In the USA, I have worked with a lot of people from Asian countries. Most of them somehow assume, amongst many other things, that most American societies encourage free sex.
What are some of the ways a new person in America can settle down with American culture and comfortably be made aware of acceptable social norms ?

  • that most American societies encourage free sex - What does it mean?
    – Karlson
    Mar 13 '14 at 2:50
  • In my question I am referring mostly to men from orthodox cultures would somehow (movies ?) think that it is common place for men to ask women to bed with them - even if they are meeting the lady for the first time and know nothing about the lady. Mar 13 '14 at 4:18
  • @Karlson: I've seen it when people from Asian/Arabic countries assume that western women are "slutty", because they are used to cultural norms of their countries.
    – vartec
    Apr 17 '14 at 15:21
  • @vartec I am well aware of that but that wasn't what I was asking.
    – Karlson
    Apr 17 '14 at 17:30

One way could be to combine any language courses they're doing with cultural training.

Something like a Quest Exchange class where they will be with other immigrants/students learning about the language, as well as partaking in cultural classes, where staff are paid to help them understand both the language and the society, to some extent.

They'll also be more likely to discuss differences between their home and the new country with other expats, and this may help dispel myths and increase understanding.


First, everyone immigrating anywhere needs to understand that it will take years to understand the new place socially and culturally. Sexuality is also highly cultural which makes that particular issue problematic.

Secondly, most foreigners learn almost everything about American culture that they know from two sources: news and movies. My wife assumed that there was a serial killer in every neighborhood, and drugs on every street corner in the US.

So I would say it takes time, and the best thing you can do is to point out that the US is not how things are portrayed in the movies, that the movies show a distorted and entertaining view of the US, not really how things work on the ground.

Of course the same holds true on the other side. It takes Americans just as long to understand the cultural norms and we make just as many mistakes when moving to Asia as Asians make when coming to the US.

To be honest I don't think cultural training necessarily works very well. The big problem is that culture is invisible to those well acclimated to it. The best thing to do is to point out that things don't work according to expectations and let people know they need to acclimate.


There are books to help with this. I used one or two when I came over here (years ago, those are long out of print now), and they were a help.

A quick search of Amazon turned up several recent books, e.g."What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z"; there are quite a few others. Do make sure you're getting a recent edition.

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