Every exchange student wants to visit well-known American cities like Hollywood, New York City, and Washington, D.C., but activities pertaining to everyday life can be much more meaningful and perspective-altering than travel tourism. Whether you are currently hosting an exchange student or are simply curious about what activities are highly American in nature, consider these memorable ideas:
1. Visit a monster truck rally. Consider providing earplugs. Bonus points if the show takes place at a state fair.
2. Shop at Costco, Sam's Club, or another warehouse-style wholesale store. Nothing says America like pallet-sized quantities of the stuff we think we need.
3. Dine at Red Robin. TGI Fridays or Applebee's might be other good options to surround yourself with pop culture nostalgia while chowing down on a mainstream American meal.
4. Take your student trick-or-treating (in costume, of course). You'll come to view Halloween with a new perspective.
5. Go to a high school football game. (American football, that is--not soccer.) The cheerleaders and padded players will prompt your student to say, "It's just like those sitcom T.V. shows." But now your student can smell the acrid sweat from the players and cheer with the crowd.
6. Visit a megachurch. Regardless of one's beliefs, attending a large American church service is definitely a unique experience. And ask around about a good church-based youth group in your community, because many exchange students make true friends there thanks to the lighthearted social games and camaraderie.
7. Go to a country music concert. Dress for the occasion.
8. Visit the local humane society. This explains a lot about why we don't have stray animals wandering around.
9. Seat your student at your family's Thanksgiving table. Pumpkin Pie and cheesecake are much tastier than their odd names imply.
10. Get him or her into prom and the graduation ceremony if you can. These rites of passage are unforgettable. Many schools allow exchange students to walk at graduation even if they are not receiving a diploma.
Other ideas: Snap your student's photo with Santa at the shopping mall. Participate in a (peaceful) flash mob. Attend a rodeo.
Which of these activities have you never done? Which do you consider to be the most American? What would you add to the list?