Whether you love shopping or hate shopping, as an international student in the United States, you will have many options to choose from. Shopping in the United States can be done in individual stores, malls, pavilions, “strip malls” or online. Most shopping in the United States is set up so that you can buy necessities and frivolities all in one spot or at least within a small geographic area. There is a wide breadth of stores and clothing, food and other products can be found for a broad range of prices. No matter how much or little you like shopping or how much or little you have to spend, the United States has options for you.
A shopping mall is a collection of stores and services found in the same building. They include anything from quaint boutique stores selling unique products to nationally known clothing stores, hair salons, and “big box” stores like Wal-Mart. They have anywhere from 10 stores to hundreds of stores and offer shoppers the convenience of shopping for different types of things in one location. In shopping malls, you can walk from store to store while remaining inside while in pavilions and strip malls you can walk from store to store outside. People spend minutes or hours in malls and most malls have restrooms and places to eat.
Big Box and Chain Stores
Big Box and chain stores are stores that are nationally or globally known and more or less offer the same products throughout the country or world. These stores offer a broad range of products and offer consistency in quality, prices and aesthetics. Big Box stores either offer a broad range of varied products (from clothing to furniture to food) or specialize in a particular field or industry (like sporting goods, home building, clothing or technology). These stores generally have lower prices and offer a broader range of products and services.
仓储式商店和连锁商店是全国或者全球知名的商店，并且在全美国或者世界其他国家和地区或多或少地提供同样的产品。这些商店提供各种类型的产品，并且这些产品在全美国的商店都会保持一致的质量、价格以及包装。仓储式商店要么提供范围广泛的各种产品 (从服装到家具，并且还包括食品) ，要么就专注于某个特定领域或者行业的产品 (例如体育用品，室内装修，衣服或者技术)。这些商店销售的东西一般都有较低的价格，并且还为客户提供广泛的产品和服务。
Independently Owned and Operated Stores
There are thousands upon thousands of independently owned and operated stores throughout the United States. These stores are typically owned by a local person or family and generally serve their surrounding community. Many of these stores offer higher quality products and services and include the benefit of local customer service and guaranteed quality standards. These stores can specialize in any given product or service from books to clothing to skincare. Many independently owned and operated stores offer unique and interesting products that aren’t commonly found in other stores.
Outlet Stores and Sales
Outlet stores offer shoppers an opportunity to buy products directly from the factory. Discontinued products, products with slight inconsistencies and over-stocked products, for example, make their way into outlet stores where they are sold at discounted prices. Multiple outlet stores are typically found in one location (an outlet store “mall” if you will) and products can be marked anywhere from 10% below store prices to 90 percent below store prices. Shopping at outlet stores is a great way to buy quality products at lower prices.
All stores in the United States, whether outlet or not, offer sales at different times throughout the year. Seasonal sales are most common as stores attempt to move out old product in favor of new product. Strategically shopping sales is another great way to buy more goods with less money.
奥特莱斯商店能够为消费者提供直接从工厂购买产品的机会。举个例子来说，这里有停产的产品、有轻微的不一致地方的产品还有过度库存的产品，这些产品都会被送到奥特莱斯商店以优惠的价格出售。几个奥特莱斯商店通常会聚集在同一个地方 (如果你愿意这么说的话，就是一个奥特莱斯店“百货大楼”) ，并且产品的标价可能从低于商店价格的10%到低于商店价格的90%不等。是不是很实惠呢?所以在奥特莱斯商店购物是一个以较低的价格购买优质产品的好地方。
Everyone needs to eat and for that reason there is a plethora of food stores in the United States. Similar to other stores, grocery stores are either nationally or locally owned and offer a variety of products to their customers. Nationally or regionally owned stores typically have a broader selection of foods while locally owned stores typically have more specialty items. Basic necessities like fruits, vegetables, meats and grains can be found at both nationally and locally owned stores. Organic foods are more and more abundant and affordable in America and options in name-brand or generic foods make it relatively easy to stick to a budget. Most grocery stores will have everything you need—from food and beverages to toilet paper and cold medicines—under one roof and pharmacies, bakeries and delis are typically found in larger grocery stores. There is also an abundance of specialty food stores in many cities in the United States; specialty breads, desserts, ethnic foods and meats can be found in independent and locally owned stores throughout the country.
每个人都需要吃东西，这就是为什么美国有大量的食品商店。类似于其他商店，杂货店要么是国有的要么是当地拥有的，并且为其客户提供各种产品。国家或地区经营的商店通常有对食物的选择范围，而当地拥有的商店通常有更多的特别的东西。基本的必需品，如水果、 蔬菜、 肉类和谷物可以在国有和当地拥有的商店找到。有机食品在美国变得越来越丰富和负担得起。大部分的杂货店会有你需要的一切 ——从食物和饮料到卫生纸和感冒药——都在一起，面包店和熟食店通常在更大的杂货店中可以找到。此外，在许多美国城市还有丰富的食品专卖店，在全国各地的国有和当地拥有的商店可以找到面包、 甜点、 民族食品和肉类，。
General Shopping Cues
Many states in the U.S. have committed to reducing their use of plastic bags. Consider bringing or buying re-useable cloth bags and bringing them with you when you shop. Many stores offer a small discount if you use your own bag and most are grateful that you are doing your part to protect the planet’s resources.
