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How to Embrace the American Lifestyle

By Hannah Varberg – HCC Communications Coordinator

Cultural exchange is such a wonder because you learn there is beauty in every culture worldwide. You also learn that no culture is comprised of perfect humans.

Those engaging and immersing themselves in American culture see both beauty and imperfect humans. This writing piece is not saying that everyone should embrace American culture. This is not saying that the American lifestyle is the way for the world to live; that would be incorrect and pretentious. This is simply for those that are living in American culture to learn the lifestyle: the beautiful, ugly, and trivial.

The following are practical steps in embracing the American lifestyle:

  1. Drink too many cups of coffee.

Coffee is America’s fuel to maintain the fast-paced, productive, anxious, jittery lifestyle. Many Americans take coffee “to go” from Starbucks because they just don’t have time in their crazy schedules to sit and drink at the same time.

  1. Schedule social events a month in advance.

This is another exhibit of the frantic, busy American schedules. Most Americans have their next few weeks booked, and you need to plan far in advance for a night with friends.

  1. Eat pizza once a week.

This, without a doubt, is a beauty of the US. Pizza is popular for nights with friends, and many Americans eat it once a week. If other Americans won’t dare admit this frequency, I will.

  1. Smile or Say hi to Strangers.

If you are on a walk and pass someone without acknowledging them with a simple “hi” or a smile, you are usually considered rude. It’s cultural to see people instead of ignoring them.

  1. Respond “Good” when you are not good.

“How are you” is a casual greeting, and “good” is a casual response. If someone is actually honest about their feelings, people will be taken aback. Expressing true feelings isn’t something Americans usually do.

  1. Wear sweatpants out in public with pride.

Americans are professional when they need to be, but wearing sweatpants out in public is acceptable here. People aren’t ashamed to be comfy.

  1. Make or buy a sandwich for lunch.

This is incredibly common when you are both a child and an adult. A child will eat a sandwich made by their parents; an adult will go to a fancy sandwich shop for lunch. Cold lunches are popular.

  1. Go to church.

Christianity is still a massive part of American culture. 75% of Americans are Christians, and many go to church. Churches across America are very different and diverse; check out a church that interests you.

  1. Put ice in drinks.

Americans love a cold beverage, whether it’s alcohol, pop, iced tea, water, or juice. We add ice to ensure it’s cold enough for our taste.

  1. Speak your mind, but be offended when others do too.

Americans are incredibly vocal with their opinions, and this has increased exponentially in the age of social media. With this great freedom of speech comes a great deal of being offended. This one is such a good thing and such a bad thing.

  1. Obsess over pumpkin flavors in the Fall.

Americans get excited every year for the arrival of the pumpkin.

  1. Look at Instagram or Facebook in every minute of free time.

This one feeds into the fast-paced lifestyle. Two minutes of free time requires some sort of stimulation for Americans. People don’t just sit and wait anymore.

  1. Be in college debt.

70% of college grads have loans and debt hanging over their heads. This is inevitably the ugly of American culture, unless someone would disagree and call it beautiful.

  1. Avoid talking about vulnerable or uncomfortable topics.

Uncomfortable topics include age, income, and personal problems. Many Americans don’t stray too far from shallow topics, and even family conversations rarely touch on states of mental health or personal turmoil.

  1. Dream

Americans dream about fixing problems, building a business, traveling, buying a house, climbing to a prestigious career, and making a difference. The most beautiful thing is that many Americans, regardless of their income, race, or gender, pursue these dreams until they become reality. This is why it is so endearingly called the American Dream.

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