Are you already counting down the days until your feet hit American ground? Studying abroad in the US will be a life-changing experience – and one you will never forget! On top of your academic studies (whether attending an American university or a Washington language school), studying abroad offers opportunities to immerse yourself in American culture.
To make the most out of your time studying in America, here are ten things you must do while you here.
1. Learn the Language
First, you absolutely must use this time to your advantage when it comes to learning English. Students who choose to study English in Washington DC have the chance to live and learn in the capital of the US. In addition to taking an English class in DC, students are surrounded by the rich, vibrant culture of the city where they will have several opportunities to practice speaking English outside of class.
While there are other language schools in DC, the premier Washington language institute, inlingua Washington DC presents students a truly immersive experience where they are advised to not only speak English in their classes, but they are also encouraged to speak English daily and experience all that DC and the United States has to offer.
2. Be a Tourist
During your time in the US, go ahead and play the part of the tourist. Have no shame! This is your chance to visit all the sites you’ve seen in movies or read about in books. Take trips to major attractions like Disney World, the Statue of Liberty, Broadway, Las Vegas, and Hollywood. And, take as many pictures as possible while you are there!
3. See the Natural Attractions
Outside of all the tourist attractions, the United States is also home to several amazing natural attractions. Depending on where you choose to study, you will have your choice of natural attractions. For example, in addition to visiting oceans, lakes, and mountain ranges, you should also plan a trip to see the Grand Canyon. But, there are plenty to choose from, such as Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park, and the Florida Everglades.
4. Celebrate the Holidays
Americans love their holidays, and you should not miss out celebrating all the festive fun. Celebrating holidays with special traditions is an American rite of passage. For example, celebrating America’s Independence Day on the 4th of July always includes a massive fireworks display, whereas Thanksgiving involves a feast of turkey and dressing and time spent with family watching television – or lining up to do some Black Friday Christmas shopping.
5. Explore the National Monuments
America’s national monuments are treasured for a reason, and you should take time to see them in person. Students taking an English class in DC will find this very easy – as many of the country’s national monuments are right outside their doorstep. DC is home to the National Mall, which includes monuments of American presidents and leaders, as well as the Washington Monument. Outside of DC, you can also visit Mount Rushmore, which is home to a giant sculpture carved into the granite of four presidents.
6. Take in a Ballgame
America’s favorite pastime is baseball, and you will have no problem finding a baseball game to watch during the spring or summer. But, Americans are also big fans of football – American football, that is. While you are in the US, plan to attend a major sporting event, such as a major league baseball game or a national football league game. You will gain no better glimpse of American culture than you will watching Americans cheer on their favorite teams.
7. Go on a Road Trip
Americans love to drive. With the exception of major cities, most Americans get to place to place via their personal vehicles. Additionally, the landscape of America is varied. The country is large and traveling from state to state often takes several hours by car. This is an adjustment for those who are used to traveling to other countries by train.
However, going from one state to the next in the US can feel like visiting a foreign country. The culture of states is varied, and you can get a great feel for the culture and people on a road trip.
8. Experience the Arts
Spend some time visiting the museums in the city where you study. For instance, DC is home to several outstanding Smithsonian museums, which you can visit year-round for free. In addition to visiting museums, you should also look for other ways to experience the arts in the US. You might want to check out a concert or attend a music festival. Watch the ballet or see a play. You may be surprised by what you see and hear.
9. Eat the Food
Americans enjoy food – and they eat a lot of it. At first, you may be surprised by the size of the portions and drink sizes. But, you will not run out of food options in the US. Naturally, you are going to want to try to eat some traditional American meals while you are living here. With unlimited food options, you will have to make some tough choices – southern cooking, burgers and hot dogs, or apple pie? We say go ahead and try it all.
But, you should also remember that America is a melting pot. The diversity in America also means you will have the opportunity to try foods from all around the world while living in the US. Go ahead and try something new.
10. Make Friends with the Locals
To get the most out of your time in the US, you should make friends with the locals. Becoming friends with the locals will help when you feel homesick, as well as giving you insider knowledge. For example, you will learn how to speak English like the locals do – complete with slang and colloquialisms. And, you will learn more about the culture and people when you are actually spending time with them.