By: Julia Rabin, Greenheart Exchange Cultural Outreach Assistant

American culture is very unique, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t understand everything or things feel unfamiliar to you! The best way to adjust to the United States is to meet people and socialize so that you can practice your English and learn about the American way of life. The United States is full of diversity, especially when it comes to languages, religions, ideas, food, music, and more. Explore this diversity while you are here, and learn to embrace a new culture!

First Impressions

Adjusting to your new environment can be exciting, overwhelming and challenging. This is normal – and you are not alone in feeling this way! Dealing with new customs can get exhausting. Here are some steps to help you adjust:

  • Be Patient.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Always have an open mind.
  • Participate in conversations and group activities.
  • Remember not all Americans speak English.

U.S. Legal Systems

You are subject to all of the laws and regulations in the United States, even though you are not a citizen. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you are involved in illegal activities and found guilty, you could potentially serve jail time or be deported without hope of entering the U.S. in the future. It is important to be aware of any law that might affect you while in the U.S. Learn more about this in the Resources section of your online account.

Be cautious

Keep your valuables (passport, DS-2019 form, money, credit cards, etc.) in a safe, locked place at all times. It is smart to open up a bank account to keep your earnings safe and avoid theft. It is not likely that you will encounter violent crime while in the U.S. However, prevention is an important element in avoiding an attack. When traveling to large cities, it is good to take a taxi and not to walk alone at night. Always know where you are going and exactly how to get there. Try to travel with a friend – there is safety in numbers.

American Measurements

The American system of measures and weights is different from the Metric system. Be careful, conversions can be confusing! Go to this website to convert measurements, weights, and temperatures: http://www.convert-me.com/.

Money matters

As a Work and Travel participant, you are coming to the U.S. to experience American culture, but while you are here you will also be working. Greenheart Exchange doesn’t want you to lose sight of how to manage your money, so make sure to create a budget! This will help you prepare for how to spend money wisely in the United States. We have a resource available for you on your online account.

Excited about your Greenheart Exchange Summer Work Travel experience?! Make sure to read all of the resources available to you and understand the program requirements. We can’t wait to spend the program together!