Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Cultural Intelligence: More Than Just Common Sense

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Sun, Jun 05, 2011 @ 07:40 AM

Cultural intelligence is a person's ability to adjust their behavior to a new cultural environment. Is cultural intelligence common sense? Is it something that you can just "figure out" by living in a new culture? Some people think it is but then they realize that their business interactions aren't going smoothly with their new American colleagues in New York and they can't figure out why.  Cultural intelligence is not always common sense. It is knowledge and skills that many people don't realize that they need until they make a mistake. In today's post I have some suggestions about how you can improve your cultural intelligence by observing, speaking with local people and asking "why?"

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Topics: Daily Life in the US, United States Culture, Cultural Competence, Cross Cultural Coaching

New York English: A Weather Lesson

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, May 25, 2011 @ 03:37 PM

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Topics: English Lessons, Daily Life in the US, United States Culture, Vocabulary Workshop, Life in New York, Listening Practice

American English Tutoring | When, Where and How Much to Tip in the U.S.

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Fri, May 20, 2011 @ 09:48 AM

Your American English tutoring classes are a good opportunity to learn more than just English speaking skills. You can also learn about daily life in the United States with your native English speaking tutor. One of the questions that a lot of my students have asked during our English tutoring sessions is about tipping in the United States. When and where should you leave a tip? How much money should you leave? If you are an international professional working in the United States for a few years or if you are a short term traveler visiting New York or Boston for a few days, this listening activity will tell you what you need to know about tipping.

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Topics: English Lessons, Advice for English Students, Daily Life in the US, United States Culture

American Culture and Business: The Handshake

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, May 11, 2011 @ 08:44 AM

Welcome to today's lesson on American culture and business!

If you are learning English in the United States and working at an American company, there are some aspects of American culture that you might want to know more about.

One important thing to know if you are working, interviewing or just meeting new people in the United States, is the handshake. Why is the handshake so important?

People often make judgments about your character based on your handshake.

So if you want to make a good first impression, you need to know how to shake hands correctly and confidently in the United States.

In this post, you will learn 4 things to remember about shaking hands in the United States.

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Topics: English Lessons, Advice for English Students, United States Culture

Why You Need an English Tutor in New York: 5 Reasons

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Tue, May 10, 2011 @ 09:08 AM

Why should you work with an English tutor in New York?

As an international professional or an international student living in New York, there are so many ways to improve your English.

You can choose a large language school, you can do a language exchange or you can work with an English tutor.

But your life in New York will be different from your life in any other city.

With so many things to do, a career that keeps you busy, meetings to attend and people to meet, you will have a busy life!

That is one of the reasons why I believe that working with an English tutor in New York is the best way to improve your English quickly.

Keep reading for more hints about the best way to improve your English.

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Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English, United States Culture, Life in New York

English and American Culture: How to Give Feedback

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 08:48 AM

To be successful in the United States, you must understand not only the English language but English and American culture.

If you are doing business, taking a class, preparing for a test or just visiting Boston or New York, you will notice that the American culture is reflected in the English language.

One important aspect of communicating with American people is giving feedback or offering criticism.

Different cultures voice criticism in different ways. It is important to know yourself.

How do you express criticism in your home culture?

When you don't agree with someone or you see a problem with their work, how do you tell them? Do you come out and say it directly?

Do you use non-verbal communication and express your feedback indirectly so that you will not offend them?

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Topics: English Lessons, United States Culture, English Conversation, Vocabulary Workshop

ESL Job Interview Lesson | 4 Common Questions

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Sat, Apr 30, 2011 @ 12:48 PM

Today we have an ESL job interview lesson for you. There are 4 questions that are commonly asked in job interviews. If you are from another country, it is important to know that the interview questions might be quite different from the questions that you are used to in your home country.  So what can you do before, during and after the interview to make sure you get the job? Keep reading for some ideas and advice.



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Topics: English Lessons, United States Culture, Business English Vocabulary

Language and American Culture | "Time is Money"

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 @ 09:35 AM

What is the key to being successful in your life and career in the US?

I think the key is understanding the people.

You need to understand not only the English language but also American culture.

Expressions, idioms and common sayings reflect American cultural values.

A great example of an American English expression is "time is money". 

In the United States, we schedule our days based on "clock time". 

Many people are constantly monitoring their watches as a way of determining when an activity should begin, when it should end and to avoid being late.

Is this true in your culture?

If not, keep reading.  We have some advice if you are working and living in the United States.

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Topics: English Lessons, United States Culture

Want to Learn English? First, Understand your Communication Style

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Sat, Apr 23, 2011 @ 01:08 PM

How do people communicate in your culture?

Why is it important to know this if you want to learn English? 

If you know your own communication style and your communication challenges, you will be more efficient at learning English.

In this post, we will talk about the communication style that many people use in the United States, how it is different from your own style and how you can use this information to improve your English while you are in the US.

Remember, many people have a combination of different styles.

If you don't follow the "typical" communication style of your culture, that's fine!

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Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English, United States Culture

English Conversation Practice | How to Make Small Talk

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 @ 10:47 AM

Do you know how to make small talk in the United States?

Do you want to make friends and great business relationships in the US?

If so, then you need to make small talk.

Americans engage in small talk all of the time, in many different situations including at parties, at work, in the grocery store or after a class.

Why should you learn how to make small talk?

Small talk with native English speakers is a great opportunity for English conversation practice

In this post, we will learn some of the most common small talk phrases and topics and the correct pronunciation and intonation for the phrases. 

Watch the video to get started!

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Topics: Advice for English Students, United States Culture, English Conversation

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