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Welcome to Cincinnati, Ohio


 An Essay on America

 Social Security Number

 Identification Card

 Bank Accounts

 Money Needed

 Housing

 Basic Price Guide

 Transportation

 Time Zones

 Telephone

 Mail

 Tipping

 Shopping

 Electrical Outlets

 Temperatures

 Measurements
 Libraries

 Dress and
 Personal Hygiene


 Social Scene

 Workdays

 Taxes

 Holidays

 Religion

 

An Essay on America

U.S.A. Flag When speaking about a country, it is dangerous to profile it in any definite way because we tend to use stereotypes to profile it. Aiesec's intention in this writer's eyes seeks to reach across stereotypes and to bridge knowledge of cultures, thereby uniting people of all nations. However, most readers of this essay are looking to get some sense of what it is like here in America, and what they can expect upon arrival. What follows, then, is a conception of America from one particular person's perspective - take it for what that is, loaded with subjective facts and personal observations. Hopefully, you will be forming your own when you arrive (probably in just a few weeks).

It's not what you see on TV. When you arrive in the United States, try to forget about the America that you know through television and movies. Most do not show American people in a realistic, everyday manner - we do not all look like the cast from Baywatch and do not all drive Mustang's and BMW's. Sure, we want to, but that doesn't really happen as often as we'd like. Form your own opinion about the people you meet and the cities that you visit.

In many metropolitan areas you will be surprised to learn how many people were not born in the United States but now live here. America is a mixture of cultures and people, what we like to call a "melting pot".  Americans like to eat out at various places, pizza, hamburgers, and fried chicken restaurants being the favorite "fast food" themes, but you can find any type of food if you ask other Aiesec'ers and keep your eyes open.

Private property. There are public parks and other places where the public gather, but Americans are quite used to thinking that everything belongs to someone. The concept of common property is found sparsely in American society. It's for that reason that you should respect other people's homes and property as you'll find that in the suburbs (residential portions of the city) people can be quite defensive about their front yard, lawn and flowerbeds. All this, and you have not seen how protective they are of their cars.

You will find Americans to be in love with their cars. Driving a car at the age of 16 is a right of passage for the average American teenager. After World War II, America invested heavily in roads and highways to connect the enormous continental U.S. America has come to depend upon transportation by automobile. There are public transportation systems, buses, trains and subways, and you can get what you need by using them, but many trainees seriously consider buying a automobile to visit other states in America, and often other cities in the same state. Example: Chicago is a five hour drive by car from Cincinnati.

Money Economy. Some have told me there is a certain amount of materialism present here in America. I attribute that to our capitalist society. Our economy is based upon capitalism, and this means that people are often concerned with getting things for a "good price" and "bargain shopping" as much as they are concerned with getting the "latest" and "most fashionable" of a type of item. This does not mean that they do not care about anything else, just that the culture may emphasize this aspect of life as being important.  But know that not all people are like this, especially in Cincinnati, which is more international than you might expect.

The Value of Time. In big cities on the coasts of America (like San Francisco and New York) everything needs to be done immediately. In fact, what we call a "New York Minute" just means we want it done ASAP, or As Soon As Possible. This is not true for all parts of the country. In many middle or southern states, people do not like to be rushed. It is considered rude to rush them. Remember this difference and try to judge for yourself particular traits of sub-cultures of America when you meet people who were born in states other than Ohio.

Parties and Concerts. But one thing that many Americans like to do is PARTY on Friday and Saturday evenings. For those over 21 years of age, there are many bars, taverns, and dance clubs that serve alcohol (of which drinking is a favorite hobby for many) - typically, these bars and taverns do not allow people under 21 to enter. Most dance clubs require you to be over 21 years of age, but there are a few that serve an "18 and over" crowd. Aside from the alcohol (also called "booze") many concerts are performed every weekend with many types of music some of which are: Rock and Roll, Country, Rap, Hip Hop, Jazz, Heavy Metal, and Alternative music.

Sports. Americans love to watch American football, basketball, and baseball (and sometimes tennis). Soccer is beginning to catch Americans’ interest, but it is far less popular than the other sports.  Sports are not just for watching, as you could probably have guessed.  Many Americans love to play these same sports as much if not more than they do watching them.

