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. Silence all mobile phones and before entering the classroom. Never attempt to answer, dial or text using your mobile phone during class. If you receive a phone call that is a true emergency, you can step out of the classroom to take it; however, it is always best to wait until the end of class to respond if at all possible. We do not want you leaving class to take phone calls, so even if you see it’s the Cultural Division calling, please return our call after class instead of leaving the classroom to answer!



Punctuality is very important in American culture. 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 class. It is up to you to catch up with the class and learn what material was covered.

Many instructors include attendance in their grading rubric, so arriving late can also impact your grades.




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 after class.


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, a zero on the paper, or sometimes even a failing grade for the whole course.

Quizzes are short tests that are sometimes unannounced. An instructor may start the day with a quiz to see if everyone did their homework or check the progress of the class. The same rules regarding copying or asking questions of other students still apply. While quizzes do not have the importance of scheduled exams; however, the scores are frequently included in your grade for course.


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     Third Monday in January, to commemorate the most famous civil rights leader in US history
Inauguration DayJanuary 20th every four years, following the Presidential election
President's DayThird Monday in February
Memorial DayThe last Monday in May, to honor those who died while serving in the military
Independance DayJuly 4th
Labor DayFirst Monday in September
Columbus DaySecond Monday in October
Veteran's DayNovember 11th 
Thanksgiving DayFourth 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 DayThird Sunday in June
HalloweenOctober 31st
Election DayOn or after November 2