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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

Date: Oct 26 2013

Topic: Conversational English

Author: englishteacher24/7


A. Forum goals:

  • Provide information on other cultures from the readers.
  • Identify the relationships between culture and language.
  • Provide information on English-speaking cultures to develop an understanding of the English language used in a particular country.

B. Introduction:

  • Cultural influence - Culture has a direct influence on the language(s) used in society. Learning the culture of a society can identify some general characteristics of its people.
  • Cultural factors - Factors such as religion, economics, traditions, customs, natural resources, and politics influences culture.
  • Benefits of learning other cultures - Information about other cultures can help us to understand why people of a society do the things they do, even within the same country. Therefore, let us use this opportunity to learn from each other and seek to improve ourselves.


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United States

Thanks Zaahra, I wish you well in your car purchase and future endeavors.

05:51 AM Aug 12 2015 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Dear Alston

Thanks for sharing your nice memories with us. I did Enjoy your style of writng as well as your memories. they remined me about my own memories of dormitory and college.

likewise, I crave to buy a car as soon as I’ll be on high incomes. By the way, I wish I could contact with either your friend, Danny or his brother. it seems they can even respond to my questions…..

09:07 PM Aug 10 2015 |


United States

Sourapple, thanks for your feedback and it’s enlightening to hear your perspective. During that time things were quite different than now.

Many college graduates are having a challenging time getting a good job after graduation except for students in certain fields like software developers, especially gaming.

Concerning other aspects of American culture, I suggest you to scroll back to previous posts and you may find something culturally interesting.

I’ve learned myself from people writing in.  Anyway, welcome to the forum.

Lesya, it’s always good to read your comments because you write straight from the heart. Concerning my ‘74 Trans Am, I’d like to buy another one and double dip shaving off 20 years or so!

No, the college cafeteria food was not free, but included in the housing portion of the college tuition.

Once again, thanks for your continued support.

06:03 AM Jul 11 2015 |




Dearest, Alston. :)

All parts of your biography are not only informative, cognitive but they make you closer to us in the personal point of view (for me anyway).  

You are like an open book for me owing to your great posts and I truly enjoy it with all my heart.

Your car 1974 Firebird Trans Am looks quite impressive, cool and stylish :) I wish I could get a ride with you in this car :-)))) 

The only question along your post. You said that any student could eat in any cafeteria as long he showed his school ID card. The meal was free of charge? 

With my best wishes ♡

07:07 AM Jul 10 2015 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Hell Mr.Alston your article was very interesting and detailed; but for me pesonally was mainly beneficial from a linguistic point of view. I have learnt many phrases from this article; but from a cultural view i think you can focus on more specific cultural items that could aware us as the audience from the american culture ;

one intresting point of your article was your employment immediately after your graduation it was intersting to me because in our country unemployment is a really serious problem.

by the way thank you for your intresting article


07:37 PM Jul 09 2015 |


United States

Jennifer, I got it. You were correct the first time, thanks!

Anja, I appreciate your feedback and accolades. It’s always good to hear from you, thanks!

06:44 PM Jul 09 2015 |

1 person likes this




Once again, I enjoyed reading about another radical shake-up in your home country, Alston. You captivated us as viewers of some rather memorable moments in the rich and diverse history of the U.S.

Please continue being such a great source of information a n d inspiration. Personally, following you helps me to improve my writing skills when it comes to describing dramatic scenes. Imagine the excitement once I came to the part with the detention in disguise ;-)

Many thanks…till next time :)

03:41 PM Jul 08 2015 |


United States


@ its all about learning different cultures.

10:32 AM Jul 07 2015 |


United States

WobblyJoe, your comments are “right on.” Despite the many differences in American culture, there is a commonality that transcends these differences.

What a social experiment to be a nation made up of 100% immigrants (not withstanding Native Americans who was previously honored) with differences from A to Z and still come together to raise to the level it is.

Thanks for your contribution to the “Growing up in the U.S.” story and to Easypeasy for inspiring it.

09:12 PM Jul 06 2015 |



United States

Mr. Alstons post on Growing up in America describes things that are so typical of an American experience. Mr. Alston is telling more than his personal story, the things he has described are so typical of life here that many of the things he mentions form the basis of aspects of American culture.

Our love of cars, for example, is usually born in the hearts of teenagers who cruised on weekends in freshly shined cars and retained that love of cars for the rest of our lives.

It was true in my grandfathers time, it was true in my sons time. On a much smaller scale than in Detroit, cruising is still found in towns and cities across the nation.

Except for the things that are obviously unique to an individual, Mr. Alstons’ excellent summary of growing up in the US is so accurate it makes me wonder just how “individual” we Americans actually are!

