The Best Ways to Explore US History and Culture as an International Student

Ways to explore US history and culture as an international student
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC

If you want to know the best ways to explore US history and Culture as an international student in the US, you might be thinking about where to start. 

Indeed, there are so many places to visit, books to read, online sites to browse, and movies to watch that it can be enormous. 

You’re not alone.  

And consequently, we have put together some tips that enable you to enjoy most of your time in the US while learning more about its rich and sundry heritage. 

In this blog post, we’ll, among other things, consider the best ways to inquire into US History and Culture as an International Student.

To gain more insight and information about American History and Culture, take your time to read the work of Howard Zinn entitled “A People’s History of the United States.” In this book, Zinn presented what he considered a different side of history from the more traditional fundamental nationalist glorification of the country.

READ ALSO:10 Best US Cities for Foodie International Students.

Suppose you still yearn for more about the history and culture of the US. In that case, you can also read ”A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America” by Colin Woodard, which describes eleven rival regional “nations” in the United States (Yankeedom, New Netherland, the Midlands, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, New France, El Norte, the Left Coast, the Far West, and First Nation). It also presents how these deep roots continue to influence world politics today.

Back to our post.

So, whether you are interested in politics, art, music, sports, or food, this guide has something for you. 

So let’s get started!

The Best Ways to Explore US History and Culture as an International Student

  1. Take an Eye-Opening Tour of the Museums and Historical Sites

 One of the best ways to explore the history and culture of the US for an international student interested in the subject is to make an eye-opening visit to historical sites and museums.

These places can help you experience the stories and people of the past and present in an authentic and immersive way. 

When you visit historical sites and museums you can, among other things, enrich your understanding of a particular historical event or period by providing local contextualization and a visceral connection to the people who lived through it. 

Here is a list of some iconic historical sites and museums to visit : 

  • The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC
  •  The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York 
  •  Independence Hall in Philadelphia 
  • The Freedom Trail in Boston 
  • The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis

You can visit the official website of the Smithsonian Institution to explore its vast collection of museums and exhibits.

To make the most of your visits to historical sites and museums in the US, consider the following tips:

(a) Research and Plan Ahead to familiarize yourself with the site’s significance, exhibits, and opening hours before your visit.

(b) Make Reservations to secure your spot in advance, especially for popular attractions.

(c) Take Guided Tours: Join guided tours for comprehensive insights and captivating stories.

(d) Utilize Audio Guides to explore at your own pace with audio guides that provide detailed explanations.

(e) Engage with interactive exhibits to immerse yourself in hands-on experiences and multimedia displays.

(f) Document your visit through photos and journaling to cherish the experience.

(g) Explore Beyond Mainstream Sites, and discover hidden gems for unique perspectives and intimate experiences.

READ ALSO: How to Find Part-time Jobs in the US for International Students

2. Be a Guest at Cultural Events and Festivals

The United States of America is a diverse and vibrant country with a rich history and culture. Therefore, one of the best ways to explore US history and culture as an international student is to attend cultural events and festivals.

Attending cultural events and festivals can help you experience the diversity and creativity of the US, from the traditions of its various ethnic groups to the innovations of its artists and musicians. 

You can join celebrations such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Lunar New Year in San Francisco, St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC; or enjoy performances such as SXSW in Austin, Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Burning Man in Nevada, and the Underwater Music Festival in Florida.

To make the most of your participation in cultural events and festivals, consider the following suggestions:

  •  Research the event beforehand to understand its significance, traditions, and schedule. Look for local websites, event calendars, or community bulletin boards to gather accurate and up-to-date information.
  •  Embrace the event’s spirit by dressing in attire that aligns with the cultural theme or recommended dress code. This demonstrates respect for the traditions being celebrated.
  •  Engage in the customs and activities offered at the event. Whether it’s dancing to traditional music, sampling regional delicacies, or participating in cultural workshops, immerse yourself fully in the experience.

3. Get involved in Student Organizations and Clubs.

Another way to learn the history and culture of the US as an international student is to join and actively participate in student organizations and clubs whose activities relate to American history and culture. 

