Cultural tips: living in the U.S.

  • In business life, Americans are usually much more informal and are more inclined to use first names than people of other nationalities. If, upon meeting you, someone says “Hi there, Jim.” or “How are you, Mary?” please do not think they are rude. They are trying to be friendly, and one way Americans show this is by using your first name.
  • In most offices in the United States, it is the usual practice for individuals to keep the doors of their offices open except when they have visitors, meetings are taking place or they are working on confidential matters.
  • Please remember that Americans count floors in buildings in a different way: they start with the first floor, then second floor, third floor… (in Europe for example: ground floor, first floor, second floor…).
  • Especially when you sign a contract or set up a meeting, remember that Americans write the date in a different way: month/day/year instead of day/month/year.
  • When you have to fill out paperwork, be aware that Americans write numbers in a different way.
  • Americans do not regularly identify themselves when answering the telephone or when asking to speak to a certain person.