I am Triwik, a summer intern at VOA Learning English. Living in the United States has been an exciting period of my life. As a student at Ohio University, I have been introduced to many interesting parts of American culture. Here are a few!
Before I arrived in the U.S. in July 2014, I knew about Halloween from TV and the Internet. Athens, Ohio (where I study), is known as one of the scariest places in the United States. Many visitors come to Athens to celebrate Halloween. So, I felt lucky to be in Athens for the holiday.
Last year before Halloween, some student organizations on campus held events like pumpkin carving and painting. You need to remove the pumpkin seeds before carving the pumpkin.
On the day of Halloween, the city of Athens blocked the main street for the event. Last year, I dressed up as a Japanese horror character called Ju-on. I used white face powder, eyeliner, dark eye shadow and red lipstick to paint my face. For the costume, I wore a white scarf to cover my head and arms. My face painting successfully scared many people!
Thanksgiving & Black Friday
Last year, I got the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with an American family in New Jersey. I even helped them preparing the food. We had the traditional Thanksgiving dishes like roasted Turkey, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole. I felt right at home, as the family was nice and warm.
The celebration continued when the family took me shopping on Black Friday. Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving. On this day, big stores offer major discounts. People rely on these discounts to buy gifts for the upcoming Christmas holiday.
On Black Friday, we all woke up at around 4 a.m. and packed breakfast and lunch before driving to a mall in Philadelphia. We were on the road by 5 a.m., and shopped for whole day!
Fourth of July Celebration
This summer, I was lucky to be in Washington D.C. to see the Independence Day celebration on the July 4th. The celebration started with a parade along the Constitution Avenue, followed by a free concert in the National Mall area and fireworks show around the Washington Monument.
American Football Games
I have watched American football games on TV before. But I wanted to experience the real games at the stadium. I went to my first American football game last summer at Ohio University. An American friend was kind enough to explain the rules of the game.
After watching the game, I still could not understand why Americans call this game “football.” The players only kick the ball a few times during the game, not the whole time like the European football. It should instead be called handball!
Most Indonesians, including myself, like singing karaoke — an activity in which people sing the words of the song. We have many karaoke places. We can reserve our own room – small, medium or large, choose our songs and sing in front of our friends.
It is different here in the U.S. When some friends took me for a karaoke, I thought that it was a karaoke like the one in Indonesia. But it was not. It was a karaoke bar. We requested a song to the disc jockey or DJ – a person who plays the songs. We had to sing in front of everybody. At the beginning, it was awkward singing in public. But it was fun.
The parties in the U.S. are very different than those of in Indonesia. Back home, the host will serve all the food and drinks and the guests will sit in the living room. The host usually does not permit the guests to be in the kitchen.
In the U.S., it is usually a potluck party in which the guests bring food or drinks to share. The guests are usually allowed to be in the kitchen and free to get food and drinks. I feel that parties in the U.S. are more relaxed and less formal because the guests don’t have to sit all the time!
*Do you have any questions about American culture for me? I will try to answer them! Leave us a comment below
Words in This Story
carving – v. to make something by cutting off pieces of the material
costume – n. the clothes worn by someone to look like a different person
scarf – n. a long cloth worn around the neck or shoulders
scared – v. to cause fear
right at home – expression. feeling as if one belongs; feeling accepted.
packed – v. to put something in a bag
bar – n. a place that serves alcoholic drinks
awkward – adj. not easy to deal with