Foreign Interview Term Paper

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Foreign Interview: Ellen, Age 27

Please describe the expectations you had of the U.S. before you left your country. Specifically, what did you expect to find here in terms of the people, the culture, and the lifestyle of the United States?

A grew up watching American movies, and loving American music and television programs. I always had an idea that America was much more fast-paced than Scotland, where I spent most of my childhood, and even more fast-paced than London, where I got my degree and had my first paying job. At times, people have told me that I'm very strong-willed and I always wondered if I was 'really' American deep down inside and if someone with my personality would get along better in the States. Things seemed very glamorous in America, like the life of Sarah Jessica Parker in "Sex and the City."

Question

What were some of the things that you most looking forward to prior to coming to the U.S. (E.g. seeing or experiencing something).

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New York City of course! This will sound silly but I also always fancied myself like Audrey Hepburn, having breakfast at Tiffany's, looking very posh and put together after a night on the town. I was quite disappointed on arriving to find out that Tiffany's was just a jewelry store and there was no place at Tiffany's where one could actually eat. The idea of being on the cutting edge of American culture in general was exciting -- seeing the movies first, wearing the fashions. I also thought the weather would be better than in England, which it's not -- not horrible, but not perfect either. Nothing is ever quite as perfect as you dream it to be, of course, in general. Remember that I was dreaming all of these things when I was still in my (late) teens -- I moved to America when I was 23.

Question

Were you anxious or nervous about anything at all before you came to the U.S. What?

Term Paper on Foreign Interview Assignment

Being able to afford things -- although, ironically the United States is much cheaper than London in some respects (flats cost a fortune there, highest rents in the world I think). Not that New York isn't still quite pricy. The crime, and the idea that guns were available to people very easily was a bit frightening, although more so for my family back at home. Even recently, my mum called me after the news of the sniper at Virginia Tech to see if I was alright. it's not like where I live is within shooting distance of the school, exactly. Still, I do worry about being mugged or being a victim, when I'm walking around in big American cities, always fancying someone might be armed if I'm in a bad area.

Question

What aspect of the U.S. culture most surprised you?

I think the fact that everyone was so friendly in New York, where I got my first job. I expected people to be harsh and sarcastic at first. But everyone was very helpful, when I was asking for directions after getting turned around on the subway, for instance, or even asking for advice like the best place to buy things. I think it's nice that people are opinionated and willing to express themselves directly -- in England people tend to try to smooth things over and go along with what everyone else in the group is saying. Some places in London can be very cold, if you don't speak the right way, or wear the right clothes.

Question

What aspect were you least comfortable with? (People, situations etc.)

The materialism, to some extent. Everyone seems so well-dressed wherever I go, and so label and status conscious. Of course, there are people like that in England too. But here, sometimes it seems like every woman is gorgeous and has just walked out of the pages of a fashion magazine! When I first came, I was a bit uncomfortable sounding different from everyone else, but people seemed to like my accent and actually, it became a way of starting up conversations. I was sometimes a bit off-put by how nosy Americans were, but I don't mind in general if people are curious, not judgmental.

Question

In what ways is your own culture different from that of the United States?

Rather blisteringly obvious I suppose, but England is quite a bit smaller than the states. You can hop on a train and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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