03:27 PM Jul 05 2015 |


United States

Qazal, you have a friend here, welcome.

Jennifer, you have good insight, however, what is your subject (It)?

KateMcKinai, continue making progress, thanks for sharing your methods.

06:58 AM Jul 05 2015 |



Being native Portugese, I have been learning English very effective and in an interesting way via Skype on English courses
If you doubts, you should try, indeed;)
I tried to learn English on busuu | Learn Spanish, French, English and other languages for free by myself, but I lacked some power of will. Now I’m studying at English courses and everything seems to be fine. I can see the progress.

10:08 AM Jul 03 2015 |


United States

‘bout learning different cultures.

1)It helps you develop your own personality and broaden your perspective on the world. It opens up the idea that there are billions of different kinds of ideas and experiences that the world has to offer.

2)It opens up a door of opportunities for your career as you can relate to different people from all over the world.

If you’re interested in learning about other cultures, the best way is to live abroad in a different country for a while and experience the culture first hand. I did last year, when I lived in california for a year and interned and volunteered.

06:07 AM Jul 03 2015 |


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

hi guys.I’m qazal 24 female from north of Iran and I’m here to find a friend in other place with native English speaking, I’m in starter level

if you have telegram app , save my number and call me


12:29 PM Jul 02 2015 |


United States

S&W, congratulations for reading through my college story.

I had reservations about the length of it, but I wanted to get through to the part of my first job.

The more you read and understand English, the better you will be able to acquire English. Keep up the good work!




What a long and wonderful story it is!! I used two days to finish my reading.Definitely,College is a very special and unforgettable time for everyone.thanks to dad always there for helping.


United States

Growing up in the U.S. 1970-1979 (Part 3B)

National Life

What a difference the changing of a decade can make. The end of the 1960’s was like the end of a theatre play that ended and the curtains were dropped.

The 1970’s were not a continuation of the 1960’s. It was as if the majority of the country took a pause to digest what occurred during the 60’s. The Vietnam War continued along with anti-war protests climaxing in the deaths of 4 students killed at Kent State University by Ohio national guardsmen.

The Civil Rights Movement gained some political ground with the passing of the Civil Rights and Voting Acts signed by President Johnson. During the 1970’s, the US government and American businesses began to implement programs and corporate standards to distance themselves from discrimination and injustice which was prevalent in the past.

Nevertheless, activities during the 60’s caused a backlash from some in the majority of the American public (whom President Nixon labeled as the “Silent Majority”). The Great Society programs initiated by President Johnson in part was expanded in the 70’s but some were dismantled. Some in the middle class objected to their tax dollars being spent on social programs and opposition groups formed.

President Nixon resigned the office of presidency due to the Watergate scandal but ended the war in Vietnam before his resignation.

There were two oil crisis where the OPEC group stopped exporting oil to the US which affected the economy.

The music industry experienced big changes in the genres with rock music being over-shadowed by soft rock, jazz music with smooth jazz, and the introduction of disco music. The Motown sound (soul music) and blues music being relabeled as R&B.

A major conscience awakening activity promoted during the 70’s was concern for the environment, i.e. air and water quality, emission from vehicles, factories and the quality of the food supply. In addition, people were concerned about their personal life habits such as smoking, drinking, over-eating, exercising and others.

Furthermore, the Women Rights Movement challenged society by making their concerns known for the equal treatment of women.

The hippy counter-culture of the 1960’s did not have the same cultural influence in the 1970’s, although some of their ideology did influence mainstream society.

College Days

After graduating from high school it was 6 months before I attended college. Therefore, I worked and paid my first quarter tuition and housing costs.

Leaving home for college

When the time came to attend college (which was located in up-state Michigan far from home) my dad accompanied me and we rode a bus to the college for entry into the dorm. After getting settled in, we bid each other farewell and dad returned home.

The dorm was an 11-story building nick-named “The Zoo” by the students. It was an all-male dorm located next to a shorter all-girls dorm. These were the dorms where the freshmen stayed.

The male dorm earned its name because it housed many new students away from home who acted somewhat crazy at times. Many students had mini refrigerators and hot plates along with stereos. On the main floor there were study areas with typewriters, a main lobby with couch and TV and a sign-in area. Also on the main floor was a place to purchase snacks at certain hours.

Dorm rooms & Roommates

Each room was connected to another room with a common bathroom. There were two students per room for a total of 4 students per suite. Therefore, the person in your room was called a “roommate” and the other two students in the other room were called “suitemates.”

One of my roommates was a football player on the college team and at another time I had a roommate from Florida. His name was Danny who had a sense of humor. One of his tales was that between him and his brother, they knew  EVERYTHING!