As for Americans and their hygiene, they take baths or showers every day, but often you will find streets dirty or with litter, especially in larger cities. The homeless people found in many American cities are a source of concern for many, some without a job or housing because of economic and social conditions that put them out on the street, while others simply prefer to live that way by choice. There are social programs that try to address this issue, offering free shelter and food to those in need of it, and these programs are both government sponsored and non-profit sponsored.  There are always people interested in reforming the system, if this is important to you, research these efforts and talk to them to learn about the difficulties and opportunities of social programs.

In some countries women are protected by their families when they go about the town, or to social engagements. This is not the case in America. Women are given freedom in every way and are expected to be generally independent. Single mothers and Single Fathers raise children alone these days, with same-sex families also being more common.

Great emphasis is placed on individualism in American Society. It is the individual who is responsible for making the decisions that affect his life. From childhood, Americans are taught that through hard work they can improve their position in life. It is because of this idea that the United States is sometimes said to be a "classless" society. Though this is not entirely true, there is a high degree of social mobility (going from poor to rich, or from rich to poor) in America.

Americans also place little importance on social differences. The American way is generally an informal way; because of this, people often avoid formal titles, and often speak to each other by first names. This informality also extends to the American's manner of dress. We usually dress according to weather rather than to a social standard.  I believe this is a good explanation, but it leaves out the reason Americans turn and stare when a well-dressed Italian walks by.

In most situations, Americans place a high value on truth. From childhood, we are taught that "honesty is the best policy". It is considered wrong to distort facts on purpose, even if the motive is kind. However, if you watch used-car salesman on TV, you start to notice that sometimes the facts are stretched and embellished.  While this occurs and is somewhat accepted, usually outright lying is not accepted.

Americans are generally very verbal. Because of this silence is greatly noticed and at times can be uncomfortable. "Small talk" - talk about weather, sports, etc. - usually fills this silence. Serious conversation generally occurs after this preliminary talk.

When speaking, Americans use many hand gestures. There is also a certain physical distance which is maintained by people when conversing. Americans to not often stand close together, and will back away if they feel that their space has been invaded. Generally, Americans stand one arm’s length away from a person whom they are talking with, about far enough away to put their hand on the other person’s shoulder.

In the United States, freedom of religion is the law. This also means the freedom to refrain from practicing any religion, if you chose. You will more than likely find the church of your choice in the vicinity of where you live.


Social Security Number

A Social Security Number is very important. Before beginning work, you must apply for a Social Security Number. This is an identification number for tax purposes, banks, and drivers licenses. If living in Blue Ash, the nearest Social Security Office is located at the corner of Reading Road and Sunnybrook Drive. From I-75, exit at Galbraith Road. Go east on Galbraith 3/4 of a mile to Reading Road. Turn right on Reading Rd, 1/2 mile to Sunnybrook Drive. Turn left on Sunnybrook. We are the first building on the left - white with a green roof. Our address is 15 E. Sunnybrook Dr, Cincinnati, Ohio 45237-2103.

The office hours are 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. We are closed on weekends and national holidays.  For more information, visit the Cincinnati area Social Security Administration page.

There is a toll free phone number to call the United States Social Security Office for any important details that you might want to know: 1-800-772-1213


Identification Card

You can either get a plain identification card or a driver’s license. To get an identification card (or "ID" card) or Ohio Driver’s License, bring your birth certificate (original or certified copy) or passport, and social security card, or greencard. You will need a Driver's License if you plan to write checks in Ohio. An ID card costs $6 and a Driver's License costs $12. You may need to make an appointment. The closest Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") where you can obtain these identification cards is: 

Montgomery License Bureau
9901 Montgomery Road
Montgomery, Ohio 45242
Phone: 891-2284
Hours: Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri.: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thurs.:8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Sat.: 8:00 AM - Noon

Sharonville License Bureau
11177 Reading Road
Sharonville, Ohio 45241
Phone: 563-1420
Hours: Mon., Tues., Thur., Fri.: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed.: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Sat.:  8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

 

 

 




Bank Accounts

Having a bank account is a necessity in the United States. It helps you keep track of all your money transactions while you are here and provides you with the services that you need to manage your money wisely. Therefore, it is essential that you visit a bank as soon as possible upon arrival.

Opening a bank account is easy. All you have to do is walk into any branch (like Firstar, Bank One, etc.) and ask for the new accounts officer. They will describe the types of accounts that you can open and the benefits/drawbacks of each. There are often many different types of checking and savings accounts. You can then choose the type of account that best fits your needs. Be sure to bring your money order or money supply with you because you will need that amount to open your account. You will also need your passport and your social security number/card to open up an account.

