Culture Shock in the USA

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statue of liberty in the USAPerhaps more than in any other country in the world, American culture is a global mishmash of customs, traditions, languages and beliefs.

Expats will find themselves already eerily familiar with fashions, entertainment, idioms, and even cityscapes influenced by the world around. Even those expats relocating to the USA from smaller, more reclusive corners of the world will be reassured to note that real evidence of their homeland - from cuisine to religion – can be found in this multicultural melting pot with a little legwork.

The many influences and integrated cultural characteristics are long to list, but each contributes a bit to the national ethos. This is particularly apparent in the cities which are bigger, brash blends of humanity; smaller towns often retain characteristics of their founding nationalities. The lesser place names are often denoted by suffixes like 'burgh' and ville' or prefixes such as 'New' and 'San'.

Still, despite its many inspirations, US culture still has distinct attributes of its own. In fact, there are a number of differences from other western cultures that may take expats living in the USA by surprise.

The sheer geographical size of sprawling American cities may intimidate many initially. Long commutes and long drives are normal. A dependence on vehicles is a common characteristic of American life. 

Americans consider themselves earnest, hard working and independent, and many Europeans are surprised by the lack of universal social services provided by the government.

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