Joining student organizations and clubs will provide you the opportunity to make new friends with shared interests and learn from their perspectives and experiences.

With these new friends, you can explore and discuss various aspects of US history and culture, such as politics, art, music, literature, sports, and more.

Some examples of student organizations and clubs related to US history and culture are:

  •  American Studies Association: promotes the interdisciplinary study of American culture and society.
  • History Club: organizes events such as lectures, film screenings, museum visits, and trivia nights for students who love history.
  • Model United Nations: simulates the work of the United Nations and engages students in debates and discussions on global issues.
  • Cultural Diversity Club: celebrates the diversity of cultures and backgrounds on campus and fosters intercultural understanding and awareness.

4. Enroll in classes on American History and Culture.

You can have a deeper understanding of American history and culture by taking courses that cover its history and culture. 

These courses expose international students to the significant events, social movements, and cultural trends that have influenced the country. 

By learning about US history and culture, you can gain valuable insights, challenge preconceived notions, and foster a more nuanced perspective.

Here are some courses and subjects that you can take to learn more about US history and culture:

  • US History: From Colonization to the Present. Explore the significant historical periods of the United States and their impact.
  • American Literature and Culture:  Examine the works of prominent American authors and their themes.
  • African American History and Culture: Discover African Americans’ experiences, struggles, and achievements throughout history.
  • Native American Studies: Learn about the indigenous peoples of the United States, their culture, and their challenges.
    Choose a course that interests you from these options and more.

To choose US history and culture courses wisely, consult with advisors, research course descriptions, and explore online resources. These steps will help you match your interests and goals with the courses offered. US history and culture courses will enrich your understanding and analysis of the nation’s heritage and complement your experiential exploration.

6. Interact with the local populace

As an international student, connecting with local communities is a vital aspect of exploring US history and culture. 

By engaging with locals, you can experience authentic traditions, gain insights into daily life, and forge meaningful connections.

o engage with locals and embrace US culture, you can:

  • Volunteer for community service projects to contribute to society and understand local values and challenges.
  • Participate in local events and activities to witness the diverse expressions of US culture and chat with locals.
  •  Seek cultural exchange programs or language partners to share your culture and learn about theirs.

Here is a possible summary of the paragraph using the keywords:

To connect with Americans, be open and approachable, join clubs and organizations related to your interests or US culture, and attend social and cultural events on campus or in the community. These activities will help you learn more about US history and culture, make friends, and enjoy your time as an international student.

READ ALSO: 17 Must-Have Apps for International Students in the US

A Historical Site in the US

7. Efficiently and Effectively Utilize Online Resources

Utilizing online resources is also one of the excellent and convenient ways to explore the US history and culture as an international student.

The internet and digital devices offer many opportunities to learn about and interact with US history and culture.

 You can find a lot of information, activities, and educational resources online that can help you deepen your knowledge and involvement. 

Using the internet and digital devices enables you to access a wide range of content, communicate with experts, and participate in virtual experiences, no matter where you are.

Learn about US history and culture with these online resources:

  • Digital Archives and Libraries: Explore digitized collections of historical documents, photos, and artifacts from platforms like the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Digital Collections.
  • Virtual Museums and Exhibits: Visit online exhibits and virtual tours from institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Museum of American History.
  • Educational Websites and Courses: Engage with courses and resources on US history and culture from platforms like Khan Academy, Coursera, and edX.
  • Podcasts and Documentaries: Listen or watch stories that explore various aspects of US history and culture from podcasts like “Hardcore History” and documentaries on Netflix and YouTube.


In the final analysis, as an international student in the US, you have a unique opportunity to learn about the history and culture of this multicultural and influential country.

Whether you visit historical sites, join cultural clubs, watch American movies, or read American books, you will enrich your academic and personal experience.

You will also develop a deeper understanding of the values, beliefs, and traditions that shape the American identity. Exploring US history and culture will not only broaden your horizons but, it will also make lasting memories and connections.

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