Course Outcomes

This course on American culture will:

  • Provide participants with an overview of American business customs.
  • Explain workplace norms in the United States.
  • Offer an overview of American slang and common idioms.
  • Give basic information concerning off-hours activities: shopping, banking, safety, networking, and so forth.

Course Overview

The culture shock of working in a new country is never easy, and the United States is no different. It’s big, diverse, and potentially overwhelming. This crash course in American culture is designed to ease the transition and prepare participants for living and working in the United States. The program is suited to companies, government groups, and educational institutions that routinely host international employees. The workshop is an ideal complement to basic relocation services.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Describe American business culture and many of the subcultures found in the United States.
  • Explain American business norms.
  • Describe common practices related to personal space, time, and formality.
  • Understand a range of American idioms and slang.
  • Explain how Americans view eating as a component of business and demonstrate proper dining etiquette.
  • Avoid taboo topics in the workplace.
  • Successfully navigate the world outside the office.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

From Sea to Shining Sea: An Overview of Business in the United States

This program opens with a quick review of the geographic regions of the United States and the cultures associated with each. Participants will learn about national norms and regional variations in business customs, language, food, dress, and recreational interests. During this discussion, group members will begin to understand what distinguishes one region from another and how to survive in any of them.

Smooth Transition: Meeting Expectations at Work

This part of the program explores business norms and acceptable workplace behavior. Through a range of activities, we will look at basic telephone etiquette, professional email practices, office conduct, personal grooming conventions, and taboo subjects best avoided in the workplace.

Another Time, Another Space: Understanding Promptness and Personal Space

In this course component, participants will practice “reading” American body language as a way of enhancing their understanding of verbal communication. We will also discuss expectations related to time, personal space, and formality. 

There’s English and Then There’s American English: An Introduction to U.S. Usage

Textbook English is not typical conversational American English, and for participants who have learned British English, what they have studied will not always square with what they hear in the United States. This part of the program covers commonly used American idioms and slang expressions that are not routinely taught in formal academic settings. 

Let’s Eat: Business Socializing and Dining in the United States

In this workshop segment, participants will explore the basics of American business entertaining and dining. From table settings to table manners and company picnics to corporate cocktail parties, participants will learn how to scale the slippery slope of business networking and entertaining functions. 

Getting Along: Surviving After Hours

The final part of this program looks at navigating the world outside the office. We’ll discuss a range of topics: shopping, banking, driving, safety, and skills for developing a strong personal network.

At the conclusion of their workshop, participants will have an understanding of American culture, especially as it pertains to business behavior and expectations.