America For Beginners

Bringing American culture closer to new immigrants

Local Festival Celebrating Puerto Rican Culture

Learn more about this most wonderful cultural event here and here. Advertisements

Featured · Leave a comment

[Book Review] The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker

The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker, published in 1989, is a sequel to The Color Purple (1982). The narrative is complex and multilayered. The six central characters coincide … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

Inspired By Puerto Rico

* My drawings inpired by Las Casas de la Selva , an amazing Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment Project in Patillas, PR.

Featured · 2 Comments

[Event] Firoozeh Dumas On Education, Open-Mindedness and Being a Humorous Middle Easterner

Every single person has at least one good story to share, so make sure you talk to one another, a best-selling Iranian-American author told a diverse audience of Bunker Hill … Continue reading

Featured · 1 Comment

Interview with Jean Kwok, Author of Girl in Translation

I’ve been a fan of Jean Kwok’s debut novel Girl In Translation for years and back in 2011 reviewed it on this blog. This year I got really lucky. Despite … Continue reading

Featured · 4 Comments

On Code-Switching, Entitlement, And Whether Your Language Helps You Save Money

Fascinating news that you might have missed! *National Public Radio has started a new blog on race.  Named  “Code Switch“, the blog attempts to “explore the effects of the country’s shift … Continue reading

April 15, 2013 · 2 Comments

[Quote of the Month] Alice Walker

March 15, 2013 · Leave a comment

[Poll] Is the American Dream Still Alive?

Inspired by: Death of a Yuppie Dream 

February 26, 2013 · 1 Comment

Gun-Obsessed Language

Our gun-obsessed language reveals much about us, By Joe Lurie: As I watch left- and right-wing politicians and pundits “up in arms” on TV, battling in a “crossfire” of blame, … Continue reading

February 1, 2013 · 2 Comments

BBC: Undocumented immigrant’s plea to Obama: ‘Don’t forget the dreamers’

Undocumented immigrant’s plea to Obama: ‘Don’t forget the dreamers’ tells the story of Victor, a “dreamer” from Alabama who is hoping for a comprehensive immigration reform. If you have a few … Continue reading

January 21, 2013 · 3 Comments

Roundup of Interesting Links: Marie Curie, Rangoli, High Culture, and More.

  Marie Curie’s notebooks are still radioactive! More here. Latin American Cultural Differences. An exceptionally informative survey report. Rangoli – colourful Indian chalk paintings and their cultural meaning. + Beautiful pictures … Continue reading

January 14, 2013 · Leave a comment

Losing A Family Member While Abroad

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you … Continue reading

January 11, 2013 · Leave a comment

[Quote of the Month] What Language Do You Love In?

“That poet she met at Lucinda’s party the night before argued that no matter how much of it one lost, in the midst of some profound emotion, one would revert … Continue reading

December 26, 2012 · 1 Comment

Complexity of Diversity. American Portraits by Michael Clinton. [Book Review]

We often talk about the changing face of America caused by the demographic shift. What we don’t notice is that it has already changed. Or, to be more factually correct, … Continue reading

December 22, 2012 · 1 Comment

How Much Wait Time Can We Handle?

An excellent article full of insights into the  frustration of waiting in line. Why here? Because Dr. Gerald Stein talks about something all of us have to deal with: waiting … Continue reading

December 19, 2012 · 1 Comment

On Winners and Losers

I really don’t like the word “loser”. It sounds very condescending and judgmental.  Whenever I hear someone calling another person a loser, I automatically feel like taking that “loser’s” side.  What … Continue reading

October 10, 2012 · 4 Comments

Movies About American Culture

A little disclaimer: most movies produced in the US or by American directors will reflect American culture by definition. Some more than others. So, in order to get the entire … Continue reading

September 1, 2012 · Leave a comment

[Guest Post] American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard. Book Review by Dr. George Simons

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard  Viking Books (2011) ISBN-10: 0670022969, ISBN-13: 978-0670022960 Reviewed by Dr. George Simons at Given that … Continue reading

August 11, 2012 · 2 Comments

[Poll] What Country Should US Immigrants Root For at the Olympics?

