And guidebooks, travel websites, and even apps can prove useful when it comes to navigating another country and culture. But don't hesitate to ask your host family and your new friends to explain anything you don't understand. This will help to ensure that everyone is comfortable and that you have an enjoyable stay in America with your host family.
At AmeriStudent, we ensure that the language will not be a barrier for our international students even you are staying for study abroad programs or just short camps. We conduct seminars and training for host families to be prepare on the different language and culture you may have so that a comfortable homestay experience is provided for the students.