So I tested him by asking him a question, his answer was, “I don’t know, but my brother knows!” So I asked him another question, and his answer was, “I don’t know, but my brother knows!” So I asked him a third question and his response was, “I don’t know, but my brother knows!”

I said to him, “Danny man, it looks like your brother knows everything and you don’t know nothing!” (double negative) We both laughed.

A Typical School Day

My day started with breakfast in the cafeteria located next to the dorm. The boys and girls shared the same cafeteria and cafeterias were located throughout the campus. Any student could eat in any cafeteria as long as you showed your school ID card.

My classes lasted from 8:00am-4:00 Monday through Friday and sometimes I had a late class. The classes were clear across campus and I had to walk unless I hitched a ride with someone. In the winter it was good to get a ride with someone instead of walking in the snow.

Sometimes I got a ride with a student that had a Firebird Formula and his sports car impressed me so that I wanted to own one after I graduated.

Freshmen could not bring their car to campus during their first quarter; parking was limited.

The instructors were very knowledgeable and had connections with important people in the automotive industry. I would benefit from this for my first job as I’ll describe later.

During class, students would help each other, if necessary. We had a lot of information to digest. At lunch time we went to the nearest cafeteria or to an off-campus restaurant to eat, and then we returned to class.

At the end of the school day, I’d walk back to my dorm, drop off my books and head down to the cafeteria. Cafeteria food was acceptable, although the scrambled eggs were not real eggs. Periodically the cafeteria would have a steak day and that was a good treat!

After dinner, I’d return to my room, chat with my roommate and then start doing homework. Sometimes I went to the library for a class project.  This routine was repeated until the weekend.

Weekend Entertainment

After going through the week, students were ready for the weekend. Some students drove back to their homes, some went to other campuses and many stayed on campus.

For those who stayed on campus, there were two popular places: “Winter’s Creek Club” and “The Alibi.” Of the two, the Creek Club was the most popular and there was usually a line to get in. They had a lighted dance floor with a live band; during the recess, a disc jockey played popular music.

When the DJ played certain songs, the guys immediately started asking girls for a dance. If the girl didn’t like the guy, she wouldn’t accept the dance. The same held true at The Alibi.

There were also students who lived off-campus but this was not permitted for freshmen. 

Finally, there was married housing for students who were married. They were a small minority of the student body.

Eating Out

Sometimes students wanted additional food (other than cafeteria food) and bought food from restaurants in town. A popular treat was ordering a pizza or submarine sandwich. Beer was a common beverage with college students back then and fraternity/sorority organizations were well-known for their beer parties.

Stranded on the highway

After the first term I was allowed to bring my second car (1965 Ford Galaxie 500) on campus, therefore, I returned home to get it. It was loaded with a lot of personal items, my stereo and other items. 

At the departure time to make the drive back to college, I had mechanical trouble on the highway and my vehicle cut off and I was stranded on the side of the highway in a severe storm. What a bummer! I walked to the nearest phone at a gas station and called home to alert my parents of my dilemma; once again my dad came through and drove me back to school.

Life on campus with a car

Ultimately my vehicle was repaired and I was able to have it on campus. What a difference having a car on campus makes. For example, it meant I could drive to class, take a cruise or drive wherever during my free time. In addition a classmate friend also had his car on campus and we did car things together.

Final School Term

During my last term in college various recruiters came to campus to seek students to accept employment with their companies. I wanted to work in an automotive research and development facility. None of the major car companies were among the recruiters.

However, I had an instructor who had contacts with an important person in an automotive company. My instructor asked me if I would be interested in working in their facility. I replied “Yes!” As a result, he made the arrangements and I was instructed to report to the facility the day after my graduation commencement.

Graduation Ceremony

As you can imagine, this was a very satisfying experience. My parents, two main friends and a couple of neighbors came up to attend the graduation ceremonies.

We had a celebration the night before and enjoyed ourselves. After the ceremony, I bided farewell to my fellow students and we returned home. 

First job after college

The graduation ceremony was on Sunday, and Monday I reported to my new job as instructed. The first day involved meeting the human resource person and filling out paper work and going through an orientation session.

The company had numerous engineering laboratories such as: mechanical, brakes, safety, air conditioning, and fuels and lubrication. I was assigned to the mechanical lab where were tested various automotive components. Eventually I was rotated to all of the other labs.

It was a very interesting job working on prototype vehicles that were not yet on the market and working at the test track.

First new car

Now that I was working with a steady income, my first goal was to purchase a Firebird sports car after being impressed by my fellow college student. After seeing a Firebird Trans Am, it was more desirable than the Firebird Formula 400.

Because the American economy is credit-based, the majority of people finance paying for a new vehicle by taking out a loan from a financial institution. Therefore, I applied for a membership in a credit union, ordered a new 1974 Firebird Trans Am (sight unseen) and received it when it arrived. 

