THRIVING IN THE USA: Tips for Latin American Students (pt. 5)

Hello, amigos! Where my Latinos at? 😝

I’m bringing some thriving tips for ✨ Latin American ✨ students! As a Brazilian, I thought about the main cultural differences between Latin Americans and North Americans, in addition to asking my friend, Fabiola Jara from Chile, to share some of her tips and personal stories.

Fabi is well known to Latin American students at OSU. She hangs out with them and serves as a part of her work with IFI. We hope you like today’s content!

Vamos lá!

My friend Chameleon just said “Let’s go!” in Portuguese, which is the Language spoken in Brazil! 😁🤙

1. Be aware of greeting styles 🤝

Americans value their personal space, giving them a more discreet, reserved, and individualistic approach to greetings. They usually use restrained gestures for strangers and acquaintances, like a wave from afar or handshakes, while hugs and kisses are reserved for those who are closest and most intimate.

2. Be aware of communication styles 🗣️

Americans speak directly and may seem impolite to Latin Americans, who have an indirect form of communication, generally used not to offend people. Therefore, don’t be alarmed or offended by the American way of communication.

🇧🇷 Mariana here 🇧🇷 with a personal example:

I remember the first time I was exposed to direct communication here in the States. A friend of mine gave her honest opinion about my living situation, which totally shocked me because of how direct it sounded and how unfamiliar I was with this form of communication. However, I realized this was her way of communicating and that she wanted my best. Nowadays, I even prefer this style of communication because I understand what the person means and there’s little room for misinterpretation.

3. Be direct 🎯

If you need some help, say ‘yes’ the first time assistance is offered. Remember Americans are direct, so if you say no, they’re going to assume you don’t need help and won’t offer it again.

4. Be punctual ⏱️

Most Americans are task-oriented and punctual. If they invite you to do something together, let’s say at 5 pm, they mean at 5 pm, on the dot! Sometimes, events will even have a clear start and end time. So, if you have any American appointments, make sure to arrive on time and respect the time allocated for them. 

5. Be aware of American behavior for meals 🥗

When you’re invited to an American home for a meal, you may encounter one of two serving styles: 

1) Everyone is seated at the table and the dishes of food are in the middle of the table. The host may offer a prayer, then take the dishes one by one and pass them around to the guests, who take what they want and pass the dish on. 

2) The food is set out on a serving table/counter and guests self-serve like you would at a buffet. 

As you can see, these tips are more related to life off campus and don’t include tips revolving around academia. That’s because we aren’t students and we don’t have that experience. Nonetheless, we hope you take something away from this post! In the future, I’d like to add more tips aimed at Latin American students and academic life. 

That’s why I’d like to ask you for ajuda/ayuda (help in Portuguese & Spanish), my dear Latin American friends. Do you have any tips for students?

Please share in the comment section below!

Hasta luego! 👋

Now he said “See you soon” in Spanish! This mascot is crazy! 😆

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