Practicing different Religions in the United States
The United States has an extensive history dealing with different religions and even how religion and politics interact, which has formed the basis for many laws and customs that make America the country it is today. Students traveling from different religious backgrounds to the United States have the freedom to practice their religion and its traditions, and often can find others with the same religious interests in the community where they'll be living.
If you're interested in finding a place of worship in the community where you live or are attending school, try a quick Internet search to see if there is a group already established in the area. You might also find a group on your college campus with fellow students who practice the same religion, opening up a social opportunity for you. If you are unsuccessful in these areas, contact your university's international education office next; they might be aware of a group that is not found online.
Many religions also have customs of dress or prayer that are different from what Americans traditionally practice. The United States is flexible on many of these traditions, but students are advised to discuss these traditions with employers, especially if the office has a required dress code, or if a tradition like praying at a certain time of day could coincide with working hours. Businesses legally cannot discriminate against employees based on the employee's religion or religious customs, and your employer should have an office policy allowing you to work and keep your customs. Creating an agreement with your employer helps to start the working relationship off well.
The United States has been nicknamed the "melting pot nation" because its beginnings were based upon people coming to the country in search of religious freedom. Exchange students can feel comfortable knowing this melting pot culture continues today.
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