When you move to a new country there’s obviously lots to worry and think about (I mean, I made a whole website based on that fact). For that reason, the small things that don’t take any time to quickly fix should be a priority for you to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your time when you arrive.
One of those things for when you move to the US: Americanization.
Your computer and phone are the two most important devices you have for connecting to the outside world (aside from, you know, walking outside and high-fiving people). For this reason, your online presence, your communications, and your writing can tell a lot about you.
I, for one, freaking love commas. I use them all over the place.
What you don’t want people to think when they receive communications (emails, texts, written-pieces) from you, especially when applying for jobs or in a professional environment, is “this person is from somewhere else, or just doesn’t know how to spell”. It immediately puts you offside and means that you’re doing more work than everyone else to gain the trust of those around you.
A misplaced “s” instead of a “z” (pronounced “zee” not “zed”), a “u” in the wrong spot, or the date being in the wrong format (not to mention temperatures in Celsius) is going to immediately highlight that you are from somewhere else and it’s amazing how quickly someone will notice it. First impressions are hard to change, so it’s important that you do everything you can to put your best foot forward.
So do these three things right now if you’re planning to move to the US (or have already done so):
- Change the localization of your computer to the US and change your dictionary to “US English” (both in the computer settings and in your writing program – e.g. Microsoft Word or Google Docs);
- Change the localization of your phone or mobile device to the US and change your dictionary to “US English”;
- Install Grammarly – this is a software that does more advanced spelling and grammar checks on your writing as you go, which can really improve your use (or misuse) of commas for one.
You’re going to cop it from your friends back in your home country, but that’s ok, you get used to it.
Be professional. Look amazing. Be awesome.