Culture Shock in the U.S.

165 - Culture Shock in the U.S. (Everyday Life Stuff!)


Words that are bolded in red are suggested vocabulary words for this episode.


Hi everybody. My name is Shana and this is the American English Podcast. My goal here is to teach you the English spoken in the United States. Through common expressions, pronunciation tips, and interesting cultural snippets or stories, I hope to keep this fun, useful and interesting. Let’s do it!


Welcome back. Hope you’re having a nice day. In this Chats with Shana episode, I’m going to reflect on various aspects of US culture. Although I talk about culture all the time, it’s not often we talk about some basic things, like everyday life things. And the truth is, I don’t often think about the topics I’m going to discuss today. They’re pretty random.

We’re currently in Brazil and I don’t know about you, but there’s something about being in a foreign country where life and people are different that forces you to reflect on who you are. Sometimes it’s simple things, like preferences. I crave a big cup of coffee in the morning, probably because I grew up in a country where that’s the standard. Our portion sizes and just the sizes of our drinks are pretty big. After many years drinking it that way, it’s hard for me to get used to small, concentrated cups of coffee that are common in other countries. They taste great, but it’s a little frustrating that I take two sips and they’re gone.

If you’ve lived or spent a significant period of time in a foreign country, you probably also know it forces you to reflect on more profound things like how people think differently or interact with each other differently.

For example, in Brazil, people are absurdly nice, genuinely enthusiastic about things, to the point I have to ask myself does my facial expression match the energy level? Have you guys done this in the United States? Have you thought about this?

Through your experiences do you find that people are warm and welcoming, cold, or somewhere in the middle?

If this is your first time listening to a Chats with Shana episode, know that this is spontaneous. The goal for you is to hear natural transitions from one idea to the next. I’ll explain challenging words and phrases as I go along. If you would like the transcript, ad-free audio, quiz, and other bonus material that goes along with this episode, be sure to sign up to Season 4 at


Before we begin, I do need to give a big thanks to all of you who sent me letters and postcards to my P.O. box after listening to episode number 163 about the post office and sending mail. It’s been really exciting to hear some of your stories, and seeing that handwriting really shows me you do exist, and that’s amazing. When we get back from our trip abroad, I’ll check that mailbox once again, so if you haven’t already, uh, sent me a letter and you want to, be sure to check out episode 163, you will find the address, as well as all of the information about how to send letters to the US.

Let’s begin today’s episode. Be sure to stay tuned until the very end, where I’ll mention one very specific and kind of funny cultural difference that most foreigners don’t like in the United States, and also people born and raised in the US don’t like. Stay tuned for that.


As you probably know by now, Lucas, my husband, is a music producer. He creates pop music in LA, latin music in Miami, country music in Nashville. He’s all over the place. But when we’re in Brazil, he works on a genre that doesn’t exist outside of Brazil. It’s called Sertanejo, and essentially it’s Brazilian country music.


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