Inspired by a former coworker of mine who said, “If you live in the US and don’t support the US team, you should get the f**k out of this country!”

August 4, 2012 · 3 Comments

Top Ten Tips for Immigrants to Climb the Career Ladder

Do more than expected.  And you’ll get more than you could ever expect. Learn to give feedback.  Giving feedback and voicing your opinion are so essential to a work process … Continue reading

July 31, 2012 · 1 Comment

A Roundup of Interesting Links

An infographic illustrates the Not Your Parents’ American Dream  Ron VanPeursem from Culture Happens talks about the meaning of trash and ethnocentrism Robert Peake shares his culture shock experience  and explains what … Continue reading

July 23, 2012 · 2 Comments

[Difference of the Week] Let’s Call It European

I’ve noticed that many Russian places in the US (stores, restaurants) prefer to call themselves European or International, even though their products are straight-up Russian and can be generalized as … Continue reading

July 14, 2012 · 2 Comments

How English Affects My Native Language

Learning a foreign language is always affected by your mother tongue. Depending on how close the two languages are, the process gets easier (Russian-Polish, English-German, French-Spanish, etc.) or more challenging … Continue reading

July 9, 2012 · 6 Comments

[Interview] Cultural Assimilation in America: A Brazilian Perspective

I’ve been talking a lot about cultural assimilation of immigrants in the US.  I’ve been reading books, thinking about values, exploring differences between cultures, and, most importantly,  listening to people … Continue reading

July 3, 2012 · Leave a comment

Email Management & Customer Service in the US vs Russia

While going through the process of cleaning out my e-mail inbox, which translates into deleting or unsubscribing  from  junk mail, I noticed a peculiar intercultural difference. The  process of politely … Continue reading

June 23, 2012 · Leave a comment

[Quote of the Month] When I Lose Focus…

…when I lose focus, I come here to remind myself of the importance of life…the importance of endurance in this life…and the unwillingness to bend…to other people’s destinies… — at … Continue reading

May 2, 2012 · Leave a comment

4 Things Most Americans Agree On

According to a recent NPR article (“A Nation Divided: Can We Agree On Anything?” by Linton Weeks), the American nation is torn between opposite views on absolutely everything: political parties, … Continue reading

February 29, 2012 · 2 Comments

[Quote of the Month] Achievements by Leon Tuam

Achievements Some folks walk to achievements while They are under a shower of encouragements. Others become historical after They’ve been deeply belittled. From the day I heard some tongues say … Continue reading

February 14, 2012 · Leave a comment

Time Perception in American Culture

In a world where time cannot be measured, there are no clocks, no calendars, no definite appointments. Events are triggered by other events, not by time. A house is begun … Continue reading

January 30, 2012 · 1 Comment

[Thoughts] The Office. The Worst Diversity Day Ever

Enjoy the highlights!

January 8, 2012 · 3 Comments

ABC’s of Assimilation in the USA. Not that Simple

Person A has been living in the US for 16 years. His English is perfect; he has a good job and has long ago figured out how to succeed in … Continue reading

November 29, 2011 · 3 Comments

The Opportunity Cost of Assimilation

In a perfect world people can adapt to a new culture remaining true to their original cultural values. They maintain that perfect balance between old and new, and, in a … Continue reading

October 1, 2011 · 3 Comments

10 Reasons Why Micromanagement Doesn’t Work in The USA

Micromanagement has gained a really bad reputation over the past ten years. In business management, micromanagement is a management style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of … Continue reading

August 29, 2011 · 4 Comments

[Book Review] Girl in Translation. Jean Kwok.

