Cultural Differences: what to expect in the USA!


Greetings readers,

I hope this finds you well. This post is all about the unusual. Perhaps you are already an Au Pair right now, or perhaps you’re in the process of becoming one. Or, maybe you’re merely interested in pursuing this possibility in the future. Whatever your current situation may be, what we’re sure of is that you’ve most likely already seen or experienced in some way the differences that often exist between cultures. You don’t have to look far for these types of things- you’ve probably seen through watching certain movies or searching certain things on the internet that particular mannerisms, habits, styles, and landscapes differ from country to country and from person to person. And sometimes, when you leave your own country, you also leave your comfort zone. Culture shock is quite real, so if you ever plan on becoming an Au pair abroad, it’s useful to get to know some of the cultural differences you would expect to see in the country of your temporary stay. For the benefit of those of you potentially interested in our Au Pair in the USA program, we’d like to present to you now a brief overview of some typical aspects of American culture.

Dimensions and other measurements:

Imagine you are getting ready to leave for another country right now. If you found yourself in the midst of preparing everything, you’d most likely think at some point about the weather to expect in the country, how far away your homestay will be from the airport, and what time your flight leaves. All of these questions involve some sort of measurement, whether it be actual physical distance, temperature, or time. And although you may be accustomed to using metric units, degrees Celsius, and 24 hours of time, this all changes in the US. Kilometers become miles, meters become feet, grams become pounds, Celsius becomes Fahrenheit, and 24 hours becomes two sets of 12 hours in the form of an A.M and P.M. Sometimes this takes some getting used to in daily life.


The classic hamburger has seemingly become the paradigm of American cuisine in the eyes of both natives and foreigners. Perhaps this statement holds a bit of truth, but there are also many other popular American dishes that you’ll have the chance to try. Thanksgiving, in fact, is a great time for experiencing popular American cuisine: apple, cherry, pumpkin, and pecan pies, turkey, mashed potatoes and yams, stuffing, gravy, and more! A typical American meal, especially dinner, will usually include some sort of meat (pork chops, meatloaf, chicken, steak, or perhaps some sort of fish if you’re near the coasts), a side (potatoes, macaroni and cheese, rice), and then some sort of steamed vegetable or side salad. Unlike breakfasts perhaps in other countries, many Americans enjoy a hearty breakfast. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, a bit later in the day, during lunch, or even for dinner, you’ll be sure to see large stacks of pancakes with maple syrup, eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, and more.

Daily Schedule:

While we’re on the subject of food, it’s also important to note the time that the typical meals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served. In the US, breakfast typically holds a higher regard than it might in other countries. The majority of Americans eat breakfast or at least believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This first meal could take place anywhere between 6:30 to 9:00 or 9:30am, depending on who you are, your age, and what time you go to school or work. Time for lunch usually begins around 11:00am, but one could also opt for a later time, but people generally have gone to lunch by 1:00pm. It’s rare to see a daily lunchtime meal past this hour. And finally, dinner comes around 6:30 or 7:30pm. Sometimes the time is later, depending on family tendencies or schedule. But this American meal schedule is only one example of schedule differences. Typical work hours can often be different between the US and other countries. The average American holding a long-term, average-paying job generally works between the hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm, but this is not to say that there aren’t exceptions to this rule of thumb. Some can work more and some can work less. What is usually standard, however, is that business stay open during afternoon hours, without a midday break in open hours.

We hope that this information has helped you realize some of the differences there are between the United States and other countries. And while this certainly doesn’t encompass all of the changes you’ll see and experience, it at least provides you a bit of insight to the incredible stay you’ll have if you so choose to travel abroad to the US as an Au Pair! If you want more information about our program Au Pair in the USA, please visit our program information page at