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The top 8 books to read before you study abroad in the USA

Moving to study abroad in another country is a major change in your life. One way to prepare yourself for the cultural transition, is to better understand the culture of the country you will be living in for several years. A big body of knowledge about this matter can be found in books (if hardcover or paperback books seem too outdated for you, you can read the e-books). We have compiled for you a list of the top 8 books to read before setting foot on your future American Campus.
You may already be familiar with the classic American authors such as Washington Irving, Fennimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London and Mark Twain whose representations of the USA are hard to beat for their remarkable depictions of American life.
Still, before you study abroad, you may want to broaden your library with the modern authors who provide analytical and relevant depictions of the USA, influenced by differing personal experiences and views that reflect upon current affairs.
These 8 books will help you to get to know new things about the USA and to build a first connection to the American society:

1.    Making Our Democracy Work; by Stephen Breyer
You like politics and were passionate about the recent American presidential elections? You are dreaming about visiting the White House and want to know more about the US Supreme Court? Please read number one on our list. Stephen Breyer explores the role of the US Supreme Court in creating a full-fledged society, even if this society doubts the decisions, legitimacy and relevance of this court.
2.  Contemporary American Cinema; by linda Ruth Williams, Michael Hammond
If you are a fan of American cinema or a future student in the area of cinema this book provide the first comprehensive introduction to postclassical American film. Illustrated with more than 50 color and black-and-white stills, it takes a close look at all aspects of the genre, including influential movies, directors, producers, and actors.
3.  Black Flags; by Joby Warrick
If you are interested in current political situation in modern world and the US influence on it, this book is definitely for you. The reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner, Joby Warrick, explores the origin of ISIS starting with a distant prison in Jordan.
4.  The Book of Unknown Americans; by Cristina Henriques
If you want to know more about the personal experience of immigration and integration into the US society, this book beautifully depicts a fairy tale about immigration from Latin America. Maribel Rivera, a 15-year-old Mexican girl, experiences a terrible trauma that forces her to immigrate to the US to get the medical care she needs.
5.  Undocumented; by Dan-El Padilla Peralta
Thinking about studying at Princeton University? This is a real story about the immigrant who has risen from a homeless shelter in New-York to the top of his class at Princeton University, a top Ivy League university.
6.  All the Truth Is Out; by Matt Bai
Another book for those who are interested in the American political system. Matt Bai tells us about American political system in general and about the presidential election process in particular. He describes how American values have evolved through a long historical process.
7.  The Senses of Humor: Self and Laughter in Modern America; by Daniel Wickberg
Whether you like American humor or need help in understanding it, this book will give you a brilliant observation of its history. The history of the sense of humor is, like the study of keywords, an avenue into a significant aspect of the cultural history of modernity. Take this book as a great way to prepare your future networking and making  connections on campus.
8.  Regional American Food Culture; by Lucy Long
Studying abroad is not just about cultural shock it can also be a food shock! Don’t miss this great book, even if you are not such a foodie, after reading it, your burger will not taste the same anymore. Food is one of the most common ways of expressing culture and often helps us to recognize different regions. You will then want to travel all over the country to explore the different places known for their food: sweet tea and barbecue in the South, baked beans and clam chowder in the Northeast, red and green salsas in the Southeast, fusion cuisine in California, and salmon bakes in the Pacific Northwest. You see - American food is not just burgers and fries!

We hope that these books will be of great help for you in preparation for your study abroad experience in the USA.
If you want advice on student life in America and need a mentor to guide you through the process, please visit


  1. Thanks for sharing such a nice blog for international candidates in USA.