Cultural Adjustments

Classroom Etiquette

Students often report to the classroom early and exchange greetings and light conversation.

An instructor entering a classroom is a sign that class will begin. Students should take their seats. An instructor may exchange individual greetings with some students on the way into the classroom, but will not greet each student individually.

If an instructor begins by greeting a class, he is inviting the class to respond with a like greeting.

Mobile Phone

Using your mobile phone during a class lecture is considered extremely rude in a university environment. Turn off all mobile phones and any listening devices before entering the classroom. Never attempt to answer, dial or text using your mobile phone.


It is very important to be on time for class whether it is at the start of the day or after breaks or lunch. If you do show up late, do not make an excuse or interrupt the instruction, just walk in quietly and sit down. Do not make a habit of showing up late.

Some instructors may lock the door at the scheduled start time. If you are locked out of class, do not knock on the door; wait until the next break. You will not get credit for attending that instruction. It is up to you to catch up with the class and learn what material is testable.

Repeatedly showing up late for class will have a negative impact on your academic report and could jeopardize your class standing.


Instructors will usually call a break every hour or so. They look for a logical point in the instruction to break rather than the clock. Students are expected to be in their seats in the classroom when the instructor is teaching. If you must leave the classroom for an emergency situation, just get up and go. Do not disrupt the class or ask permission.

Breaks are an opportunity to socialize with your classmates and get to know each other. You can discuss the class or outside activities. It is an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and ask questions.

Students who break into small groups and speak a language other than English are sending a message to other students that they do not want to talk to them. Speaking English during your course and breaks will help you improve your language skills and get to know your US classmates.


Questions are a great way to clarify instruction. Instructors appreciate most questions because they benefit the entire class. If you have a question during class, raise your hand and wait for the instructor to recognize you.

It is not necessary to stand or introduce yourself when asking a question. Do not ask a question of another student or talk to other students when an instructor is speaking. Save personal conversations for the break.

Examinations and Quizzes

Examinations are often called exams or tests.

If you have a question during an exam, raise your hand and wait for the instructor. If the instructor is busy, it may take a few minutes to get to you. Try to answer other test questions while you wait.

Do not ask questions of other students during an exam.

Exchanging information during an exam is strictly prohibited. Copying someone else's paper or allowing someone to copy your paper is sufficient reason for removal from class.

Quizzes are short tests that are unannounced. An instructor may start the day with a quiz to see if everyone did their homework or check the progress of the class.

Quizzes do not have the importance of scheduled exams; however, the scores are frequently included in your grade for a given block of instruction.

United States Federal Holidays

United States Holidays 

To help you become more aware of American culture, we have included a list of holidays and their dates.

Currently, there are eleven (11) US Federal holidays, which indicate national holidays, and businesses are generally closed. When a holiday falls on a weekend it's usually observed on the closest weekday.   

New Year's DayJanuary 1st
Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr     3rd Monday in january
Inaguration DayJanuary 20th every four years, following Presidential election
President's Day3rd Monday in February, in recognition of other American
Memorial DayThe last Monday in May, to honor those who died while serving in the military
Independance DayJuly 4th
Labor Day1st Monday in September
Columbus Day2nd Monday in October
Veteran's DayNovember 11th
Thanksgiving Day4th Thursday in November (many businesses remain closed the following days as well)
Christmas DayDecember 25th
Other United States Holidays
Valentine's Day                     February 14th
EasterVaries depending on year (usually between late-March and late-April)
Mother's DaySecond Sunday in May
Flag DayJune 14th
Father's DayThe third Sunday in June
HalloweenOctober 31st
Election Dayon or after November 2