How to Interact with Americans

While going to a new country, you would notice many cultural differences. Americans have a different culture and have different habits of interacting with others. This article peeps into a few aspects of interacting with others.

In US, men usually shake hands with each other the first time they meet. Men usually do not shake hands with women unless the woman extends her hand first. Women do not usually shake hands with each other. A university setting is usually very informal. Students who meet one another will normally not shake hands at all. A student could shake hands with a professor or staff person if introduced, but not usually with a fellow student.

American names generally have three parts: the first (or given) name, the middle name or initial, and the last (family) name. People may call each other by their first names immediately after they have met. When deciding whether to call people by their first name of not, the following general rules apply: Address people of your approximate age and status by first name. This would apply to fellow students and neighbors. If the other person is clearly older than you, you should use Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms. and the last name. "Ms." (pronounced "Mizz") is increasingly used for both unmarried and married females. If a student is not certain whether or not a woman is married, "Miss" or "Ms." is the appropriate term to use. If the other person has a title such as "Ambassador," "Doctor," or "Dean," use that title and the last name. Any faculty member can be addressed as "Doctor," whether he holds the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or full professor. Again, the other person might ask you to address him by his first name, and you should abide by that wish.

When two people are first introduced, the dialogue normally goes something like: "How do you do?" "Fine, thank you. How are you?" "Fine, thanks." After the first meeting, there are two kinds of greetings. The more formal is "Good Morning," "Good afternoon," or "Good Evening." The less formal is simply "Hello" or just "Hi." You may simply say "Good Morning," "Hi," or whatever is said to you, in response. Any of these greetings may be followed by "How are you?" To this one should answer "Fine, thank you," whether you are fine or not! The American casual parting remark "See you later," means "goodbye," and does not mean that the person saying it has a specific intention to see you later.

You will probably have opportunities to visit an American home. In the United States you should never say that you accept an invitation unless you truly intend to do so. It is polite to notify your hostess of any last minute change of plans, and of any dietary restrictions you have. If you do not know what clothing could be appropriate to wear for the occasion, simply ask: "What should I wear?", ask the host or hostess to describe the type of outfit appropriate.

Punctuality is usually essential, especially if you have been invited for a meal or for a cocktail party. You may be thought inconsiderate and impolite if you do not arrive at the appointed hour. Again, it is a very good idea to notify your hostess if you will be more than 15 minutes late. If you wish to bring a gift, a bouquet of flowers or a box of candy is always appropriate. Always bring a small gift when you are invited as a houseguest for an extended visit, like a weekend. If the host or hostess is preparing the meal, it is polite to ask if you can help with any preparations. Guests should offer their help in cleaning up after dinner. Your host or hostess will tell you whether he/she needs extra help or not. Always abide by his/her wishes.



October 15, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Hey ppl,this is Ajay.
I took up my gre on oct 14th n ma score is 1080(730+350).
awa-expecting (3.5-4)
12th-96% (First mark-8.5)
Presented a paper in a national symposium n won 2nd prize.
Another paper has been selected 2 b presented in a national conference.
m yet 2 take up ma toefl n m sure of havin a score of 100+!!
Shall i apply for fall'09 with this score or shall i retake n apply for spring'09?
m planning to give it a try for the following univ!!wat r my chances out here in de foll univ?suggest me something!!

1.univ of texas,dallas
4.New jersey institute of technology
5.univ of iowa
6.ohio state univ

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