Culture shock ?

Not at all. Just a different approach.

What Germans can expect when they come to the U.S.A.




Americans donít always close room doors, they prefer an open-door policy

Closing or even locking the door means: Privacy please  -  donít disturb (me)

Doorknobs are, unlike our European diversity, widely standardized and easy to handle

Americans donít pull window shades in the evening or at night

They love phoning and, since distances are quite big, often go on phoning for hours

Going out for a meal, not only on weekends, is more popular than in Germany

Meals are often bigger, and cookies and sweets contain a lot more sugar - so look for low-sugar products

In families a hot meal or dinner is prepared in the evening, if at all

Most families hardly ever eat together: In the morning everybody has breakfast when he gets up, then there is lunch at work or in school, and in the evening everybody eats when he is hungry

Raiding the refrigerator is a common practice, and your host parents will allow you  to help yourself to have food or beverages from this family focal point

Americans love drinking plain water, milk or diet coke, they usually donít have mineral or carbonated water

Water fountains in many public places help everybody to quench his thirst  -  free

Cold drinks are normally served with ice cubes, i.e. ice-cubes are served with

a little drink

All varietes of processed food are on sale in the supermarkets, so why not try them

When visiting a friend of your host family you arenít expected to bring a gift

Shaking hands any time you meet people isnít necessary - just keep smiling

Blowing your nose at the table is considered bad manners

People do not normally pay separately when they are with a group in a restaurant

Customers in restaurants are expected to give a 15% tip, it can be left on the table

Americans leave their pets at home

Talking about politics is out

Walking down the street is unheard of - everyone drives everywhere

Smoking, especially in public buildings, is out

Schoolkids donít carry schoolbags, they keep their books, coats etc. in lockers at school

Air-conditioning cools down cars, stores and shopping malls so that you wonít have to sweat on hot days

Americans use the phrases  "Excuse me" or "Sorry" a lot more than Europeans do

Americans still esteem their traditional values: hard work, rugged individualism, patriotic pride and the virtues of private enterprise

Americans love cars, television, pizza  ...

Americans laugh a lot more than we do

Americans are not afraid to communicate with you - they wonít bite either                   


 (  Copyright  by  Werner KundmŁlller  1997)