Two primary kinds of accounts are available. The first is a checking account. A checking account enables you to write out checks to pay for items at stores and to pay other people without carrying around cash. The amount that the check is written for will then be automatically subtracted from the money you have in your checking account. A savings account is very similar, but interest rates are higher and you cannot write checks to withdraw money form the account. Things to watch for in both cases are minimum balances (amount you are required to keep in your account at all times). ATM (automated teller machine) options, debit cards (similar to credit cards, but money is drawn directly from your account at time of purchase), and fees for each check written.

Living in the United States can be very expensive. Although the cost of living varies from region to region, it is important to keep a budget. Your budget should include your rent, food, clothing, utilities (i.e. electricity, water, heat, telephone, etc.), and entertainment. Budget wisely so you can meet your monthly bills.


Money Needed

You should bring $500 to $2,000, depending on where you will live on your traineeship. This is to cover your first month's rent, food, transportation, and incidentals.

The beginning is the most expensive - the first month’s rent, and a deposit that is same as the rent or up to (about) twice as the rent needs to be paid. You also need furniture (Bare necessities like bed, lamps, phone, to some-what necessities like desk, chairs, dining table, microwave, toaster, TV, VCR, audio system, etc.) Furniture renting can be quite expensive, so we suggest going to garage sales near your new home and finding used pieces of furniture. Garage, Estate, and Yard Sales can be found in the "Classifieds" section of the local newspaper. You also need plates, eating utensils, and cooking utensils unless trainees you bring them. After all that the amount of what one would need for food and other everyday stuff (toilet papers, paper towels, shampoos, soaps, detergents, etc. included) would be $300-$400 a month. It depends on how a rainee would live. If he or she often eats out, goes to movies, buys CDs, rents videos, goes shopping a lot, the cost could be higher. For laundry, using a washer at a public Laundromat costs $1-2, and a dryer costs $1-2.


Housing

Average apartment rents for Cincinnati are:

  • $450-500/Room rental
  • $600-800/One bedroom
  • $1000 and up/Two bedrooms

Most Cincinnati apartments are not furnished. (i.e. You need to get your own furniture {bed, TV, tables, chairs, etc.} and you need to take them with you when you move out.) You can rent furniture but if you are staying for a relatively long time, renting can get quite expensive.  A better way would be to buy from leaving trainees or ask Aiesec'ers for some possibilities. Water, garbage, and gas are usually included in the rent. Parking is separate and not available in all places. You would pay for your own phone bills and electricity. You may want to bring blankets, sheets, and some cooking utensils if possible. NOTE: Voltage in the U.S. is 110-120 Volts AC at 60 Hz. Make sure any devices that you bring will function at this voltage.


Basic Price Guide

Although prices will vary, this will give you a general idea of how much these goods will cost.

Basic Prices

  • Bread (one loaf) $1.50
  • Milk (1 gallon) $3.50
  • Soda (6 pack) $3.00
  • Beer (6 pack) $4.00
  • Cigarettes (1 pack) $4.00
  • Movie Ticket $8.25
  • Meal at McDonald's $4.00
  • Large Pizza $12.00


Transportation

Your employer may expect you to drive around your city or region while conducting business. If your company is informed that you cannot drive, things might be easier.

Public Transportation

Blue Ash Bus system?

Automobiles

Cars are a very popular mode of transportation in America and especially the Cincinnati and surrounding areas.  Cars allow for flexibility when traveling, however, they can be very expensive and complicated. Purchasing used cars would be the best way, but they are still expensive and can break down. The most troubling thing that comes with cars is the auto insurance. Insurance is very difficult and expensive to obtain, since most insurance companies do not honor foreign driver's licenses. If you do purchase a car, you need to pay attention to restrictions during certain hours of the day.   In certain areas, you are only able to park at specified times and for specific lengths of time. (Parking meters, hour limits without residence permits, etc.)

Operating an automobile may be very expensive. If you decide to buy a car, you must have a driver's license and vehicle insurance.

Parking laws are strictly enforced. Find out the laws for your area. If you receive a parking ticket, pay the fine immediately. If you delay beyond the stated time limit, the fine increases. Yellow painted areas are usually off limits for parking at any time. Handicap markers, which are blue, are set especially for the handicapped. If your car does not have a handicap license plate, you will be fined if caught parking in this zone. Fire zones, which are red, are also to be avoided.

