Proud To Live in America
Home Government Agencies Supporters Women's Issues American Life Testimonials



American Culture, Life and Living in the USA


Over the past 200 years, immigrants from almost every country in the world have brought their native cultures and customs with them to the United States. As each new immigrant group arrived, their cultural differences were slowly absorbed into existing American social values. No other country in the world has welcomed immigrants, their families and ideas like the United States of America. Immigration has created a mixture of different nationalities, religions and customs, that has made North American culture unlike any other.


Every group of immigrants has experienced some degree of difficulty understanding what American culture is and how they can become a part of it. Many times immigrants mistakenly think that it is their language, skin color or clothing that makes them unable to become part of the American experience. While this may be partially true, there are many other less noticeable habits and cultural behaviors that separate them. Behavior not language or skin color is one of the biggest reasons why immigrants are stereotyped and face discrimination. What is considered normal behavior in one culture may be completely unacceptable in another.


Behavior is often a learned cultural response to specific situations. These learned responses allow people to function in their native culture. A countries culture develops because of a long list of things including the availability of schools, conditions of the soil, the countries monetary wealth, water and food supplies, etcetera. How does this affect you and how will understanding cultural differences help you successfully adapt to American society?


The foundation of American culture and society is based on the beliefs of earlier groups of immigrants and developed over time into something uniquely American. Most Americans have certain expectations of how other people interact with them. Typically, American’s respect the immediate physical space around them as theirs and do not like people to stand to close to them or touch them without letting you know that it is acceptable. While it may be perfectly normal in your native country to greet a friend with a hug or kiss, this type of behavior is only acceptable if people are extremely familiar with you and almost never at work. Knowing this, never stand to close the person in front of you while waiting in line, you will almost certainly make them feel uncomfortable and  probably get a dirty look. It’s not that one culture is right and another is wrong, it’s just the way Americans expect people to behave in America.


In most situations the United States of America is an organized and prosperous country. Since banks almost never run out of money or grocery stores out of food or water, there is no need to crowd, push or fight for position to obtain goods or services. Always take your position at the end of a line or take a number if you want to obtain goods or services.


In some countries, many people may have never had the opportunity to own or drive an automobile and if they did, acceptable driving standards may be very different from here. Learn the proper rules, skills and standards for driving an automobile in your state and throughout the United States. Go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles or online to obtain this information. You may think these things are unimportant but people will respect you more if you drive properly and you chances of getting stopped by the police are much less. Basic rules include always signal when making a turn, stay in the far right lane if driving slowly, never come to a complete stop in moving traffic, always carry automobile insurance, have a valid, current drivers license and  much more.


Everyone hates to feel stupid, uninformed or left out. If you are with people who do not understand your language, remember to explain to them what you are saying when speaking with someone in your native tongue.


Most situations have acceptable forms of behavior that may or may not be common in all cultures. Small things like screaming to someone across the room, talking in a movie theatre during a movie, making noise in a restaurant or making sexually improper gestures or comments to members of the opposite sex are considered unacceptable behavior.


You may see many US residents doing some of the negative things mentioned here, but remember, most people will think they lack respect and have poor manners. If you remember to do many of the things mentioned here, most people will treat you with respect and not even notice that you may be an immigrant or from a foreign country. 


In the future we will talk about specific things that will make your life easier and help you to adapt to American society. Everyday things are not simple or understood if you have never done them before


Check back often and learn about getting a driver’s license, registering an automobile, obtaining health or automobile insurance, being admitted to a hospital and much, much more. By knowing what documents to present and what to expect when you get there you will save time, get better service and be less frustrated.



* If you have a general question that you would like more information about contact us at



Advertise with UsContact UsFeedbackDisclaimerPrivacy Policy
Disclaimer: Information provided on is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Your use and access to this site are subject to additional Terms and Conditions.
Copyright © 2006 Proud To Live In America Inc. All rights reserved.