Living in the United States

I am fortunate to get the chance to live in three totally different cultures; Middle East, South Asia, and North America. I am also lucky that I got to teach in the Middle East and in the United States. I taught in three universities in Jordan and I am teaching college students in the United States since 2005. Although, I didn’t teach in Malaysia but I am aware of the culture of classrooms since I did my Master’s degree there. I have met so many people from different backgrounds. The classroom helped me learn a lot about these different cultures.

These encounters with so many students from different backgrounds and cultures enlightened me in so different levels. The more we know about other cultures the better we become. There is no culture that is better than the other. There is so much to learn. Blessed are those who meet with people from different backgrounds and can learn something beneficial from their rich culture.

This introduction is my way to justify why I can start my new project; a series of posts named “The Arabic guide to living in the United States.” These posts aim to educate Arabs planning to visit, study or live in the United States about the culture and the way of life in the US. I am sure Americans and Europeans have many books that talk about the Arabic culture for those who are interested in living or studying in the Middle East.  However, I am not aware if there are any Arabic books about the American culture or way of life in the United States.

I will talk about what topics to discuss and what not. How to order your cheeseburger and bebsi (Pepsi). Why Arabs keep their chins up (literally not metaphorically) when they go to locker rooms. Where to live and where not to go. The danger of taking a wrong street. I am going to talk about some laws, sports, dogs, homosexuality, holocaust, religion and many other topics.

I already, collected more than 30 topics. I am going to write about each one in no particular order. If you have suggestions, comments or want me to talk about a particular subject related to this guide email me or leave a comment.

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17 thoughts on “Living in the United States

  1. So fun! Sort of like the opposite of Diwan Baladna that two guys I know wrote here. I look forward to it, may God bless it it help with bringing greater understanding between people, and less culture shock for arrivees. 🙂

    1. The culture shock becomes a minor issue compared to some mistakes new arriving Arabs do, unintentionally. So, hopefully these post may help somehow. Thanks for your forward post. I appreciate it.

  2. The most important thing for Arabs who visit and intend on staying for an extended period in the USA or any country is to stay away from other Arabs if possible since one will not have many opportunities to meet and interact with the local culture(s) and mingle with all sorts of new people who will enrich one’s experience in a new land. Unfortunately, most Arabs just choose to hang out with other Arabs and they don’t benefit or learn anything new this way. Might as well stay in their home country if they just stay with other Arabs overseas.

    1. Although you are right of your observation I would partially, not totally, agree with you. First, choosing to mingle with people from our culture is not something limited to Arabs. All nations do it. It might be with a different magnitude but we are not the worst. The Chinese are much worse than Arabs when it comes to mingling with other cultures.
      Second, this is a more complicated issue than it may look. Usually mingling with Arabs helps us in many different levels like sharing our nostalgic thoughts about our homes or not feeling alone in a strange country, etc.
      Yet, there is truth about what you said. I saw Arabs who have been here for 20 years but their English is as bad as one who just came to the country. Unfortunately, I meet Arabs who have been here for more than 10 years but they decided not to accept or learn any thing from the new culture. The American culture like the Arab culture has the good and bad. Those people refuse to even acknowledge the good of the American culture.

    1. Thank you of the suggested questions. I will try my best to answer all of these questions. I even have a story about the gang members and drug dealers 🙂

    1. I am sure with your experience in the two cultures you would be much of help to me. So, I may ask your help or do couple of collaborative posts 🙂

  3. A great idea, and you are well-placed to write the series. I look forward to reading it, and when it overlaps with topics I post on in a more ad hoc way I will link.

    I agree that there are many cultures where people are more likely to stick together. Also certain individuals are more likely to do so.

    The unintentional gaffes are the most interesting and the most amenable to prevention or change.

  4. I would be interested in your experiences and challenges involved with relationships, and finding someone special as a guy in a country where you’re a minority.

    1. Welcome… Princess!
      Nice blog you have and welcome to the blog-o-sphere. I read all your 4 posts 🙂 I liked your last one.
      Insh’Allah, there will be a post about Muslims in the US. I wasn’t planing to talk about relationships but you gave me an idea. I am aware of the difficulties that faces Muslims regarding marriage. Finding someone is not easy and becomes more difficult when the Muslim community is either too big or too small in the city.

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