10 Biggest Culture Shocks in America

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Culture shock in America

Many international students studying abroad in the USA have several preconceived notions about American culture. After visiting the country, many International students revealed the cultural shocks they received in America. Here is a list of the 10 biggest cultural shocks in America that most of the international students came across.

Informal Interaction Among the Different Age Groups

It is surprising to note that the kids, youth, and adults refer to each other with their first names. This is a very uncommon sight to witness. The sense of friendliness and informal interaction is too high in the USA. Many international students might find it surprising and take time to adjust to this tradition. Students rarely wish good morning to their professors or even refer to them as “sir”.

Also Read: Study in USA Guide for Indian Students

Convenient Schedule for University Classes


Another cultural shock in America is that Classes in the US Are only between 3 to 4 hours every day. Usually, they are conducted in the afternoon or the evening. This means that the students get enough time to sleep late, wake up around noon, and have time for different chores.

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Huge Gaps Between Every Class

Besides having convenience in the schedule of classes, students also enjoy long hours of break. In many traditional institutions, this gap only lasted for 10 to 15 minutes. But here in the USA, there could be only one or two classes in a day with long gaps between each. This surprises many Asian students since it’s contrary to their own tradition.

Food, Food, and More Food! 

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The next culture shock in America is the immense availability of food. The USA is known for huge meals and food. Students can find a variety of food on the campuses including vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. Pork is as common as chicken and beef and is available everywhere. There is no limit to refilling the bowls and students can eat a lot from the variety of choices available. 

Small Talks are Very Common

Surprisingly, people engage themselves in very short talks with each other. Even strangers can talk to you while passing on the road. Instead of saying hi, people can ask you about yourself too. This is the form of conversation and occurs daily. International students might find it unusual but can adapt to this culture.

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Unlimited Internet for Everyone Everywhere

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While some nations struggle to find internet signals, the USA is fully equipped with high-speed internet in every location. Students have the feasibility to connect with unlimited Internet anywhere, especially on campus. They can stream high-resolution educational videos, movies, sports events, and similar other visuals. 

Other International Languages are Very Common

Among the many culture shocks in America, multiple languages are quotes common there. Many international students would move to the USA believing that the only language prevalent is English. However, that’s not the case. The citizens commonly speak languages such as Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and others. So if you are comfortable in any of the above-mentioned languages, you might get surprises.

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Students Work Part-Time to Pay their Tuition

It is a very common phenomenon in the USA for students to take up jobs and pay the fees with their earned salary. This is not something very common in other nations where parents are fully responsible to pay the fee. This might come as a culture shock in America for international students and can also be surprising that students even move out of their parents home and live in separate accommodation.

Also Read: Value of Part-Time Jobs While Studying Abroad

Unique Metric System

Many international students are accustomed to the kilograms, metres, litres, degrees Celsius as the unit of weight, length, volume, temperature, and so on. But they might be shocked to see a different metric system in the USA. Here pounds, feet, and Fahrenheit are usually used as units for measurements. This system is quite confusing and difficult to comprehend at the beginning by many international students.

Friendly and Social People

The people in the USA are known to be open-minded,  helpful and friendly with strangers who are approachable for help. It is very easy for girls and guys to mix up and build friendly relations. The culture of gender-friendliness might be a cultural shock in America. Some international students might also find it difficult to adjust to such an environment.

The USA is one of the most loved nations to seek higher studies due to its quality and culture. Many international students might find various culture shocks in America depending on the background they come from. However, the friendliness and social conduct of Americans make it easy to adjust to their environment.  If you are planning to study in the USA and need assistance, reach out to the experts at Leverage Edu who will provide career guidance and ease the education loan process for international students.

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