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Discover the United States of America

Etats-Unis - ENG


Capital city



324 811 0003 inhabitants (2016)


UTC -5 to -10

Internet domain


Internet domain

American dollar (USD)
Area 9 833 5172 km2

It is difficult to sum up this country of multiple contrasts, with its 50 states, in a few images. As the world's largest economic power, the United States is synonymous with global success in a multitude of fields, including technology, higher education, science and more.

Explored in 1792 by Europeans, it was first inhabited by the Amerindians about 15,000 years ago. Rich in history and culture, it is quite simply an extraordinary country, with an incredible conquering spirit, raising the interest of the entire planet.

Who has never dreamed of discovering the United States? Because of its richness and its very important tourist offer, you will find everything you dream of. So, are you ready for a little getaway in the land of Uncle Sam?

Welcome to the States !

discover USA


  • Americans are crazy about doughnuts.
  • Most Americans are overweight due to "junk food."
  • Americans are the most patriotic people in the world...
  • Americans are fans of American football
  • Americans are the leaders in consumer spending
  • Americans think the one and only coffee is bought at Starbucks Coffee...

We remind you that these are clichés and this country may well surprise you during your student trip to the United States.

Languages spoken in the United States

No official language has been adopted by the American Federation. English is the official language of 31 states and is spoken by the majority of Americans. But here's the small list of the most spoken languages in the United States:

  • English: 229.7 million inhabitants
  • Spanish: 37.0 million inhabitants
  • Chinese: 2.8 million inhabitants
  • French: 2.1 million inhabitants
  • Tagalog: 1.6 million inhabitants
  • Vietnamese: 1.4 million inhabitants
  • Korean: 1.1 million inhabitants
  • German: 1.1 million inhabitants

Politics and religion


America is a former British colony that gained independence in 1787. The United States is a federation of states, organized as a Republic, with a system based on the principle of the separation of the three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The President of this Republic is elected for four years by indirect universal suffrage by the electorate. His term of office is renewable once.

Since November 9, 2016, Donald Trump is the new and 45th President of the United States.


Again, there are many religions in the United States. The separation of church and state took place in the 18th century. Nevertheless, still very important in the American society, one speaks today of "civil religion".

Here's a small compendium of the religions in the United States:

  • Christianity: 68% (47% Protestants and 21% Catholics)
  • Islam : 3.9%
  • Judaism: 1.9%.
  • Buddhism: 0.7%.
  • Hinduism: 0.7%.
  • Other religions: 1.8%.
  • 6% of the American population is atheist.

You might as well know that the United States is a highly diverse country. Enough to make great discoveries during your student trip.

American cuisine

American cuisine is enormously stereotyped. It is thought that Americans spend their lives at "Mac Donald's" or in pizzerias. There are fast food restaurants on almost every street corner, but don't be fooled! Americans also have a certain gastronomic culture that might surprise you!

What is more and more in vogue in America is junk food. Although they are the cause of several health problems (Junk Food is low in nutritional intake and high in calories), including obesity, diabetes and depression, they are consumed by more than 25% of the population.

Good to know: there are snack food vendors on every street corner. So you don't have to worry about finding a restaurant if you get a little hungry during the day.

We are now going to tell you about some typical dishes from the United States:

  • Meatloaf: it is ground beef cooked in the shape of a loaf of bread. In restaurants, it is usually served with mashed potatoes. It has been a popular dish in the United States since the crisis of the 1930s because it is consistent and inexpensive.
  • The steak & egg: as its name suggests, this is a dish made up of a beef steak and an egg in superimposition. It is often served for breakfast. Don't forget that breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day. This is what most Americans take to the letter!
  • Sloppy Joes: it's a hamburger served with ground meat. To accommodate whatever tempts us.
  • The new england clam chowder is a pot of clams, pork, onions and potatoes.
  • Ribs: a popular dish in the United States

A large choice of American drinks is also to be tested:

  • Floats or ice cream sodas: this is a soda such as Coca Cola mixed with vanilla ice cream.
  • Bourbon: it's THE American Whisky by excellence! So let yourself be tempted in moderation during your student trip to the United States.

