Having Fun

What sports are popular in the United States?

Baseball, basketball, and American football (which is quite different from soccer) are the most popular team sports both to watch and play in the United States. Golf, tennis, and bowling are among some of the popular individual sports. Sports in general are tremendously popular in American culture. If you would like to know more about a certain sport, ask an American friend to explain the rules to you.

Where can I go to exercise?

Your school may have a recreation or exercise center with a swimming pool, weight room, sauna, gymnasium, tennis and racquetball courts, basketball courts, and sometimes even a track for running. Many schools also have aerobics classes, in which the group does exercises to music. If there is no such center on your campus, you may want to join the local YMCA, YWCA, or a private health club, though membership in such clubs can be expensive.

What if I want to play team sports?

Most schools sponsor intramural teams for students who want to play basketball, volleyball, softball, football, and even soccer. In some cases you will need to form your own team, made up of friends, residents of your dormitory, or students with the same major. These teams offer a good way to have fun and meet people. If your school doesn't have such activities, check with your city's recreation department.

What else can I do for entertainment?

Schools have social activities going on almost every day, including drama, lectures, concerts, movies, dances, parties, club meetings, and sporting events. You may find that your American friends would rather "go out and do something" than just sit and talk. Even while at home, Americans often prefer to play games or watch television together.

What are some good places to visit?

You probably won't have to travel far to go sightseeing. Consult your local chamber of commerce or visitor's bureau, or ask your American friends about interesting places in your area. Most large cities have museums, historical buildings, zoos, gardens, and parks that are open to the public. In addition, you may be close to a state or national park, or an amusement park. Many communities also have fairs, rodeos, circuses, parades, and even programs by schoolchildren that are fun and will give you an interesting picture of American life.

Who pays when friends go out together?

Americans often go out together with each person paying his or her own part of the cost. This is sometimes called "Dutch treat" or "going Dutch." If you don't know whether you are expected to pay for yourself, ask the person with whom you are going out.

Generally, the only times you should pay for the other person are when a man asks a woman out on a date or when you take someone out for his or her birthday or farewell party. Also, if a person is doing job-related work during lunch and asks a co-worker to join him or her, the person who asks usually pays for the meal.

What are some guidelines for dress?

For most social occasions, especially among college and university students, blue jeans or casual slacks are proper for both men and women. Occasions such as a wedding banquet, some church services, or dinner in a nice restaurant require semi-formal clothing (suits for men, dresses for women). For some semi-formal occasions, you may wish to wear your native dress. If you're not sure what clothing to wear, ask an American friend what he or she would wear.

What if I would rather not participate in a certain occasion or activity?

If your friends ask you to do something which you would rather not do or something that makes you feel uncomfortable, don't feel that you have to join them. Simply say, "No, thank you."

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