Tips for Living in the United States

Use the Language
You came here to improve your English, so make every effort to use it daily. Not only should you try to speak English, but you should try to read American newspapers and magazines, listen to the radio, and watch television. These things will not only improve your English, but they will also teach you about American culture. It is also a very good idea to agree to speak English with other students from your own country! Americans enjoy talking with international students, but you may have to start the conversation. Ask them questions about the U.S. to show you are interested in learning more about our culture.

Be Honest
If you do not understand something, admit it. It's usually best to tell someone you don't understand something rather than trying to pretend that everything is alright.

Learn to Laugh at Yourself
Communicating in a foreign language is difficult, and you may get nervous about making mistakes at first.

Laughing at your own mistakes and taking risks are positive ways of dealing with the adjustment process.

Get Involved in Activities
You must take the first step in making friends and participating in activities. To get to know your classmates, ask them about their cultures and their experiences. Keeping busy with them and attending activities is a good way to avoid homesickness.

Put Yourself in Other People's Shoes
Try to look at situations from the perspective of other people. Always ask questions and explain what you are thinking. What may seem obvious or reasonable to you may not be for someone else because of cultural differences.

Avoid Stereotyping and Making Snap Judgments
It's natural to judge everything you observe and experience here as "good" or "bad." However, this can block you from understanding American culture. Try not to judge people and situations until you feel you understand why they are acting a certain way. And remember, most things are not really "better" or "worse" than they are in your country. They are just different!