And for the most greedy among you, here are some desserts not to be missed:

  • Pumpkin Pie: this sweet dessert served with cream is a Thanksgiving tradition, most often eaten between September and November.
  • Carrot cake: this is a sweet and spicy carrot and nut cake, topped with a creamy white icing.
  • Cupcakes : they are more and more widespread all over the world, especially in France, but it is in the United States where you will find the most of them. They are small round cakes like sponge cakes, topped with a sweet butter icing. They come in all colours and therefore in all tastes.
  • Whoopies pie : It's like a mini cake sandwich in the shape of a flying saucer, with a creamy filling in the middle.
american food

American Eating Habits :

  • Breakfast : it's the American breakfast. It's sweet and savory just like French brunch.
  • Lunch is usually around 11:30.
  • In the evening we have usually dinner around 5:30 pm
  • Happy hours are between 4:00 and 7:00
  • Please note that in restaurants, a large glass of iced water is automatically brought to you upon arrival.

Things not to do!

As everywhere, there are habits to leave behind when travelling in our home country. The same is true when you go on a student trip to the United States. We are going to brief you on the few gestures/behaviours not to do during this trip:

  • In the United States, we don't kiss each other hello, but we hug each other, accompanied by a frank pat on the top of the back. You can also offer a big handshake if you feel it better (if the American crushes your knuckles, it's a sign that he trusts you, so think about it).
  • Never be late, it is customary to arrive on time in the United States, or even earlier.
  • Do not double up in queues in any place (cinemas, fast food restaurants etc.). Not only is it frowned upon, but you will most certainly be noticed. Until you put yourself in your place for the most frustrated by this type of behaviour!

Good to know: never exceeding the rules of manners, it is possible that the bus driver calls you "baby", that at the supermarket you are asked what you are going to do with your bottles of alcohol or that in the street you are asked where your beautiful shoes come from. Don't worry, this is normal and if it bothers you, try to answer with a yes or no with your nice smile.

You should also know that in the United States, although you are not on first-name terms because the "you" expresses both, it is customary to call your superiors (professors, bankers, etc.) by their first name.

There you go! Once you've assimilated all of this, you'll look like an American on your student trip to the United States!

Sex, drugs & Rock’n’Roll


There are no common smoking laws throughout the United States. Each state imposes its own legislation. Nevertheless, they have all opted to ban smoking in public places.

As regards the legal age for buying cigarettes, it still depends on the states. It varies between 18 and 21 years of age.

Pour en savoir plus sur le prix des cigarettes et autres produits du quotidien, rendez-vous dans Coût de la vie.


It is not possible to buy and consume alcohol before the age of 21 in the United States. Nevertheless, a few states tolerate the consumption of alcohol from the age of 18, in the presence of a parent in a private place.

The permitted level of alcohol when driving is: 0.8 g/l of blood


Like cigarettes, cannabis legislation depends on the state you are in. Some countries allow its use for medical or recreational purposes. So here are the four possible uses depending on the state:

  • legalized use
  • decriminalized use
  • use only legalized in a therapeutic setting
  • illegal use


Prostitution is strictly prohibited in the United States, with the exception of ten counties in Nevada where it is regulated.


Various holidays and public holidays similar or not to France are celebrated throughout the country.


January 1st- New Year's Day (public holiday)

January 16: Marthin Luther King Day (holiday).


February 14: Valentine's Day
February 20: President's Day (statutory holiday)


8 March: International Women's Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day


May 28: Remembrance Day (Fallen Soldiers) (holiday)


21 June: International Music Day


4 July: Independence Day (public holiday)


5 September: Labour Day (public holiday)


October 10: Christophe Colombe Day (public holiday)
October 31: Halloween


November 11: Veteran's Day (statutory holiday)
November 24: Thanksgiving (holiday)


December 25: Christmas (holiday)

And yes, discovering the United States also means traveling through the history of the country by celebrating with Americans their various festivities that are dear to them.

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