American customs and etiquette
Before you travel to the U.S., try to learn a bit about American customs and etiquette so that your experience goes as smoothly as possible.
- PennState Harrisburg's Guide to American Culture and Etiquette
- InternationalStudents.org: Tips on being polite in the U.S.
- Western Illinois University: Basics of American Culture
American Classroom Etiquette
- Classroom culture in the U.S. is typically quite informal. Students usually dress as comfortably as possible, which might be surprising to people from other cultural backgrounds. This means that there is no pressure to "dress up" to go to class.
- Many professors ask students to call them by their first names; however, each instructor has his/her own approach, and you should always err on the side of more formality. If you do not know an instructor's exact title or preferred way of being addressed, "Professor [Last Name]" is usually a safe choice.
- Punctuality (being on time to class) is very highly valued.
- Speaking without raising your hand is likely to be considered rude depending on the instructor and the size of the class.
- Be sure you understand how to write professional emails.
- Understand that American colleges have very strict rules regarding plagiarism (copying someone else's work and presenting it as your own). Plagiarizing another person's work can result in your dismissal from the school, which can have implications for your visa status.