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  • Hi.

  • I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.

  • Do you want to visit the US?

  • Here's what you need to know.

  • Have you already visited the US?

  • Would you like to visit the US someday?

  • Going to an English-speaking country is a great way to get motivated or stay motivated

  • to learn English.

  • I asked you all in the community tab here on YouTube where you would like to visit in

  • the US, and a lot of you said LA, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Florida, Texas, Boston,

  • a lot of places.

  • I hope your dreams come true and you get to come visit the US.

  • To help you prepare, today I'd like to give you 10 important facts that you need to know

  • before you come to visit the US.

  • Of course, these are all my opinion and just from my experience, but sometimes it's important

  • to know the cultural differences or what to expect before you go somewhere.

  • All right, let's start with the first category, which is airports.

  • Number one, Airports are not the best representation of the US.

  • Every time that I've landed in the US coming from a foreign country, I've always had an

  • unpleasant experience.

  • Unfortunately, this is kind of a negative way to start our list today.

  • But, often I've heard people just say, "Get in this line.

  • Go over there.

  • Hurry up.

  • Let's go," or maybe that was just the Atlanta airport.

  • But no, I experienced that in Chicago, New York, DC, a lot of places.

  • So if you have a kind of negative experience in an airport when you first land in the US,

  • take a deep breath.

  • This isn't a good representation of American people.

  • I remember arriving back in the US from Korea, and in front of us in line at the customs

  • office, or something like that, was this kind Korean grandpa.

  • I imagine he hardly spoke any English.

  • At least when he tried to communicate with other people, it seemed a little bit difficult.

  • And when the customs officer was talking with him, he kept just speaking louder and louder

  • and not really trying to understand or help him.

  • I felt really bad that this was this man's first exposure to the US, and I hoped that

  • he would have other pleasant experiences with other people on his visit.

  • I hope that's the same for you.

  • If you have a negative experience, this is just an airport thing.

  • I hope that you meet other people who are friendly.

  • Tips number two and three are about restaurants.

  • Do you use TripAdvisor when you want to look for new restaurants?

  • Do you think that Americans use TripAdvisor when they want to find a new restaurant or

  • a good restaurant in their city?

  • Nope.

  • Every American I know uses Yelp.

  • If you want to find local places that local people have recommended, download the Yelp

  • app.

  • This video is not sponsored by Yelp.

  • It's just a common thing that we use here in the US.

  • Download the Yelp app and search for restaurants in your area or if you need to get a haircut

  • maybe hairdressers in your area.

  • TripAdvisor might be good for sightseeing, maybe some landmarks or things like that.

  • But for restaurants or bars, for food, these types of things, we always use Yelp, so make

  • sure that you use what local people are using, which is Yelp.

  • Tip number three, if you go to a restaurant or bar, you need to tip 20% if your service

  • was adequate or good.

  • If it was terrible, absolutely awful service, you don't have to tip it all.

  • You could give them 10%.

  • That's up to you.

  • But if the service was at least normal, you need to give them 20%.

  • In the US, the tip constitutes an essential part of the server's wage.

  • In fact, the server's only money that they're getting are tips, so you need to give 20%.

  • An easy way to calculate this is if your bill was $32, take that first number, three, multiply

  • it by two, which is six.

  • And there you have 20%.

  • $6 is 20% of 32.

  • So you can add that together, and your total bill is $38.

  • You need to do this also when you get a drink at a bar.

  • Typically, 20% is acceptable.

  • But if 20% is like 30 cents, the best thing to do is still to give a dollar.

  • A dollar is the minimum tip that is polite.

  • I've been a server a lot, especially when I was in high school, when I was in college

  • as part-time jobs, and if somebody left change on the table, which are coins, you felt like

  • they were just trying to be rude to you.

  • Because in American culture, if you leave coins, just coins ... Of course, if it's a

  • big pile of coins, who cares?

  • It's a lot of money still.

  • But just a couple coins, it feels a little bit rude, so make sure that you give them

  • at least a dollar.