What is it about? The story is about a young girl, Kimberly Chang, who emigrates from Hong Kong to New York City. She and her mother (who doesn’t speak any … Continue reading

August 1, 2011 · 6 Comments

The Curse of a Foreign Accent

Having an accent has always been an issue for non-native speakers. That’s the detail that gives you away even if you are fluent and flawless in terms of grammar and … Continue reading

July 21, 2011 · 6 Comments

[Thoughts] Does My Dog Speak English?

I have a question. It’s not a question in the full sense of the word  but rather some loud thinking. My roommates are American and so are their pets. So, … Continue reading

July 11, 2011 · 1 Comment

Jose Antonio Vargas. A Hero or a Villain of Illegal Immigration?

In a June 2011 New York Times Magazine essay Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, came out as an undocumented immigrant. He revealed coming to the US at the … Continue reading

July 2, 2011 · 3 Comments

Can’t Stop Blogging. American Culture Rocks Blog Demographics.

Your blog is what you say when there is nobody standing over your shoulder telling you what to do.  Lorelle V Fossen In June 2010, Sysomos released a report that … Continue reading

June 22, 2011 · 2 Comments

[Video Review] Is American Culture Full of Stereotypes?

Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some … Continue reading

June 13, 2011 · 2 Comments

[Difference of the Week] United Backpacks of America

Backpacks are no longer school/sports accessories and Americans are on top of the trend. No sarcasm implied.  Backpacks are great and absolutely indispensable. An average backpack contains: water bottle workout … Continue reading

May 12, 2011 · Leave a comment

[Book Review] The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille. Enjoy Responsibly.

In a nutshell Clotaire Rapaille wrote a fascinating book about understanding cultures in the context of marketing. Claimed as a guide  to people’s mindsets The Culture Code explains why we … Continue reading

April 25, 2011 · Leave a comment

[Thoughts] How to Handle Homesickness

I am not homesick. I am not homesick. I am not homesick. Sounds like a mantra and maybe it works like one sometimes. Surprisingly enough , I don’t miss being … Continue reading

April 19, 2011 · 1 Comment

[Difference of the Week] America Runs on Diet or Why Do Americans Drink Diet Soda?

This difference of the week article is going to be a little more than just a short note. I’m going to talk about diet coke and this topic is serious, … Continue reading

April 12, 2011 · 4 Comments

[Interview] Successful Cultural Assimilation in America

Cultural assimilation is a mysterious process. You think that you know everything there is to know but now and then you still feel foreign. No matter how many books you’ve … Continue reading

March 31, 2011 · Leave a comment

[Difference of the Week] Drinking Games in America

Drinking games are extremely popular in America. The variety of paper and online resources à la “best American drinking games”, etc. is the best proof to it. Let us take … Continue reading

March 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

[Difference of the Week] Acronyms in American Vocabulary

I bet acronyms and abbreviations represent the fastest-growing segment of American vocabulary. They are everywhere, from professional jargon to slang, and there seems to be no no end to it. … Continue reading

March 14, 2011 · 3 Comments

[Guest Story] Pleasures and Pitfalls of Dating an American Guy

Time to get really excited because I have a wonderful person to introduce! Sveta Bazhenova is a linguist, an experienced traveler and a really smart girl eager to share her … Continue reading

March 8, 2011 · 4 Comments

[Difference of the Week] What Shoes to Wear in Winter?

You can wear any kind of footwear. Don’t even bother to check the temperature outside. Nobody does. Seriously, I’ve seen it all: flip-flops, sneakers, construction boots, uggs, flats, knee high … Continue reading

March 4, 2011 · 3 Comments

[Difference of the Week] Door Holding Etiquette

Holding doors for fellow commuters is such a nice habit! I can’t stop admiring it!

February 25, 2011 · 1 Comment

[Difference of the Week] Best American Hangover Cure

Why do people drink Bloody Mary on Saturday and Sunday mornings? Oh!  It’s considered the best hangover cure… I didn’t know that!

February 18, 2011 · 1 Comment

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 212 other followers