The speed limit in the United States is 65 miles per hour (MPH) on most highways. Some highways have speed limits of 60 or even 55 MPH, so pay attention to the posted speed limit.  On roads other than highways, the speed limit is generally 35 MPH.  You are expected to observe the speed limit and are responsible for any fines you may incur for speeding.

Hitchhiking is illegal in many parts of the United States. We strongly suggest that you do not hitchhike. It can be very dangerous!

There are several ways by which you can travel in the United States. AMTRAK, the nation-wide railroad company, and Greyhound, the nation-wide bus company offer low cost ground travel. Because of the large size of the United States, air travel is also popular.


Time Zones

The 12 hour clock is observed in the United States. The continental United States is divided into four time zones: Eastern (the time zone we are in), Central, Mountain, and Pacific.  Therefore, when it is 10 AM here in Ohio, it is only 7 AM in California.


Telephone

The telephone is a convenient and relatively inexpensive means of communication. People usually answer the telephone with a simple "hello." A directory is given with each telephone. The Yellow Pages are the classified section of the directory. They list services and businesses. More information about the telephone can be found in the front of the telephone directory.

In order to get in touch with the police, fire department, or ambulance in an emergency, dial 911.

If you wish to call collect, dial "0" + area code (if different from the area code that you are in) + telephone number.

Tip:
Long Distance rates are most expensive between 8 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday. They decrease after 5 PM, and rates are cheapest after 11 PM on weekdays, all day Saturday, and until 6 AM on Monday morning.


Mail

The Federal Government manages the postal service by a network of local post offices. The United States is divided into zip-coded postal zones. Your zip code is an important part of your address.  There are three zip code zones within the City of Blue Ash (45242, 45241, and 45236).  

Post Office are lcoated:

45242: Sycamore Branch Post Office
4910 Cooper Road (Blue Ash)
(513) 891-6346
45236: Taft Branch Post Office
7350 Montgomery Road (Silverton)
(513) 891-0233
45241: Sharonville Branch Post Office
11087 Reading Road (Sharonville)
(513) 563-6850

The Post Office hours are Monday through Friday: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday: 8:30 AM - 12:00 noon

Mail is delivered on each of these days, excluding legal holidays. Postage rates are as follows:
 


First Class Mail (up to 1 oz.) $0.34
each additional oz. $0.23
Postal Cards $0.20
International Airmail $0.60

Letters can be mailed at post offices, or with the proper postage, in any blue painted mailbox which says "U.S. Mail" on the side. 


Tipping

In the United States, one tips a person who carries your bags at the airport or in the hotel. Taxi drivers are also usually tipped. At restaurants, the waiter is tipped 15% to 20% of the bill, depending on the service and quality of the restaurant.


Shopping

This section is designed to give you an overview of the most common retail outlets in Ohio and the goods they sell. It should give you a basic idea of where to shop for the things you need (and want!). There are a few generalizations that can be made about shopping in the United States. First, American stores are open longer. Many of our convenience stores are even open for 24 hours! Second, you will probably encounter larger stores in this country than in your own. We have supermarkets, superstores, and home improvement centers that are often as large as entire warehouses. Thirdly, negotiating over the price of retail goods is not practiced in this country. There are some instances where the prices of large durable goods are negotiable but as a general rule you must either pay the listed price or go to another store. Lastly, you will find many shopping malls here - large indoor shopping complexes that house a variety of shops. The key to shopping in Ohio is accessibility. You should have no problem finding places to buy what you need and there are countless choices when it comes to satisfying your wants. With a few exceptions, you should not be surprised to discover that shopping in Ohio is a lot like shopping in your home country.

Types of Stores

Convenience Stores - these may be new to you. Convenience stores are small stores that sell a variety of commonly purchased goods. These include basic food needs, snack foods, non-prescription medicines (limited supply), batteries, newspapers and magazines, cigarettes, etc. Convenience stores are located on almost every street corner, so they are easy to find and are usually open 24 hours a day. This makes it possible for people to shop there whenever they need something at any time of day or night. However, "convenience" has a price and therefore most of these stores charge a high price for their goods. Normally, Americans only shop at convenience stores when they do not have time to go elsewhere.

Examples: 7-Eleven, United Dairy Farmers (UDF)

Discount Stores - these stores offer a number of common household items for sale. Discount stores have a reputation for having the lowest prices, but they also tend to offer low quality merchandise. Since your stay in America is temporary, the price of the products you buy is likelier to be a greater concern to you than the durability. Therefore, it might be a good idea to check out a few of these stores. Discount stores are usually open from 9:00 am to 9:00 PM on weekdays and Saturdays and 9:00 am to 6:00 PM on Sundays.