Keep in mind that most stores in the United States have limited hours during which they’re open. Plan ahead, make sure you have the items you need most in stock and enjoy shopping while you’re attending school in the United States!
Last year I swapped my steady student life in Leeds, England, for an unforgettable year abroad inSouth Carolina. I waved goodbye to weekends in the library and welcomed spending my spare time by the pool, exploring the US and watching American football games with my new international family.
I’ve realized that while the pre-departure support and advice I received from the study abroadoffice was second to none, there were just some things that briefings, orientation sessions and information booklets couldn’t have prepared me for. Here are 10 things I wish I’d known before I plunged into my awesome year in the almighty USA:
1. You don’t need the extra suitcase
I totally regret taking an extra suitcase out to America, not to mention paying for it. I was so nervous about moving my life across the Atlantic that I tried to take it all with me. In the end, I didn’t use half the clothes and supplies and had to pay to ship them all back at the end of the year. If you’re preparing to study abroad, pack as light as you can – chances are you’ll want to buy new things in your host country anyway.
2. You won’t drink a good cup of tea all year
Although I did pack too heavily, I wish I’d packed more teabags. If you’re a keen UK-based tea-drinker heading to the US, you’ll need to take a generous supply of your favorite teabag brand, because the chances of finding Yorkshire Tea or Tetleys in American supermarkets are extremely slim.
3. Hope for the best but plan for the worst
When preparing to study abroad it’s best to adopt the mentality that the worst that could happen might just happen. It sounds negative, but that way, when you’re out in your host country and living independently, you’ll have a safety net of ‘Plan Bs’ that you ensured before you left. Make two copies of all your visa information. Take your laptop receipt in case you need to make an insurance claim. Most importantly, buy the most extensive type of insurance cover because it’s always better to be safe than sorry when you’re living in unfamiliar surroundings.
4. Bid for a sorority early
I’ve always been intrigued by the phenomenon of sororities and fraternities and the polarizing reception they get in US universities. I ended my year abroad with a nagging curiosity and the regret that I never got to understand sorority culture from the inside. If you’re heading to America for a study abroad year, remember to check out sorority opportunities before you leave as they often start recruiting before you’re due to arrive.
5. Studying abroad is an emotional cocktail (not a rollercoaster)
Before I departed for South Carolina I was told that I’d most likely go through phases of emotional adjustment, from ‘orientation’ to the ‘honeymoon stage’ to the ominous ‘disintegration’ phase. But everyone is different. I realized that my emotional experience in the states wasn’t a case of ups and downs, like a rollercoaster, but an emotional cocktail. I’d feel homesick, excited, overwhelmed and settled all at the same time. Even if the individual elements weren’t always to my taste, they never ceased to make for an overall concoction of discovery, anticipation and adventure.
6. ‘Bless your heart’ is not a compliment
When I came to South Carolina I heard people saying ‘bless your heart’ and thought it was a term of endearment. Later in the year a friend told me it means something totally different. It’s actually quite condescending – a Southern way of saying something like, ‘No offense, but you’re pretty stupid.’ Thanks for the heads up!
7. There are no corner shops, just enormous supermarkets
Having spent my life in England I’ve always been within a few streets of a nearby corner shop (or convenience store, as Americans call it). I never realized how much I take them for granted until I moved to the US and the only convenience items available in the nearest shop were crisps and sweets: no milk, no eggs, no bread. This meant I had to plan my weekly shopping trips to Wal-Mart with military precision if I didn’t want to go without my beloved cups of tea for the rest of the week. So much for ‘convenience’…
8. You’ll need more than just shorts and t-shirts
When I learned that temperatures in the Palmetto State stay mostly warm all year round, as a Brit long deprived of sufficient sunshine I went into overdrive packing bikinis, shorts and t-shirts. Little did I know that I’d need thick jumpers and socks for South Carolina’s first occurrence of snowfall in years.
9. Americans love driving more than you can possibly imagine
I had no idea just how much American driving culture would affect my year abroad until I arrived in Columbia. Despite being South Carolina’s capital city, Columbia isn’t pedestrian friendly, to say the least. I quickly learned that being 21 without a driving license is the rare British exception to the American rule. There were so many times when I’d set out to the nearby town to find the pavement stop dead at my feet, turning my innocent shopping trips into questionable expeditions along the side of the road. Bless my heart!
10. Reverse culture shock is worse than initial culture shock
As I was waiting for my inbound plane to pull in to the airport for a long return flight to the UK, I breathed a sigh of relief. I moved my life across the Atlantic for an entire year and had the most phenomenal time. What I didn’t expect was that the day-to-day impact of that year abroad was far from over. Adjusting to life back home and parting with my new American family was one of the hardest and most unexpected trials of the whole year. While the shock went away within a few weeks, the reverse back to British culture will never be 100% complete. Wherever I go, I’ll always remember that there’s a welcoming American community out there in Columbia, South Carolina, that I’ll be sure to meet again sometime soon.