It is not a secret that millions upon millions of people want to immigrate to the United States of America. Being considered the premiere country in the world, the US is a tantalizing prospect for so many immigrants seeking to make a new lease of life. It is seen as a land of opportunity, where people who work hard, save hard and go hard at their jobs get the chance to prosper many times over.
While it is relatively true that the USA is one of the better countries to migrate in, the reality is that if you do not strive, you will not amount to anything in the 50 states. If you are lazy and do nothing, you won’t get anywhere but down the bottom of the pile, fast. However, if you are one of the people who really believe in the American dream, and you work to get it, then you will be able to achieve it.
In The Land of Milk and Honey: DOs and DON’Ts in Present Day United States of America
Getting to adapt to a different environment is an important aspect that a traveler or an expatriate worker must be able to do. Whether it is a smooth or rough transition is up to the person. However, there are some reminders which can help make the transition easier.
USA DOs. Try to remember these things when you set foot in the US so your stay would be fruitful and memorable:
- Do be friendly and shake hands. When meeting someone, extend the courtesy of greeting with a simple hi or hello. But strengthen the bond by using a firm (but not crushing) handshake grip.
- Do give a tip for good service. If you were extended great service by bellhops or by cab drivers, do show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication by giving them a small tip. This is not a bribe but also an assurance that you’ll receive better service the next time around.
- Do be punctual. Being late is frowned upon as American still value effectivity and efficiency in their work. If you cannot help but be late try to advise the secretary beforehand so she can move you up or down the schedule as needed.
- Do be mindful of the signs. Be sure to read the signs. Sometimes, you’ll get fined because of not reading the traffic signs or the prohibition signs tacked around. Police officers will always enforce the law because their dash cams record everything outside of their cruisers.
- Do mind your language. Contrary to popular movies, Americans are mindful of their language. Be as formal or as informal as you want in communicating with them but do not pepper your remarks with derogatory or cuss words which might offend the sensibilities of the person whom you are talking with.
- Do drink in moderation. Especially if you are driving afterwards. The legal limits for alcohol intake vary per state but cops are always going to apprehend you if your alcohol limit is above the approved level.
- Do maintain eye contact. Be firm, be personable and be able to maintain eye contact. Diverting your eyes too much would either identify you as a special needs person or you are holding something back.
USA DON’Ts. Here are some of the things to avoid when you are in the USA if you want to have a great time.
- Do not travel without your papers. Have your identification papers and travel documents ready just in case a state trooper or an immigration agent asks for them. You’ll save yourself the hassle of some detention time and tons of paperwork.
- Don’t forget your plastic. When you travel to the US, while cold hard cash is accepted, when you don’t have enough change, make sure you have your international credit card with you to facilitate the payment of the purchase.
- Don’t smoke anywhere. Increasing awareness of health conditions due to smoking necessitate the increase in non-smoking areas in cities. Be mindful where you light up. Make sure it is the permitted space for smokers so you won’t be cited by the authorities.
- Don’t stick out your tongue. It is considered vulgar and offensive for some since it implies a too physical familiarity.
- Don’t be tactless or non-PC. Do not call dark skinned men Negroes as it is no longer the politically correct term. Do be mindful of using politically correct terms when speaking to avoid offending other people’s sensitivities. Don’t ask about personal finances or other sensitive topics during the first meeting. Let the relationship bloom first before delving there.
- Don’t remove your shoes unless you’re asked. You are not supposed to remove your shoes when entering the house. Unless the hostess specifically asks you to remove them, do not take of your footwear.
While some of the cultural changes are not that different from what you are accustomed to, it is still important to be able to go with the flow. It will make your stay easier and your work more productive. Getting to know the lay of the land, so to speak, is going to be a good way to be assimilated in American society. Adapt and learn, adapt and survive adapt to make something of yourself and achieve the proverbial American Dream.