Living and Teaching English in the USA - Habits, Customs & Curiosities
The United States of America is a vast country with impressive natural landscapes and vibrant cities, with each of the 50 states offering something different in terms of attractions, culture and local cuisine.
You might be surprised to know that the USA is also a great place to work in the field of English language teaching.
The following guides provide a great insight into many aspects of life in the USA, such as the best places to visit, local history and cuisine, and the best road trips you can take across the country.
Due to the huge size of the country and the diverse nature of its 50 states, visitors to the USA can expect to find a truly vast range of climates, attractions, cultures, and cuisine depending on where they choose to spend their time.
To avoid it becoming a daily hassle that threatens to ruin your stay, simply follow the basic rules stated here.
However, there are a few basic travel tips that are useful to know no matter where you are heading. For many foreign visitors the art of tipping is a source of great anxiety.
You will also find some general tips on greetings and etiquette, as well as some suggestions of traditional food that you might want to try.
Known throughout the world as the home of countless iconic buildings, monuments and other attractions, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, New York City really needs no introduction.
Here you will find a few do’s and don’ts that might make your first visit a little easier, from how to get around by metro, taxi or on foot, to some lesser known attractions to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.
Over 60 million people a year travel to ‘The City That Never Sleeps’ to enjoy its many diverse sights, but for first-time visitors the size and pace of New York can be overwhelming.
The USA is famously made up of 50 individual states whose names are familiar to people all over the world thanks to decades of movies, TV shows, books, and music.
Here you will find an interesting break down of the origin of all the 50 state’s names, plus a few other fascinating facts you probably didn’t know that you wanted to know.
Although state names such as California, Florida, Texas, and New York are well-known to millions of people worldwide, how many people actually know where the names came from?
For many Americans, and millions of visitors from all over the world, the best way to see some of the US’s most popular sights and to experience the real country and its people is a road trip.
Route 66 needs no introduction as it has been popular with travelers, film makers and musicians for decades.
There are several other popular routes shown which mainly run between the East and West Coast with suggestions on the best time of year to set off so you can avoid any extremes of weather.
This guide gives a break down of the most popular routes with suggestions about what to see along the way.
It runs between Chicago and Los Angeles and takes in some of America’s most stunning natural landscapes, including the Grand Canyon National Park.
As the USA is a huge country with a population that comes from many different backgrounds across the world, there are a wide range of influences that have shaped the nation’s cuisine.
‘Soul Food’ which dates back to the transatlantic slave trade, includes dishes such as black-eyed peas, pig’s feet, grits, and moon pie.
One of the most well-known regional culinary styles can be found in the Southern United States, an area that covers 16 individual states including Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Elsewhere across the South you will find many other local specialties to sample including barbecued chicken, corn bread, pulled pork, and fried catfish.
Independence Day is one of the most important and widely celebrated national holidays in the US which sees millions of people across the country coming together to enjoy public parades, firework displays, barbeques, carnivals, and sporting events.
Celebrations on the day often involve displays of patriotism including flying the US flag outside private homes and the wearing of flag themed clothes and hats.
The holiday takes place on the 4th of July every year to mark the Declaration of Independence from British rule in 1776.
For many people it is a great opportunity for family reunions and small get-togethers, while others prefer the huge public celebrations that are laid on in towns and cities across the nation.
People coming to America to work, study or simply for a holiday could be forgiven for thinking that English is the one and only language used to any significant degree throughout the country.
Spanish is actually the main language of around 12% of the population which adds up to 35 million native speakers across the 50 states.
However, there are actually no less than 300 languages in use including several that are spoken by over a million people such as Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Certain areas of the US are also home to significant populations of German, French and Tagalog (Filipino) speakers, as well as various Native American languages.
For many visitors to the USA, New York City is not just their port of entry but it is also one of the highlights of their stay.
This brief guide provides an introduction to the neighborhoods of Manhattan which occupies a 12 mile by 3 mile patch of real estate right in the heart of the city.
The city is a vibrant melting pot of different cultures which ensures there really is something to appeal to everyone at anytime of the day or night.
From the jazz clubs and soul food of Harlem in the north to the hustle and bustle of Wall Street in the south, there is no shortage of things to see and do.
Chicago is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and a very popular destination for visitors from across the country and overseas.
The Navy Pier is the most popular tourist destination in the region encompassing over 50 acres of shops, restaurants, gardens, theaters, museums and other attractions.
Here you will find 7 public beaches, extensive sports facilities, walking and cycling trails, the Chicago History Museum, and a large zoo that offers free admission.
Whether you are only in town for the weekend or have a longer stay planned, this guide should provide a few good ideas about what to do during your stay.
Lincoln Park is another hugely popular attraction that stretches for 7 miles along the shores of Lake Michigan.
The guide also covers a range of other attractions that should appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.
New Orleans is a unique and popular city destination located on the banks of the Mississippi River in the far south of the country.
Although most famous for its annual Mardi Gras celebrations, the city has plenty more to offer throughout the year.
If you happen to be in town over the Christmas period you can also join the caroling in Jackson Square and the traditional bonfire lighting on Christmas Eve.
Famed for its eclectic mix of architectural styles, distinctive cuisine, love of jazz music, and a wide array of carnivals and festivals, New Orleans is a must-see for many visitors to the US.
Depending on the calendar you can enjoy food festivals, music festivals and literary festivals, and even Bastille Day celebrations when the city honors its French colonial past.
Often referred to as the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, Las Vegas is unsurprisingly a major draw for visitors from right across the world.
Thankfully, this guide offers a few basic tips for reducing your expenditure and getting the most bang for your buck.
You should also take advantage of the many free attractions available in the city, as well as the budget saving 'all you can eat' buffets named here.
Unfortunately, the city’s huge array of entertainment options from casinos and 5-star resorts, to music concerts and endless shopping can all add up to a very expensive visit if you do not do your homework.
Planning to avoid the peak seasons during the year can really make a huge difference, as can arriving mid-week rather than at the weekends.
The Grand Canyon National Park attracts in excess of 5 million visitors a year making it one of the world’s most popular natural attractions.
The park can be visited at any time of the year, just be sure to check the local weather before setting off to avoid extreme heat during the summer months and snowfall during the winter.
Apart from simply enjoying the breathtaking views from the canyon’s edge, visitors can explore the area via a range of exciting options, such as the Grand Canyon Railway, helicopter tours, jeep tours, river rafting, mule rides, or old school hiking.
While in the area why not check out some other great attractions such as Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, the Hoover Dam, or the bright lights of Las Vegas?
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