© 2018 by NG Morkel

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THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

Ahh,the states. Initially it was challenging for me to adapt to the commercialisation culture. If I could describe most of America in one sentence I'd say: quantity over quality (except with the meat). I struggled with the different cultural norms which is surprising because you'd think they'd have more English influence like the other pre-independence english-speaking colonies (South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada)... but nope. Everything is straight-up American. I suppose that's why they have a different dictionary -they relish independence. Anyway, after the culture shock, that whole American dream thing kicked in.

 

Now I love this place, it's the power that gets you... when you're looking at a Manhattan skyscraper or The White House and you get a surge of adrenalin thinking about the people in there making decisions for the world -suddenly you find yourself a typical redneck, thinking "f*ck yeah, 'MURICA!". 

 

I mean, it's not for everyone. I don't know if I could live here forever... But the beauty of it is that I'm only in the New York area & there are 9.8 million square km's of 'Murica left to explore -and I can promise you, you'll find it incredibly different just from state to state. It's extremely diverse and I'm convinced has the friendliest, if somewhat overly-patriotic, people in the world. It's also pretty safe despite the stats -the police are sharp and really don't play (which is surprising because a lot of citizens still seem to have a bizarre paranoia about safety... *cough* gun control *cough*). 

The USA is so big that as a country it is bigger than the entire continent of Europe. Check out this cool page

 that shows you visual comparisons of country outlines against the US map to give you some perspective. 

A few stereotypes debunked:

  • Portion sizes aren't actually that crazy and there are shit loads of skinny people -especially on the coasts.

  • Shame I actually feel for the Americans, they don't get enough slack from the rest of the world. Speaking of which, people are extremely politically sensitive here and surprisingly most of the "you're so pale to be from Africa" and other 3rd-world ignorance has come my way from non-Americans. 

  • Of which, by the way, are in full force scattered through-out the US. I personally really like that cultural variety though and most Americans I've come across do too, it makes it more interesting for a traveller.

  • When you ask an American where they're from, they might say the state over, but they might also go into detail about their forefathers. Most New Yorkers for example seem to think they're native Italian village people when they can't speak the language and have never been to Italy. It's so funny, I love it.

 

 

VISA NOTE:

 If you want to work in the states as a young person, let me be the first to tell you it is the most hard-core embassy to deal with, you practically go through a metal vault to get into that consulate. These are the types of visas almost all foreigners are looking at: either a J1 -this is basically the youth visa, for students/recent graduates/general under-30's  or an H2B - for temporary seasonal workers in non-agricultural activities. If you don't want to get one of these visas you've probably decided to attempt to work on a tourist visa, this won't work. Especially now with Trump, just do it right -it's a pain but it's worth it. You can also study in the US with an F1 visa if you're accepted into certain accredited programs, check out the details here.

In order to get one of these visas you can't apply for it on your own like you can for Europe or Asia, you have to go through an accredited sponsor. The bright side to this is that they do most of the admin for you and you have support throughout your trip, the downside is that they take their cut and it sucks if you're independent and organised enough to do it yourself.

 

 

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