When in America ...


"Hey, how's going?","What's up?", How's life treating ya?" are a few of the seemingly innumerable ways that Americans greet each other. A few days after passing through the immigration gates in America for the very first time, I realized that this country is obsessed with greeting people cheerfully! By no means am I implying that the country I come from are full of snobbish , serious people who do not greet each other, but then again never in India will you find a stranger ,for example a police officer, even remotely interested about how college life is treating you.
So cheerful were some of the greetings, that I couldn't help feeling a little alarmed in such situations. Ironic isn't it, being intimidated by someone being friendly ?I got into the habit of spending a few seconds preparing myself for the "greeting", during which I would compose a few sentences to respond to the greeting. But even then I would embarrassingly stumble at various moments, moments where I did not expect a greeting, moments where I did not hear a greeting or even worse, when I would not know what the greeting meant at all !You see, this problem is usually not experienced in countries like India, where greetings between strangers are limited to a hi, hello or namste- so the response to every single greeting would essentially be the same .

As you may have noticed, I have written the majority of the above paragraph in past tense and so as you may have guessed, I no longer have problems with greeting people. Though it is true that I have gotten used to it, there are other aspects of American culture that still puzzle me, and that I still have to get used to. You'll too, as future International students, will face many such issues, but it is all a great experience that will shape you into becoming a more well-rounded individual. I haven't written about how to address these issues, because based on my learning in America , I know that experience and time are the best way to overcome these challenges. The thought of studying in another country can be very intimidating, but I have learned as have majority of other international students, that once you get here and get used to the American way of life, which you definitely will, college life in America is a lot of fun!!!


Tarun. Thanks for writing about this, this is a really important topic to cover. I, too, was very confused by the American way of greeting when I first came here and didn't know that such things as small-talk existed which is something that is not very common in Germany. I laughed when I read that you tried to prepare answers that you could use as answers for the greeting, as I did the exact same thing. I agree that as time moves on, you adjust and eventually adapt the American way of greeting. Good job, Tarun.

I also want to share my views on this as it is the best option for all of us if we work on the advice of the author of this article. It will be beneficial for us.

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This page contains a single entry by Tarun Nambiar published on November 8, 2012 12:08 AM.

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