Newcomer's Almanac
Newsletter For Newcomers To The United States

This 8-page monthly newsletter offers a unique collection of information, advice, and cultural interpretation. It is written by Anne P. Copeland, Ph.D., a clinical family psychologist and founder of The Interchange Institute. Those who have moved to the US for work or personal reasons have found the blend of practical tips and thoughtful analysis of American culture a lifeline during their transition. Individuals, couples, and families have made it a "must read," whether they have just arrived or have been here for several years.

English Practice Worksheets
Double the value of your Newcomer's Almanac by making it an English-learning tool as well as a cultural support. For use in independent study or with a tutor or class. Vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, conversation, idioms, and crossword puzzles.

Newcomer's Almanac: 11 printed issues a year (July and August are combined). $39 per year.
English Practice Worksheet: Supplement to newsletter. $14 per year.
Site License: (Allowing for unlimited photocopies.) Multiple-copy and education discounts available. Education Rate: $149 per year.

See information about our Relocation Package in order to offer this product at drastic discount price.

"Newcomer's Almanac has been an integral part of our work for the past 10 years, providing international destinations services to global companies bringing employees to the United States. Our destination consultants are proud to have the Newcomer's Almanac as part of the materials they give to the newcomers. Not only is the newsletter a valuable tool for our clients, it is an equally valuable part of our training process. We use all of the materials produced by The Interchange Institute to train our destination consultants and to add to the unique qualities of our services.

Dr. Copeland's expertise, enthusiasm and professionalism is evident in her work and all of the materials her Institute produces. At Full Circle we can't imagine providing our services without The Interchange Institute!"

Peggy Love, President, Full Circle International Relocations

Sample Titles
Background To Current News Stories:

  • Racial Profiling
  • Civil Liberties at Risk
  • American Values Underlying the Monica Lewinsky Matter
  • Guns, Funds, and Values
  • How The Jury System Works
  • Gender and the US Workplace
US Politics And History:
  • Declared and Undeclared Wars
  • Financing the Presidential Campaign
  • The Shadow of Watergate
  • Primaries, Caucuses, and The Electoral College
  • What It Means to Be "Unconstitutional"
  • How Congress Passes a New Law
Adjustment To Living In A New Culture:
  • Marriage and Moving: How Moving to a New Country Affects Couples
  • Home, When You've Traveled Far
  • Translating Emotions into a New Language
Being A Parent In The US:
  • Talking to Children About Scary Things
  • Evaluating Your Child's School Year
  • Checking out Day Camps
  • Using Family Stories and National Legends to Teach Your Family's Values
  • Vocabulary for the First Day of School: From "Field Trips" to "Show and Tell"
US Values And Behavior:
  • "Hi, I'm Rick:" Informality in the US
  • Starting Over: The American Way
  • Believing in Equality
  • Who Should Decide? Americans Still at War with King George III
Practical Information And Tips:
  • Making Sense of Over-the-Counter Cold Medications
  • The Rules of Baseball and American Football
  • Winterizing Your Home
  • Renting a Car in the US
  • Gift-Giving at Times of Change
Cross-Cultural Research:
  • Men and Women Around the World: Stereotypes and Reality
  • Mothers Talking to their Infants Around the World
  • Father' Special Work Around the World
  • Love and Marriage Around the World
Questions From Readers:
  • "Why do I get so much ice in my drink? My teeth get cold!"
  • "Why do Americans find Sesame Street's Ernie funny? I think he's mean."
  • "Please explain what to do with all those squashes I see in the store."
  • "What is the difference between 'Bake' and 'Broil' on my oven dial?"
Idioms And Oddities Of The English Language:
  • "Out in Left Field:" Idioms from Baseball
  • "See You This Friday:" Time in English
  • "I'll Eat My Hat:" Clothing in English Idioms
  • "Keep It Up:" Idioms Using the Word 'Keep'
Holidays And Special Events:
    Valentine's Day
  • Early Roots and Current Practice (Ignore At Your Own Risk)
  • Marriage and Moving: How Moving to a New Country Affects Couples
    Fourth Of July
  • How to Make a Real Hamburger
  • How The Second Amendment Was Born
  • One-Page History of The American Revolution
  • The Ancient Roots of Halloween
  • What to Do On Halloween If You Have Children (and If You Don't)
  • Thanksgiving: Who Were the Pilgrims?
  • How (and Why) to Cook a Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Separation of Church and State in the US
Food And Shopping:
  • The US Supermarket: What to Do with 194 Kinds of Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Butter, Margarine, and "Spread"
  • Products for Spring Cleaning
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Excerpt From A Newcomer's Almanac Article
Friendship In The US: Too Much Too Soon, Then Not Enough

Recently, I was away from home on a business trip. My husband suddenly had to go away too. There would be one afternoon when neither of us would be home with our children. My husband called one of our usual baby-sitters, the 14-year-old daughter of a Russian couple in our neighborhood. The daughter was busy and could not come. But her mother offered to watch our children for us. My husband said, "Oh, we could not possibly ask you to do that." We had spent several happy evenings with this family, but her offer surprised him. She answered, "Don't you see? We would like to be friends with you."

In a typical American way, we had already thought of this Russian family as our friends. In our minds and vocabulary, they had moved from being "people we know from the children's school" to being "friends" after one dinner together! We probably would have stayed at that level of surface friendship for a long time, if they had not brought their own cultural values to the relationship. Instead, my husband gratefully accepted their offer. And we have gone on to feel an unusual connection to this family.

My husband and I probably have as many "friends" as most American couples. I am sure many of them would have been happy to help in this case. But my husband would have called many teenage baby-sitters (whom we would pay, keeping the relationship formal and distant) before asking any of our friends for this kind of help.

I have heard many international newcomers say that American friendships are superficial (on the surface only). They say Americans do not know what true friendship is - they seem very friendly at first, but the friendships do not grow.

Here are a few thoughts that might explain American friendships. Hold on to your seat - if you are from a country with very different friendship patterns, this may sound crazy to you!

  • Remember that Americans value independence. To ask for help means to be dependent on a friend. Americans might be willing to accept this dependence, if they really needed help (as happened with my husband), but they usually will try something else first...
  • Remember that Americans will probably be very direct if they want your help, and expect you to be so too...
  • Americans tend to turn to outsiders for help when people from other cultures turn to friends and family...
  • Many Americans tend to be very friendly early in a relationship... They tell you personal things, and ask you personal questions. They joke around... If these are the signs of a close friend in your culture, you may be confused (and hurt) when Americans do not act like close friends later. It may feel like "too much too soon, then not enough" to you. But it suits many Americans, especially those who move often, or who live among people who move often.
  • Many international newcomers say how busy Americans seem...
  • Americans use the word "friend" to mean "anyone I have spoken to a few times..."
  • Americans do have long-term, close friends. They share problems with each other. They ask each other for help and accept help from them. Their friends may even replace their family in some ways, because their families may live quite far away. But these friendships are rare in many American's lives, maybe more rare than in the lives of people from your culture.
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© 2005, The Interchange Institute