Have you ever heard of the American dream? Well, I’m living it and it’s as clichéd as you can imagine, and then a little bit more…
I am currently an exchange student at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, also known as the middle of no-where; it’s picture-perfect small-town America. However, don’t let that deter you. I have been able to explore vibrant big cities like Chicago and New York, stroll around cute coastal towns like Cape Cod or Newport and adventure through islands like Puerto Rico and Cuba. I have learned a lot about American culture during these and many other weekend trips, but in particular, I have come to conclude the following top 10 American clichés based on my time spent on campus.
There are SO many American flags. Everywhere. In the front yards, on t-shirts, laptop stickers, key chains, car bumper stickers… Americans love their country and most importantly love to take care of it, making it difficult for anyone else not to love it too! Another good thing about American patriotism is of course Thanksgiving break.
2) College spirit
When I first arrived at UConn, I was shocked by how many students walked around campus dressed head to toes in clothing with our Husky mascot or the word ‘UConn’ on it. It all made sense when I went to my first tailgating before an American college football game though. The feeling of passion and loyalty for UConn was what connected everyone around me. I remember thinking that this infectious “Husky pride” could only made the student body stronger!
3) YELLOW school buses
Yes! The buses that take people to events such as tailgating are the old-yellow vintage school bus you see in movies! How cool is that?!
4) Greek life
I knew sororities and fraternities were a big thing in the US. I imagined all the gamma phi girls sat in the library together next to all the zeta beta tau boys. However, I always thought that the concept of a red-cup frat party was exaggerated in movies. Let me tell you- it is not! Go to some! I assure you it is a very fun experience.
5) Involvement with Politics
Trump becoming president of the US might be one of the most impacting political events in the next few years. What a time to be alive, hey? As Americans are very interested in politics, conversations about politics can sometimes turn into very emotional debates. It is enviably interesting to hear them express their opinions and make initiatives to attend or even start protests.
6) So many choices…
Reciting a coffee order in this country can probably take as long as it takes to make it. Any flavour-swirl? What kind of milk? Iced or hot? Sugar or cream? The same thing happens with food. Sometimes you just need a bit of time to look over the menu.
7) Unhealthy food.
This is probably the most common and true stereotype. There is pizza every single day in most of the dining halls on campus. Otherwise be sure to find mac & cheese, fries or burgers. They even put thick creamy dressings on all salads… oh, how I miss Spanish olive oil and balsamic vinegar! Based on famous dishes from different states, Maine’s delicious lobster roll is the only healthy (ish) staple food I can think of…
8) The roommate
Yep. Nearly everyone living on campus shares a room. It is not really as bad as everyone seems to think. If you get along, chances are you will befriend his or her friends too!
YES. MANY AMERICANS ARE VERY LOUD. You’ll never get used to knowing the drama and gossip of everyone who happens to enter the room.
10) Poor geography
‘Oh my god!! You’re from Spain? That’s so cool!! My uncle went to Italy once…’
Most of the Americans I have met have never left the East Coast, never mind the US at all. Does that count as an excuse for having a pretty poor geographical knowledge? I mean… I have been asked a few times if I was born in the capital city of Spain: Rome.