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As a nation of immigrants, the U.S. is often described as a “melting pot,” meaning that U.S. culture is a unified combination of the many cultures brought by people who were born in or came to live in the U.S. While Americans do generally share certain cultural traits, such as the value of hard work, independence and a direct style of communication, pockets of imported cultures exist in most cities. These continue to play a significant role in the daily lives of inhabitants and their values. Note that the picture of U.S. culture that is presented by the entertainment industry to the world is generally an exaggerated version of what a participant may find in typical U.S. towns. Generally, participants will find less violence, less wealth and less sexually open behavior than one might imagine from watching Hollywood movies or U.S. television programs. Participants will find, however, a country with a great variety of landscapes, climates and lifestyles. We hope that wherever you are placed, you will discover those things that make your community a unique and wonderful place to live.