The idea of being self-sufficient is valued highly in the U.S. Many American kids and teenagers leave home for extended periods of time, often for summer camps or travel. Upon graduating secondary school, many Americans choose colleges and universities outside of and often far from their hometowns. College students generally live on their own or in residence halls with other students while at school for two to four years and many move away from their childhood homes after graduation. After 17 or 18 years, most Americans no longer live at home with their families. They also do their own shopping, laundry, cooking, and pursue careers or studies on their own.
The U.S. is often called a melting pot because its people come from many different backgrounds and cultures, and there are such a wide variety of beliefs, values, and traditions. There is no such thing as the typical American – that’s part of what makes it such an interesting place! Customs vary from region to region and family to family. If you’re invited to a cookout in California, that might mean grilling on the beach; in Texas, it could be a barbecue competition in a park, or a block party in the middle of the street in New York City. So get out and experience whatever traditions your host community has to offer!