Studying abroad is a new journey that goes beyond attending a foreign university. You have to live in a new country and embrace its culture and social etiquette because they are a part of the lifestyle. Adapting to a new culture is challenging, and you may not be able to do it right away. But the effort is worthwhile as you learn to appreciate other cultures and develop a global perspective in the long run. But you must be ready for the transition even before you land at your destination.

Expect it to be a lot of work because it includes small things and day-to-day matters, from your language to mode of dressing, approach to personal relationships, and interactions in the classroom and workplace. Even as these things seem trivial, they can make all the difference when it comes to understanding and adopting the new culture. It makes sense to learn about social etiquette before travelling to a new country and starting life afresh. Let us highlight the facts international students need to know about American social etiquette.


Conversational etiquette entails the way you interact and communicate with others- in the classroom, at your workplace, on social outings, and even in the market. You have to address people a certain way during interactions. While customs related to culturally appropriate forms of address may differ from state to state, you must address authoritative individuals by their title (Mr, Ms, Mrs, Dr, or Professor), followed by their last name. For peers and colleagues, you can use their first names to address them. You can use miss, ma’am, or sir while addressing someone you do not know.


Since you will be in the US for education, you need to go the extra mile with classroom social etiquette. Classroom discussions and participation are encouraged in American universities. They help you stand out in the crowd and may even contribute to your overall grade. Make sure that you share your opinions about the subject of discussion and ask questions to clarify your doubts. Avoid gossiping and eating in the class to steer clear of unwanted attention.


If you eat out at a fine-dining restaurant, consider tipping 15%-20% to the server. But you can skip them at fast-food restaurants and for “carry-outs”. Avoid talking with your mouthful as it is considered rude. Do not burp while eating out. You can ask for packaging leftovers and taking them home. If someone invites you to their place, ask them if you should bring something. Dining etiquette is pretty much the same as anywhere else in the world, so you need not worry much about following a different set of rules.


As a student, it is best to steer clear of substance abuse and even consuming them in limits. Drinking is illegal for people under the age of 21, so skip the idea completely if you are underage. You cannot smoke in most public places, though you can look for designated smoking areas around. Buying and selling drugs is illegal in the US. Some states allow legalised marijuana for recreational use, but you must check your facts about your state and legitimate age for consumers.

Following these social etiquette guidelines can make it much easier to adapt to American culture. Though it is among the most liberal ones in the world, following these rules is crucial to embrace your new life in the US.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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