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Familiarization of International Students with the American Culture
While moving to the United States to receive education, the international students must be informed in some aspects of the life there. So, what should you know about American culture?

Calendar dates
Americans write dates in the following order: month, day and year.

Forms of address
The person is addressed in his/her title when somebody wants to show the respect. The titles embrace such forms: “Dr.” for both a medical doctor and a scholar with a PhD, “Mr.” (pronounced “mister”) for men, “Mrs.”(“missus”) for married women and “Miss” for unmarried women. Moreover, if you are unsure of a woman’s marital status, use “Ms” (“miz”).    

The American grades are denoted by letters – from A (the best) to F (the worst). Additionally, the teachers may put a “plus” or “minus” after the letter grade. In such a way an A+ is better than simply A. Grades and percentages generally follow the chart below.
A : 90 to 100 percent correct
B : 80 to 89
C: 70 to 79
D: 60 to 69
F: below 60

Grade point average
Grade point averages, or GPAs, are calculated on a four-point scale.
A = 4
B = 3
C = 2
D = 1
F = 0

American greetings and small talk
Usually, the people of the United States greet each other with such words as  a “hi” or “hello” along with a short question, such as “How are you?”. The response will be the next – “Good. How are you?”. An answer must not be long comprising only few words.
And what's about small talk? It is the phrase used to describe the conversation between two people who don’t know each other very well. The most common topics for conversation embrace the weather and classes. But, it is not recommended to talk about religion, politics and other controversial subjects.  

Usually, the Americans shake hands when meeting for business and at the and of the meeting. But, it must not be very tight, just firm. Moreover, handshakes are not appropriate for young people (only in some cases in formal situations).

The international students may be acquainted with the following nationally-celebrated holidays:
New Year’s Day (Jan. 1)
Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November)
Christmas (December 25)

However, the university (or other educational institution) may not be closed on the next holidays:
Martin Luther King, Jr Day (third Monday in January)
Presidents Day (third Monday in February)
Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
Veterans Day (November 11)
Few people receive time off for the following holidays:
Easter (a Sunday in March or April)
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
Halloween (October 31)
Election Day (first Tuesday after the first Monday in November)

The meals is offered three times per day: breakfast, lunch and supper. The breakfast is served in the morning before school. The lunch is eaten between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Some people on Sundays combine breakfast and lunch and eat “brunch” (in the late morning or early afternoon). Being the largest meal of the day, the supper is generally served between 5 and 8 p.m. Additionally, the students may have meals in the university/college cafeterias, which are generally open during a particular hours every day.

In some cities of the United States the smoking is forbidden in places of the common use. Moreover, some cities also prohibit smoking outdoors within certain distances of buildings. Therefore, when you want to smoke, just ask somebody if it is permitted there.

The telephone answering sounds like “Hello, this is John” or simply “Hello.” The person who is calling will likely respond with, “Hello, is (Jane) there?” or “Can I speak with (Jane)?”
Furthermore, you should know that American telephone numbers are 10 digits, where first three numbers are called the “area code” (indicate from what part of the country the caller is located).

To calculate temperatures, the Americans use the Fahrenheit scale. In such case the water freezes at 32 degrees. And for converting Fahrenheit temperatures into Celsius, subtract 32 from the temperature and multiply the result by 5/9.  

Americans are punctual. It means that classes there start at time and the bell marks the beginning and end of the class. Therefore, if you are invited for meeting, be no more than five minutes early.

Tome Zones  
The continental United States embrace four time zones: the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones (from east to west). Thus, the Eastern time zone is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time and the Pacific time zone is eight hours behind.

It is peculiar to Americans to give waiters and waitresses in restaurants tips. Generally, they leave  between 15 percent and 20 percent of their total bill. You should know that tips are left in two ways. The first – when you exit the restaurant; the second – to fill out the special “tip” line on the receipt to tell the server how much to charge you (when you pay by credit card).

The weather is changed in accordance of your location, the season and the time of day. In general, the southern part of the US is extremely hot in the summer. Northern states in the midwestern and northeastern parts of the country can be exceedingly cold in the winter and have more moderate temperatures in summer.