There will be times in your postgraduate life where you may consider the option of studying abroad in the United States. To be sure, such an experience can provide you with a wealth of opportunities that can prove to be absolutely pivotal in shaping your future decisions. However, you may have a bit of anxiety as far as what to expect when taking the hop across the pond. In truth, America is not nearly as far as away as it appears on a map. Still, there are a few tips that will help you acclimate to the states that are easy to follow and can help you truly embrace what the country has to offer.
Learn the Lingo
While the American language may be the butt of certain English humour, it is still important to learn some of the basic phrases. For instance, the term "university" will often be substituted for "college". You do not take a holiday, you go on a vacation. The term mate will be replaced with buddy, pal or simply friend. Depending on where you decide to study, the dialect may be a bit tricky to pick up at first (think of Joey Tribiani from the sitcom Friends ). Just remember to give yourself some time to adjust and things will be fine.
See the Sights
The truth of the matter is that studying abroad will give you the chance to see some truly unforgettable sights that are specific to the United States and nowhere else in the world. The cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami are but a few of the most popular destinations. Even the more rural areas will offer you a truly breathtaking and unforgettable visual experience. So, do not be afraid to take a walk and see what is around. Even better, pair up with an American and ask him or her to show you the local attractions. Not only will you learn about your new home, but you will most likely make a friend as well. Finally, do not forget to ask your friend to recommend some truly American dishes such as New York-style hot dog or barbecued spare ribs!
Age Means Little
There may be some postgraduate students that feel they are "too old" to attempt such a venture. Even if you have decided to return to your studies after a hiatus , nothing could be further from the truth. In the United States, age means little at university. There are now more older students pursuing their academic careers than ever before and even if you opt to live on campus, you will not be considered "ancient" by any means. Just avoid buying younger students alcohol, for the legal drinking age in most states is still twenty-one.
Never forget that many postgraduate students who decide to study abroad in the United States can find lucrative job opportunities. However, these options will not find you if you hunker down in a local pub (or bar, as the natives call it). Instead, seek to make acquaintances with those who not only share your similar interests but also with professors and truly anyone who has connections. Now, this is not to say that you should be utilitarian; rather, do not be afraid to branch out and see what possibilities may be just around the next corner. After all, you may never get another chance if you return to England after you complete your degree.
These are but a handful of some of the easiest ways to acclimate yourself to the United States should you take the plunge into the "Yankee" culture. You may be surprised to find out how much you have in common with the Americans and you will most likely love what you have discovered.