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The basics
THE USA: Once you arrive

What's popular in... the US? [September 2013]

Game of Thrones is currently one of the most popular TV shows in America

Arriving in a new country to study means jumping into a whole new culture which may well include names or things that don't mean a thing to you. However these can be the key to starting a conversation with a complete stranger, or understanding those references which might otherwise go over your head.

In the first of a new series, we're going to profile what is currently being talked about in some of the most popular study destinations in the world. So if you're beginning your studies abroad soon, you won't feel completely lost or left out. Once you've read this piece, you can even do a little research online, and catch  up with the nation's favourite TV programme, or YouTube a few songs from the current top music acts.

First up is Alex from our American office, in Boston, MA. She fills us in on what past decade is currently being revived through fashion and more in the US:


Who is currently topping the music charts?

'Country-infused rock like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons seems to still be popular here and abroad. The DJ movement is also continuing to gain ground here as names like Calvin Harris continue to collaborate with mainstream pop acts. Jay Z and Kanye West just released new (perhaps overhyped?) albums that only solidify their statuses as the kings of rap and hip hop, respectively.'


What films have just come out?

'Summer is movie season, there’s no way around it. Movie studios here take advantage of everyone wanting to get some air conditioning; and what better way than a fun, entertaining movie? Blockbusters full of special effects (like the new Superman film, Man of Steel) reign supreme as well as cute kids movies (I’m dying to see Monsters University).'


What are the most popular TV shows?

'Reality shows are sadly still ruling the airwaves. Some are good though, I swear! My friends and I are obsessed with Catfish, the MTV show about two guys trying to determine if someone’s online love is real or not. Most of the times it’s not (shocking!), but the journey to get there is amazing.

Scripted dramas are still really popular, like Game of Thrones (can we fast forward to the premiere please?) and Mad Men.'


What slang terms should I be aware of?

'Like most countries, different regions have their own slang; saying one thing in New York could mean something totally different in Alabama. One thing I have noticed about American slang is how words can mean both good and bad things, for example ‘sick’ can mean someone feeling ill, or it can mean incredible (‘Did you see that concert last night? It was sick.’).

A word that will stand the test of time will be ‘cool’; it’s a word my parents have said and it is still ‘cool’ to say ‘cool’ today. Other than those examples, it’s best to listen in to your American peers at school to see what’s "in".'


How should I dress? What’s the biggest fashion trend right now?

'90s, 90s, 90s! Everything old is new again and this is the decade everyone is wearing. Need a crash course? Watch ‘My So Called Life’ reruns and get your fill: floral prints, combat boots, leather, ripped, jeans, crop tops, flannel shirts, etc. As long as they don’t bring back the EXTRA wide leg jeans I unfortunately rocked, I’ll embrace it.'


What are the major political happenings right now? 

'Besides our Commander in Chief, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton seem tapped to run for President in 2016. The media pretty much decided this the day Barack was re-elected! Rubio is the face for the new Republican Party, having a more progressive conservative outlook. Hillary Clinton skirts around actually saying if she will run, but people seem excited at the fact she very well could be our first female president.

Quite recently Rhode Island and Minesotta became the latest states to legalise gay marriage, bringing the total number of states to do so, to thirteen. You might be interested in our recent blog post on popular LGBT communities for students.'


What are the big sports happenings at the moment?

'I’m trying very hard not to only talk about Boston and New England sports news (we tend to do that!). Most sports are in a summer lull at the moment. Baseball's mini-break for their All Stars is now over, though now all new performance enhancing drug controversies have come to light and risk tarnishing "America's Pastime'. The home run derby was a few weeks ago, and it’s always fun to see the Pros shoot them out of the park. NASCAR came to New Hampshire in July (see, told you I’d come back to New England!) and we were all swept in the auto-racing craziness. Football pre-season is starting so the fall period is being eagerly anticipated.'



Read our other installments in the series, looking at what's currently popular in the UK and in Australia.


Find a course or university in America


Study in the USA


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