By Judy Priven
1. Do tip waiters and waitresses 15-20% of the bill, before taxes. Tip 20% or even more if the restaurant is elegant and the service was very good. If the service was not good, you may tip $2 or $3 less than 15%, but always tip. Most waiters are paid less because the restaurant owner expects them to get a tip.
2. Do find out the difference between a buyer's and a seller's agent when buying or renting a home. The buyer's agent works for you. The seller's agent works for the owner of the home. Ask the agent more about your mutual relationship. For example, ask what information the agent is allowed to tell you and also tell the owner.
3. Do make sure the school you choose fits the needs of your child. For example, check out the sports, art classes, or any other activities your child loves. You may check out the academic quality by asking the school for national or state test scores. Remember: No one school is best for every child.
4. Do call 911 right away if you need an ambulance or have an accident with your car.
5. Do keep two credit card accounts while you are in any foreign country, including the United States.You will need one credit card account for your bills in the U.S. and one for your bills at home. If you plan to return to your home country, keep the credit card valid so you do not have to get a new one when you return.
6. Don't confuse the date on your visa with the date on your I-94 or I-94W form. You must leave by the date on the I-94 form or ask for an extension. If you stay longer, you may be asked to leave the country. You may not get permission to return for a year or more.
7. Don't get a tourist visa for your partner if s/he plans to live with you in the U.S. U.S. laws are very strict. If you are not married, your partner must get his or her own visa or live at home.
8. Don't assume that two cities are close to each other just because they look close on the map. Always check the distance and time to get there. The U.S. is bigger than many newcomers realize!
9. Don't be more late for a job interview. Arrive at exactly the set time. Americans expect you to come right on time. If you know you are going to be late, call ahead and let the office know when you will arrive. At the beginning of the interview, simply say "I'm sorry" and explain why you are late. Then forget about it and go on with the interview itself.
10. Don't dial long-distance or international phone numbers directly from the phone in your hotel room. Hotel services are very expensive. Instead, use your cell phone or dial the number of a long-distance or international calling card.
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First Published: Aug 20, 2005