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Int'l - Living in the U.S.A

St. Charles, MO:

Lindenwood University is located in the heart of St. Charles, a river city with a unique historical perspective, beautiful sites, friendly people and a pace just a little slower than that of the big city. St. Charles with a population of 60,321, it is the second largest city in the St. Louis region of 2.6 million and is within 25 minutes of all of the metropolitan services, world class sports, theater, symphony, art museum and science center. We are also near the champion St. Louis Rams Football and St. Louis Cardinals Baseball teams. St. Charles enjoys the changes of the four-season climate. Winters are brisk but seldom severe. Summers can be hot and humid but usually not for extended periods of time. Normal annual precipitation is about 40 inches. You can find very helpful visitor information at http://www.historicstcharles.com/
Sterotypes:

Don't believe all of the stereotypes you may have heard about Americans. Even the ones that are true in general may not be true about specific individuals or a large segment of the population. Remember that American films and television exaggerate in order to generate excitement, and so present a rather distorted picture of what life in the United States is really like.

Americans do tend to be more informal than people from other countries. It is common for Americans to wear casual clothing to school and to greet professors by first name. Nevertheless, good manners and politeness are always appropriate. Some of the more prestigious restaurants require a coat and tie. Americans tend to dress up for cultural events (the opera, theater and ballet) and to dress down for athletic events. Formal wear is required at weddings and funerals, or any other event with religious overtones.
Forms of Address:

American names are written and spoken with the given name first and the family name last. So John Smith's family name is Smith, not John.

In a formal setting, address men as "Mister" (abbreviated as "Mr."), married women as "Misses" (abbreviated as "Mrs."), and unmarried women as "Miss" (abbreviated as "Ms."). These days many women prefer to be addressed using the abbreviations "Ms." or "M.", pronounced "miz". If the person has an MD or PhD , they will often be addressed as "Doctor" (abbreviated as "Dr."). Faculty are addressed as "Professor" (abbreviated as "Prof.").

In an informal situation, Americans will introduce each other by first name, without titles, and occasionally by just the last name. If you are introduced to somebody by first name, you can address him or her by first name the next time you meet. The only exception would be for someone who holds an important position, such as the university president or provost. Unless they tell you otherwise, faculty should be addressed using their title and last name (e.g., "Professor Smith").

When in doubt, use the formal manner of address, since it is better to err on the side of formality. It is also appropriate to ask how they prefer to be addressed.
Tipping:

Restaurants do not include a service charge in the bill, so you should tip the waiter 15% of the total bill. If service was slow or particularly bad, some Americans will tip only 10%. Likewise, if service was particularly good, it is appropriate to tip 20%. If service was so bad that you would never eat in the restaurant again, leave two cents. This is a deliberate insult, because it tells the waiter that you didn't forget to leave a tip. Tipping is only appropriate in restaurants which offer table service. You do not tip the cashier in a fast food restaurant.

Taxi drivers expect to get a tip equal to 15% of the total fare. If the driver was especially helpful or got you to your destination more quickly than you expected, give a 20% tip.

Hotel bellhops expect a $1 tip for helping you with your bags. If you order room service, the gratuity is included in the bill. Coat checkroom attendants expect $1 per coat. Hairdressers and barbers expect a tip of 15% of the bill. Valet parking attendants expect a $1 tip.

Federal regulations prohibit letter carriers from accepting cash gifts in any amount, or gifts worth $20 or more from customers.

If you are in doubt, ask whether it is appropriate to tip or whether a gratuity is included in the bill.

Bribery is not considered appropriate and often illegal. Attempting to bribe a policeman will certainly get you arrested.



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