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Intrax Country Information USAUSA

The United States of America is often known as "the land of opportunity". Although only a few manage to live the dream and make the jump from dish washer to millionaire, thousands of people each year want to start a new life in the USA.
Whether you were drawn here by the multicultural life in the streets of New York, the wealth of Los Angeles, the bright lights of gambling capital Las Vegas, or the artistic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, the USA guarantees unique experiences, not least due to the hospitality of the American people.
With its 50 federal states, the USA is the third largest country in the world and with its huge north-south expanse stretching from cool Alaska to sub-tropical California, it offers almost all climates and scenery. As well as the big, vibrant cities, there are the endless, empty expanses of countryside. You can find breathtaking beaches, but also barren deserts.

Its strong economy and its title as the last superpower guarantee the USA's huge political and economic influence on the whole world. Coca Cola is the most recognized brand in the world and regardless of whether you're a Microsoft or an Apple fan, both computer giants come from the US. America's influence is also clear in other areas: American pop culture, which emerged in the 1930s through the mass media, with its Hollywood blockbusters, pop stars, fashion designers and It Girls, has almost as huge a presence here in Europe as it has on the other side of the pond. America is truly a land of contrasts and you can confidently say, "Everything’s bigger over there!"
 

Did you know...? 

  • At 86 metres below sea level, Death Valley is the lowest point in the United States, and Mount McKinley/Denali (6.194m above sea level) is the highest.
  • The northernmost moderate rainforest in the world lies on the Olympic Peninsula, near Seattle.
  • Jazz was the first independent music form in the USA and emerged at the beginning of the 20th century in New Orleans. Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie are amongst the best-known jazz musicians.
  • New York City has 930 kilometers of coastline altogether.
  • The White House in Washinton D.C. has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 8 staircases, 3 lifts, a swimming pool, a tennis court, a cinema room and a basketball court.
  • The first telephone book in the USA appeared in 1878 in New Haven, Connecticut. It was one page long and listed 50 names.
  • On the 29th March 1848, Niagara Falls stopped flowing for 30 hours, due to being iced over.
  • If you were to stand on top of a skyscraper in New York, you would be able to see snow falling while the people below, on the streets, would still be experiencing rain.


Info at a glance

  Continent North America
  Official language No official language named; de facto English
  Capital Washington D.C.
  Area 9,823,630 square km
  Population approx. 310 million
  Average age 36.7 years old
  Ethnic groups 74% European origin, 13% Aftican origin, 13% Latin American origin, 4% Asian origin, 1% Native American, 0.2% Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders
  Government Presidential Federal Republic
  Religion 52% Protestant, 24.5% Catholic, 3% Orthodox, 2% Mormon, 1.4% other Christian, 1.7% Jewish, 0.7% Buddhist, 0.5% Muslim,  15% other/no religious beliefs
  Currenct US Dollar (1$ = 100 Cent)
  Time zone GMT-5 to GMT-10
  Telephone country code +1
  Voltage 120 volt, 60 hertz, adapter recommended
  National holiday 4th July (1776), Independence Day
  Sights New York (Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty), Washington D.C. (White House), Boston, Florida, Memphis, San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz), Grand Canyon, Alaska, Hawaii, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles (Hollywood, Walk of Fame), Niagara Falls, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, Mount Rushmore
  Berühmte Amerikaner Ernest Hemmingway (author), Wright brothers, Rosa Parks (civil rights campaigner), John F. Kennedy (politician), Johnny Cash (country singer), George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (directors), Eldrick "Tiger" Woods (golfer), Cindy Crawford (model), Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt (actors), Pink and Michael Jackson (pop stars), etc.


Country Info and Tips for the USA

Here you will find a selection of sources which will give you a variety of information about the country and its culture. Use this to find out more about your favourite country and prepare for your stay there. If you have tips of your own, which do not already appear here, we would, of course, be delighted to hear them and to include them in our list. We hope you enjoy discovering more about this wonderful country via these links!

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Books
 

The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation - Jim Cullen
ISBN: 978-0195173253, Oxford
A history of the political ideals that have shaped the US as we know it today.

United States of America (Culture Shock!): A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette - Esther Waning
ISBN: 978-0761455035, Marshall Cavendish
A comprehensive introduction to the culture, everyday life, society and politics of the USA. Through its 300 pages, you will discover (almost) everything about the origins of present-day America - about the origin of its customs, traditions and quirks of the American people. The book is informative, entertaining and accompanied by plenty of tips, stories and pictures.