  • When you take a taxi, tip 20%.

  • For Uber, I don't use Uber that much.

  • But from what I've heard, it's not required to tip with Uber.

  • Uber drivers are paid a regular hourly salary or per ride that they get, so you don't need

  • to tip, but you can always tip.

  • It has always accepted.

  • Tip number four is about transportation.

  • I recommend renting a car when you visit the US, unless you're only going to stay in the

  • middle of the city center, like in New York or San Francisco, really close, because the

  • US is spread out.

  • Even in LA, which is a huge city, it's hard to get from one side to the other.

  • Or if you want to visit Yosemite National Park, that's going to be a four-hour drive

  • from San Francisco, so you're going to need a car because Uber's not going to take you

  • that far.

  • So, just think about your trip and realize that the US is really big, really spread out,

  • so you'll probably want a budget for renting a car when you come to visit.

  • Tip number five has four different parts because alcohol in the US is a little complicated.

  • If you buy alcohol in the US, don't be surprised if the person who's selling you the alcohol

  • asks to see your ID.

  • In the US, it is very strict that you must be 21 years old to buy alcohol.

  • And if someone looks under the age of 40, the person selling you alcohol will say, "Can

  • I see your ID?"

  • Even if you're 50 years old, maybe even 60, they might ask to see your ID.

  • So, don't be shocked about this.

  • In fact, sometimes Americans get a little bit offended if the other person doesn't ask

  • to see their ID.

  • So for me, I'm 31.

  • Yes, I'm 31.

  • I'm 31.

  • One time I went to the store and the cashier didn't ask to see my ID, and I thought, "Do

  • I look like I'm 40 years old?

  • Oh, no.

  • Maybe I look older than I am."

  • But really, the cashier said, "Oh, you come in here a lot.

  • I know you," so it wasn't really a negative situation.

  • But, sometimes people feel a little bit offended in this situation.

  • Quite interesting.

  • So, make sure you have your ID ready.

  • Tip 5.1 about alcohol is that the person buying alcohol needs an ID, but sometimes in some

  • stores in some states the cashier will ask to see everyone's ID who is present.

  • So if you're with your husband buying alcohol ... This happened to me.

  • We were at the grocery store, and we were buying a bottle of wine.

  • He was paying for it.

  • It's our money, but it was him who was making the transaction.

  • The cashier asked to see my ID, too.

  • This happened to me only two times.

  • One time I had my ID.

  • No problem.

  • The second time I didn't have my ID, and she just said, "It's okay.

  • Don't worry about it."

  • So, I guess this isn't too strict.

  • But maybe if I had looked 16 years old or 15 years old, maybe they wouldn't have sold

  • it because they don't want someone who is above 21 to be buying alcohol for someone

  • who's a minor.

  • We say a minor for someone who is under 21 years old because they're not allowed to drink

  • alcohol.

  • Do you think that people who are under 21 drink alcohol in the US?

  • If you've ever seen a movie about colleges, the answer is definitely yes.

  • But, stores have to kind of follow these types of rules.

  • Tip 5.2 about alcohol is that in some states you cannot buy alcohol at the grocery store.

  • It's kind of a state law that you have to go to a specific alcohol store to buy alcohol.

  • This is called an ABC store.

  • So if you're driving and you see an ABC store, and you're visiting somewhere like Pennsylvania,

  • if you go to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, I'm sure other states are like this too, you cannot

  • buy alcohol at the grocery store.

  • Sometimes there's specific grocery stores that have a little section where you can buy

  • beer and you have to pay for it in that section.

  • You can't pay for it with all your groceries.

  • Just check out this.

  • Check about this in advance to make sure that if you're going to the store you can actually

  • get what you want to get.

  • Tip 5.3 about alcohol is that in some states you cannot buy alcohol on Sunday before a

  • certain time.

  • So in my state, in North Carolina, you cannot buy alcohol before noon on Sunday.

