A former English as a second language student shares American experience.

I spent three months of my life in the US. This is the first time I’m so far from home for such a long time. Best example for my feelings is to have a chocolate peanut ice cream right after hot soup. And what is more interesting … I like it!

Travelling is my big passion. So when I heard, ” we are arriving in Midland airport in 5 minutes, please fasten your seat belts.” I realized that my parents ans friends are on the other side of the ocean with eight hours time difference. What to do? “Chill, relax, and start breathing.”

American is a great country. I’m serious! If you open U. S. map and put your finger at any spot, you’ll find a small town with local traditions, events, own museums of something and people who are proud of being born there. It’s huge. East coast is different from West coast, and people from South have no special liking of Northerners. Every country has the same internal specific, but if you have a chance to lunch with people from different regions, you’ll see how colorful the US nation is. Before you start organizing such an event, please take a look into some local peculiarities. I’m sure it will help you to avoid many surprises. and the lunch will be as tasty as you want it to be.

1. Be ready to come on time.

I would not compare Americans with Swiss people on planning everything, but you’d better be punctual, as each minute counts. And, by the way, it is even more actual for business meetings: people expect you to send straight forward messages from the very beginning without any waste of time. Afterward, they need to run for another meeting. They always in a rush.

2. Hi, How are you?

No matter where you are, no matter if you know the person or not, be ready to hear that. Take it easy and do not go into details. US people are very polite. They always(say) “Sorry” even if they did not do anything. They always smile. Positive… that’s what I really like here! Passion? Yes— People do believe a big smile is a key for success and prosperity. So if your teeth do not shine enough, go and work on it immediately. Americans are more outgoing people. They talk to foreigners easily. That is one thing I had to get used to.

3. Small Talk

Did you know your neighbor’s dog ate too much cakes yesterday because of a 10-year old anniversary (birthday) of their second kid? You’d better think about fishes for your new house instead of pets. No? You will. It’s a part of the culture to share feelings and opinions on everything and everywhere even if you did not ask. I think, people are so friendly and open-minded that they really need to share this with the rest of the world. Another thing that was different from Russia was people’s views of recreation and relaxing. Americans really like lots of time for sports and recreation.

4. Stereotypes

Russians are considered Vodka drinkers. Yes, the drink is a part of our culture. And NO, we are not heavy drinkers. By the way, there are no white bears on the streets and Siberia is a beautiful place to go. Americans are considered as a Cowboy nation. One more wrong message, some people think the US is just like an old movie with Clint Eastwood.

5. Competition forever!

Add here a justice and your get a perfect environment for business development. Local history is full of examples when a person slept in the metro (subway), and the next day he owns a Bentley with Chauffeur. If you have an ability to do something different, if you are creative, or smart enough… America is one of the best places to make things happen.

There are only a few observations I want to share. Being far away from lovely Moscow, I realize how much I love Russian and how open I am open to new things. There are no good or bad places in the world. There are different attitudes to diverse situations. “Each American has a right for freedom, for life and for yearning for happiness.” Those three things are key for this nation. I like mostly the last part of the statement. It explains everything about the country.

Alex Kulik was a student at Kope with English. He visited from Moscow, Russia, and worked at Dow Chemical Company. Kope with English serves the Midland and Mount Pleasant areas. For more informaton, visit koopwithenglish.com