American Slang Dictionary and Thesaurus - Mary Elizabeth
ISBN: 978-0764138614, Barron's Educational Series Inc.
Perhaps of most interest to non-native English speakers, word-buffs and students of English, this fun and informative book takes both and alphabetic and thematic approach to the slang words and phrases you are likely to hear - and perhaps begin to say yourself! - during your stay in America.

Experiencing America: Through the Eyes of Visiting Fulbright Scholars: Stories of Foreign Fulbrighters in the United States - Zeeshan-Ul-Hassan Usmani (ed)
ISBN:978-1425936457, Author House
Recipients of the Fulbright scholarship to study in America from around the world give accounts of their experiences of living and studying in various parts of the country. These perspectives are beautifully written and give a real insight into living as a foreigner in the USA for a temporary period.

The Exchange Student Survival Kit – Bettina Hansel
ISBN: 1931930317, Nicholas Brealey Publishing
This book answers all questions that future exchange students might have.

Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry
ISBN: 978-0007266357, Harper Collins
Britain's best-loved comic, Stephen Fry's fascination for America and its people sees him embarking on an epic journey across the country, visiting each of its 50 states to discover how such a huge diversity of people, cultures, languages, beliefs and landscapes combine to create such a remarkable nation. A celebration of the magnificent and the eccentric, the beautiful and the strange, Stephen Fry in America is our author's homage to this extraordinary country. (Adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Notes from a Big County– Bill Bryson
ISBN: 978-0552997867, Black Swan
Notes from a Big Country collects together more than 18 monthsworth of Mail on Sunday columns which Bryson wrote between October 1996 and May 1998 after he and his English wife andchildren returned to the US and settled in New England. The only thing that outshines his amazement--and sometimes,outright dismay--at the way American society has changed while he's been away, is his English-born family's instantembracing of transatlantic culture. (Source: amazon.co.uk)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
ISBN: 978-0141012698, Penguin
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace. (Source: amazon.co.uk)

The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
ISBN: 978-0140292923, Penguin
With this book, John Steinbeck cemented his place in the literary hall of fame. Its publication had an enormous impact: Das Echo in Amerika war bei der Veröffentlichung gewaltig: refutations were written, politicians and archbishops damned the book, the author was declared a people-hater and class warrier - and the voice of the repressed and exploited masses was celebrated.

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Movies

Forrest Gump
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright Penn, Gary Sinise, Sally Field
Forrest Gump is a parody of the American Dream and lifestyle. An ironic critique is given, for example of the Vietnam War or education system.

Remember the Titans
Director: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris
The film is about Herman Boone, a high school football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and his football players, in their first year as a racially integrated team.

Mr. Holland’s Opus
Director: Stephen Herek
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headley, William H. Macy
The composer Glenn Holland took a job as a music teacher in a school in 1964. At first, the job is just a means to and end, in order that he can save money and write a symphony...


Election
Director: Alexander Payne
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Broderick
A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections. (Source: imdb.com)

10 Things I Hate About You
Director: Gil Junger
Starring: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles
remake of the classic Shakespare play "The Taming of the Shrew.", set in a modern day highschool. (Source: imdb.com)

Bowling For Columbine
Director: Michael Moore
In Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore tackles his fellow citizens' love of weapons. A remarkable, often amusing, sometimes unsettling and always entertaining insight into the soul of the superpower. 

Mad Hot Ballroom
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
Starring: Steven Lutvak, Joseph Baker
Delightful documentary film about ballroom-dancing pupils of various nationalities and cultures in New York.

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Web

http://london.usembassy.gov/
The official website of the American Embassy in London. This page includes useful tips for your stay in the USA, as well as visa advice, news, and useful statistics.

www.usatourist.com/
A very informative website, that deals expertly with the numerous attractions and sights of the USA: with plenty of tips and photos!

http://www.washington.org
Find out everything you might want to know about Washington D.C. right here!

http://www.50states.com
Infos über Größe und Bevölkerung, Zeitungen und TV, die größten Städte, wichtige Museen, Sportteams u.v.m. des jeweiligen Staates.

http://www.sportsnetwork.com
Sports in the nation of sports: all sports, all results, all background stories and up-to-date news.

www.nytimes.com/
The website of the newspaper with the largest circulation in the US - the New York Times - offers the most up-to-date information and news in the areas of politics, culture, business and society.

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