Handy Tips to Adjust to the American Way of Life
Wow! Congratulations, so you’ve made up your mind to study in the United States! Stay assured, it’s going to be an exciting and adventurous new experience in Uncle Sam’s country.
Adapting to a new way of life is an ongoing process that could last throughout the tenure of your stay, but the key to adjusting to the American way of life is to assimilate some new cultural values while holding on to your basic values.
So, once you’ve unpacked your last bag, the task that lies ahead of you is to make sure you don’t feel totally lost in terra incognita or else you may even consider packing up and heading back home. But, don’t worry, that’s just an exaggeration, here are some handy tips on how to not merely settle down in your new-found space, but also to transform your space into a place where you truly feel at home.
Creating a cosy nest
Now that you’re done with unpacking your bags, boxes, and suit cases, you can focus on making your new space your own cosy nest. How about hanging some pictures and family photographs around the room to make the area feel familiar, warm, and welcoming. Don’t get stressed about the budget because simple things such as flowers, candles, lights that can bring cheer to any dull wall are fairly inexpensive. Giving your personal living space a personal touch not only makes it Instagram-worthy, but also livens your mood, when you get back to your room after a long day at the university. They say home is where the heart is, so why not create a home away from home.
Exploring your neighborhood
The easiest way to get to know your new surroundings is to simply step out, take a stroll and explore your new neighborhood. Getting acquainted with all the local spots where you can shop for groceries, provisions, essentials, go for a haircut, grab a quick bite, or even do your laundry can help you settle down smoothly and faster. You needn’t really venture very far from your place, but the more you’re seen on the streets, the more likely new people would try to reach out to you. Moreover, if you’re into cycling, several biker-friendly apps are available in most big cities that can help you with step-by-step directions to new locations beyond your neighborhood. After all your freshmen years make the perfect time to discover new places, meet new people, and expand your horizons.
Keeping culture shock at bay
As you settle down, unfamiliar landscapes, weather, social values, and customs may leave you feeling disorientated, but don’t worry, it’s absolutely normal. In fact, it’s an integral part of the adjustment phase because mentally you still could be connected to everything familiar back in your home country. However, the key to successful integration is acceptance of the differences and learning how to live with them confidently without any feelings of isolation. After all, embracing a new culture will help you see the world around you with a new perspective and appreciate the uniqueness in others. Also, if someone happens to make a culturally insensitive or ignorant comment, you don’t need to give up on the U.S. as a kneejerk reaction because you could be depriving yourself of numerous potential learning opportunities.
Getting familiar with American media
It’s not uncommon to hear freshmen as well as sophomores using quaint expressions and typical references from popular films, television shows, and music while they communicate on campus. Well, if you’d like to relate to your new friends, classmates or even dorm mates in a better way, then it would make sense to know more about them. What are their favorite television shows? What kind of movies do they watch? Do they listen to the latest music hits? Do they idolize any film or media personality? So, tune into the trendiest radio stations, browse through the TV listings, check what’s playing at the local movies, within no time you’ll get a feel of the pulse of the city, and how media shapes public emotions and interests. Studies show American media plays a significant role in determining the narrative and image of foreign lands, cultures, communities with focus only on the bad.
Joining an expat community
Well, at home you’ve relied on your parents, but away from home you need friends to be there for you in times of need. There could be times when you feel breaking into American social circles and befriending Americans could be challenging, however with efforts you can progress from being casual acquaintances to good buddies. However, depending on your interests and hobbies or even cultural affiliations, you can try finding a local expat club or organization to connect with likeminded people. Joining an expat community can offer a platform to meet people from your home country, especially if you’re having a tough time adapting to the new way of life. Expat clubs can not only help you stay connected to your culture, but also support you while make this tough transition.