Diane Asitimbay What's Up America?

ISBN 13: 9780975927601

What's Up America?

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9780975927601: What's Up America?
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An irreverent and witty guide to understanding American behavior that explains why Americans act the way they do, drawing on twenty years of experience helping international visitors adjust to the United States. Unique in its format, readers get a visual picture of the American people in illustrations, pie charts, and informational graphics. Original.

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About the Author:

Diane Asitimbay holds a degree in international relations, and has more than twenty years of experience working with international people. Widely traveled through Europe and Latin America, Asitimbay has long advocated the need for cross-cultural awareness. She is bilingual in Spanish, and is the author of numerous articles on culture.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Unlike other books that will tell you what American culture is, What’s Up America? tackles the why questions foreigners ask Americans and no one wants to answer. This book explains the values behind what Americans do. In doing so, it uncovers the hidden rules of the culture and for the first time, reveals the American psyche to foreigners.

Foreigners are often puzzled by Americans. They watch CNN, listen to Britney Spears, and buy sweaters at the Gap. Some foreigners may even feel American by the way they dress or talk. Yet when they visit or stay in the United States, there are many paradoxes in our culture that are hard to understand.

Street signs, for example, list the many activities Americans cannot do, yet isn’t this the land of the free? Or, after international people have watched the life of leisure shown in American films, some of them may be shocked to see American urban streets paved not only with the wealthy eating in gourmet restaurants but also with the homeless sleeping in doorways. How many international visitors are searching for a real live cowboy? Are any of us avoiding New York for fear of getting mugged by all the people stepping out of The Gangs of New York?

The influence of American pop culture and media around the world is enormous. Pop culture and images of Americans on TV and film are our largest exports, and they are not even counted in the Gross Domestic Product!

What’s Up America? sets out to take the image of Americans out of the television tube and makes them into real live three-dimensional people, with their myths, paradoxes and prejudices. By examining twenty aspects of the American character and lifestyle, it unlocks the secrets of how Americans really live. It will take the international visitor inside the culture to reveal American passions and obsessions up close, where the landscape is often different from what was expected.

While I was writing this book, I realized the risks. We all know Americans come in all shapes and sizes, as do our mindsets and beliefs. Because of our differences, some Americans believe that it is impossible to generalize about American culture without turning to stereotypes. While I realize there are variations on what I have written about American culture, I do believe there are distinguishing cultural patterns that identify American behavior. Though I have made judgments about my culture and people throughout the book, I have often shown the cultural habits of not only the mainstream culture, but also the ethnic subcultures. I have also taken into account some of the regional differences in the United States.

Though What’s Up America? aims to reduce the culture shock that foreigners face, it is also for Americans who want to broaden their world view. The book compares American cultural habits to other parts of the world. This offers a unique global perspective to American readers. If Americans become more curious about people from other countries and learn something about their cultural habits, it will improve our friendships and business relationships with our global partners.

Since the Internet and cell phone have shrunk the world into a size that everyone is talking about, I believe the international perspective in What’s Up America? makes this book unlike any other handbook.

These international comparisons are based on my travels and work abroad as a journalist as well as the numerous discussions with international students inside and outside the classroom. The book is also supported by research, ranging from the 2000 U.S. Census reports to current surveys cited at the end of the book. Though the Census is taken every ten years in the United States, I have included government updates whenever they were available. Every effort has been made to make this book as complete and as accurate as possible. Graphs throughout the book illustrate facts and figures about Americans, which I hope readers will find useful.

From candid reflections on the American family, to detailed explanations of the American mindset, this book can be referred to when you have questions about the American landscape and people. It is my hope that these insights into the American character will help those who visit or live in the United States have a more valuable experience. What’s Up America? can serve as an indispensable tool for Americans who have traveled abroad, plan a trip, or who have contact with international people.

Think of it as a road trip, with every chapter a place to stop and look around at the American landscape. Wherever you are in the journey of your American experience, I would love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your suggestions and comments.Box 3538, San Diego, CA 92163. Your feedback will contribute valuable information that I will pass on to others through revisions of this book.

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Diane Asitimbay
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