It was a gorgeous sports car, white exterior and interior, 4-speed manual transmission (4-on-the-floor) and most options.

I had my share of speeding tickets, it seems like the cops was coming out of the trunk!


Cruising on Woodward Avenue

Americans have a love affair with the automobile, more so years ago. One of the favorite American past-times (for some) is ”Cruising.” Cruising is when you drive or ride in a luxury or sports car and enjoy the ride while listening to music and watching the scenery.

In the Detroit metropolitan area, sports car owners would cruise Woodward Ave in the suburbs to compete with other sports cars. This infamous street was a 3-4 lane highway in both directions with lights 0.5-1 mile or longer apart. Therefore, cars raced from light to light.

Well, I was cruising Woodward Ave. with my best friend and along came a red 1974 Firebird Trans Am and we both coasted to the traffic light that turn red. You can imagine what happened.

In a moment of indiscretion, when the traffic light turned green we both took off and the race was on. Two Trans Ams with engines roaring against each other to see who would win the race. It ended in a tie and we faded away from each other afterwards.

Along the way there were various drive-in restaurants, parks, or parking lots where young people would hang out, check out each other cars or whatever.



The links above give a brief history of cruising Woodward Avenue and now there is an annual event in celebration on this memory that draws over a million people and 30,000-40,000 old cars to cruise Woodward.

Off to Jail

Back in the day, the Detroit Police could pull you over for any or no reason. Well one day I was driving in Detroit proudly driving the speed limit and the cops pulled me over. Officer comes to my window and asked me for my driver’s license and vehicle registration. Opps, I never left home without my driver’s license, but this time I left my driver’s license at home!

Officer says he has to take me to the police station (jail) for driving without a license. So he handcuffed me and put me in the back seat of the police car. Another officer drove my car to the station.

On the way there, we talked about muscle cars all the way to the police station.

Once there, I was allowed to make a phone call and got news to my dad to bring my license. Dad came and got me out of jail and the police returned my car.

At this point in this article I will separate the remainder of “Growing up in the US – 1970-1979 into another part. 

The next part (Part 3C) will cover:

Moving out of the house, New Birth Experience, Marriage, and Change of Life Style.

Thank you for your patience and I welcome your comments! 


United States

Hello Easypeasy, your presumption is correct in that my photography teachers’ grading policy didn’t happen often.  However, a certain art teacher that he interacted with may have had a similar mindset.  I don’t know what other teachers thought about his grading policy but I presume that they would have thought that was his choice anfdwould not judge him.

The teachers during the 1960’s and 1970’s had a lot more liberty than the teachers of today. Today there are more restrictions due to standardization of curriculums by educational authorities.

06:45 AM Jun 03 2015 |




Mr. Alston, it surprises me that your photography teacher let you choose which grades you want to have. Something like that doesn’t happen often at schools (I think). It seems to be a good idea, since students are more motivated by the work itself than only because they want to receive good grades (or/and the pressure that they have to receive a good grade).

Do you know what other teachers thought about his grading policy?


United States

Hello Lesya, you know the show doesn’t go on until you weigh in!

It’s an eye opener for me to learn that the groups mentioned were in your school as well. All of the groups are still in existence with the exception of traditional “hippies.”

Speaking of hippies, my high school photography teacher was a hippy and on the first day of class, he told us his grading policy. And his grading policy was that you could choose whatever grade you wanted and that would be your grade!

I believe his logic was that if you selected an “A” you would strive to achieve that level of photography, and it seems he was correct.  The students in his class were totally serious about photography.

I also was a free-spirit type in high school and college. College was a totally new experience for me that I’ll reveal in the next post.  Thanks for your feedback.

Wzf282q, culture shapes our thinking and without exposure or knowledge of other cultures, we have nothing to compare.  If we’re among trees, we see other trees only, but if we are in an airplane and look down, we see a forest.

You are correct in the fact that most humans want similar things for themselves and their families.  Thanks for your contribution.

Slephip, thanks for weighing in and letting us know about your 1960’s fashion assignment and the related parts in the article.  I’m delighted you found the post interesting.

In California, the legal age to receive a driver’s license is 16 years and there are some conditions and restrictions.

Concerning the next part, I’ve already started to write and hopefully I can post it by the weekend.

If anyone is interested in listening to the music that was during the 1960’s and 1970’s please go the Relaxation Lounge on my profile page under the Classic Rock and Soul Music genres. I grew up with these songs during Jr. High, High School and College.

If anyone just joined reading this post and want to read the full story, please scroll back to May 25, 2015 for Part 3A of Growing up in the United States- 1970-1979, 1960-1969 posted on April 15 and the 1950’s-1959 posted on April 10, 2015.

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