Americans do tend to be more informal than people from other countries. It is common custom in the USA to wear casual clothing to school. Unlike India, students greet professors by their first names and don’t use any prefixes such as sir or madam. Nonetheless, good manners and politeness are always appreciated. Always be courteous and polite, and Americans do use sorry and thank you for the smallest of gestures.
However, there are situations and environments in which formality is the norm. Some businesses require their employees to wear a uniform or a suit. It is inappropriate to wear casuals to a job interview. Some of the more prestigious
restaurants, venues, and gatherings require a coat and a tie along with formal shoes. Americans tend to dress up for cultural events (the opera, theater and ballet) and to dress down for athletic events. Formal wear is required at weddings and funerals, or any other event with religious overtones (Formal clothing for men usually comprises of a suit and for women, a dress or a suit).
Be careful where you wander in cities
Temperature and Time
The United States has a very varied climate across all its states. Depending upon what part of the country you are in, you will need to carry clothing options appropriately. You may need an umbrella, even in Las Vegas or Los Angeles, and they may be just as useless on windy days. In the northern cities, such as Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Seattle, Washington, Denver, and Minneapolis you will need cold weather and snow gear (It is advisable to purchase them from the US; the Indian clothing and gears will not suffice for the extreme winters of the north). In the southern states, such as California and Florida, summers may be very hot and the winters mild. Depending on the part of the country, temperatures during the summer will run from the 70s through the 90s (Fahrenheit).
No matter where you are in the US, you will probably need a sweater or jacket for part of the year. If you will be living in an area that gets snow, you will need a good winter coat, boots, and gloves. If the coat does not include a hood, you will need a hat that covers your ears. But all this can wait until after you arrive in the US. Clothing is relatively inexpensive in the US, and it may be easier to find appropriate clothing at your destination. Wait until you arrive, and watch what the natives wear.
The concept of Daylight Savings might seem new coming from India. The main purpose of Daylight-Saving Time (called “Summer Time” in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. They change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. It begins on the first Sunday in April and ends on the last Sunday in October. The mnemonic “Spring Forward, Fall Back” will help you remember how to set your clocks. It is adjusted automatically on all electronic devices that are connected to the internet. Students tend to stay up and have parties that day to see the clock move forward or backward. Quite interesting, isn’t it!
Forms of Address
In an informal situation, Americans will introduce each other by first name, without titles. Some people preferred to be called by their last name and it is considered polite to ask how they would like to be addressed. People who hold important positions must always be addressed with their titles first, such as the director or a president of the university. Unless they tell you otherwise, faculty should be addressed using their title and last name (e.g., “Professor Smith”).
Be sure to address your professors or people whom you email with the correct titles (not every lecturer is a professor, as professor is an official title given to a select few and reflects seniority in comparison to others); this would reflect good on your candidacy. It showcases sincerity and effort. A mistake here can be seen as a sign of being casual and disrespectful.
Don’t visit without health/ travel insurance
If you owe a debt of deep gratitude to an American host family, a common way of repaying it is to take the family to a form of entertainment, such as a baseball, basketball, or hockey game, the ballet, or to a good restaurant. It is customary in the US to split the bill so be sure to make it clear that it is your treat!
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