  • One time, I went to the store to prepare and get a bunch of stuff for a big dinner that

  • I was having on Sunday night at my house.

  • I was getting lots of food.

  • I was getting some wine, some beer.

  • And when I went to buy everything, the cashier said, "Oh, I'm sorry.

  • It's 11:45.

  • I can't sell you alcohol until noon," so I just waited in the grocery store for 15 minutes

  • until noon and then I could buy it.

  • I think that this rule kind of goes back to the idea that you should go to church instead

  • of drinking.

  • I'm not sure exactly.

  • But I'll let you know something, it doesn't work.

  • It doesn't stop people from drinking whenever they want.

  • But you might encounter this, so just make sure you think about it in advance.

  • Tip 5.4 about alcohol is that you cannot drink in public places like the park or on the street.

  • The beach is a little bit different sometimes depending on the state.

  • And of course, some beaches might be more isolated or a lot of people drink there, so

  • they're a little bit more relaxed about the rules, so just look this up before you go.

  • Because if you're going to a really popular beach in Miami or a popular beach in California,

  • the rules are probably going to be different.

  • And if you want to drink a beer on the beach, you want to be able to do that without worrying

  • that someone's going to stop you from doing that.

  • So, just look up the rules in advance or ask your friends if they live in those areas.

  • After hearing about all of those alcohol rules, is it any wonder that America gets called

  • puritanical?

  • I don't really think so.

  • Let's go on to the next category.

  • The sixth tip is about people.

  • Unlike the airport, I've heard from a lot of visitors to the US that American people

  • are generally friendlier and smilier than they imagined.

  • I've heard American's often described as a peach that on the outside we're soft and easy

  • to get to know.

  • Maybe the first time we meet you we'll invite you to our house for dinner.

  • That's not uncommon.

  • But maybe after we have dinner, if we have a great time, I might not call you for another

  • month to get together again.

  • It doesn't mean that I don't like you.

  • It just means that maybe it's not a priority to get together right away, so there's some

  • kind of hard center.

  • Maybe that's just a generality, of course.

  • But, I think that when you walk down the street, especially in medium-sized cities ... If you

  • smile at everybody in New York, it's going to be a little bit weird.

  • But if you're in a smaller or medium-sized city like where I live, if I walk past someone

  • on the sidewalk, I'll make eye contact.

  • I might say hey.

  • Maybe.

  • Depends.

  • But, it's not unusual.

  • If you did that in a really big city, people might think it's a little bit weird.

  • But, don't be surprised if people are pretty friendly, pretty smiley.

  • That's kind of the typical stereotype of the US.

  • Personally, I think it's kind of true.

  • Tip number seven is about health.

  • The US gets a pretty bad reputation for having expensive health care, and it's 100% true,

  • unfortunately.

  • So if you're in the US and you have some kind of minor health problem, like you need an

  • antibiotic or you need a couple stitches, I recommend go into a place like a MedExpress.

  • This is the brand of this type of clinic, but there's other brand names of that as well.

  • But, it's a kind of fast emergency room-type service, but it's not the hospital emergency

  • room.

  • If you go to the emergency room at the hospital, that should be for serious issues.

  • That's going to cost several thousand dollars minimum.

  • But if you go to a MedExpress, you can walk in, you can see a doctor usually within an

  • hour, and your visit will probably be less than $200.

  • That's what I do whenever I need something quick and I don't want to ... Especially if

  • I'm in a different city where I don't have a personal doctor there, I'll just go to a

  • MedExpress and it's a kind of quick fix.

  • If you're really concerned that something serious might happen while you're traveling

  • in the US and you don't want to have to go to the ER and pay full price for something,

  • you can always get travel insurance.

  • I don't have any personal experience with buying travel insurance for the US because

  • I'm a US citizen and I've bought it for traveling to other countries, but you can always type

  • into Google travel insurance for visiting the US or something like that, and you could

  • probably find some companies that will give you short-term insurance for one week or two

  • weeks when you're visiting.