Examples: Super K-mart and K-mart, Walmart, Target, 

Grocery Stores/Supermarkets - grocery stores are where Americans but their food on a regular basis. You may find that the customs for buying food in this country are different from your own. Americans tend to buy food once every two weeks, instead of daily. They buy large amounts of groceries and store a large portion of their purchases in the freezer. Consequently, most grocery stores in this country are large (supermarkets) and centrally located. You should probably plan on shopping for food less frequently than you do at home. Grocery stores, like convenience stores are usually open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Examples: Kroger, Meijers

Drug Stores - these stores are excellent places to look for health aids and personal hygiene products. Here you can have prescriptions filled or purchase non-prescription medicine. In addition to these services, most drug stores develop pictures and sell film and cameras. They are usually open from 9:00 am to 9:00 PM every day.

Examples: CVS, Rite Aid

Department Stores - department stores sell many of the same items that are found at discount stores. The difference between the two is that department stores sell higher quality goods at higher prices. They also provide the customers with more services and more of a shopping atmosphere than discount stores. Department stores sell larger items like home furniture and electronics and expensive goods like jewelry. They can be located in malls or in outdoor shopping centers. Department stores are a good place to shop for gifts and durable quality clothing. Department stores are usually open from 9:00 am to 9:00 PM on weekdays, and from 9:00 am to 6:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Examples: Macy’s, Nordstrom, Service Merchandise, JC Penny’s

Liquor Stores - liquor stores are where you can buy alcohol. The United States has many regulations regarding the sale of liquor. When buying alcohol, you must present identification with a photograph and your date of birth, stating that you are at least 21 years old. A driver’s license or passport will generally work. (You must also present ID when purchasing alcohol at restaurants or bars.) Liquor stores’ business hours vary.

Examples: many small and privately owned shops

Retail Stores - these stores generally sell specialty items such as clothes for men and women, music, bath and body goods, or home cooking supplies. Retail stores are stores that can often be found in a shopping center (outdoor or indoor) and vary with size and types of merchandise. They are usually more expensive than goods at discount stores and generally carry more unique items or items with certain brand names. Retail store hours vary depending on which shopping center they are located in and the kind of good they sell.

Examples: The GAP, Virgin Record Store, Barnes and Nobles


Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlets in the United States usually give 110-120 volt alternating current (A.C.) at a frequency of 60 cycles. This may be different from that in your country. Check the appliances you may be bringing with you to be sure they will work at the above voltages.


Temperatures

In the United States temperatures are usually given in degrees Fahrenheit. For temperatures not shown, use the following equation:

Fahrenheit = Centigrade (9/5) + 32 Centigrade = Fahrenheit (5/9) - 32


Measurements and Weights

Length or Distance   Area  
1 millimeter  0.039 inches  1 meter square  10.764 sq.ft. 
1 centimeter  0.39 inches  1 hectare  2.471 acres
1 meter  39.37 inches  1 sq. ft.  0.93 square meters
1 inch  25.4 millimeters  1 acre  0.40 hectare
1 foot  12 inches/ 0.305 meters  1 sq. yard  9 sq. ft
1 yard  3 feet / 0.914 meters  1 sq. rod  30.25 sq yards
1 mile  5,280 feet  1 acre  160 sq. rod
1 mile  1,760 yards  1 sq. mile  640 acres
1 mile  1.61 kilometers     


Libraries
 

The Sycamore Branch Library of the Hamilton County Libraries is located in Blue Ash and is one of the largest branches of the Hamilton County library system.

Sycamore Branch Library
4911 Cooper Road
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
(513) 369-6051
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Dress and Personal Hygiene

Unless you are told otherwise, appropriate dress for work during your traineeship can be best described as conservative. Most professional men/women wear suits to work but nice separates are also acceptable. The attire that you definitely want to avoid are: jeans, shorts, worn clothing, flashy clothing, tennis shoes or other shoes that suggest recreation over style. No low cut blouses or T-shirts will be tolerated. Please remember that you will be perceived as a professional and a representative of your country, as well as of Aiesec in general. Conservative or business casual (in some cases) is the key unless you are told otherwise. Here are some suggestions:

MEN WOMEN
suits (vest is optional) suits
nice pants skirts (length: mid calf, slightly below jacket or above the knee)
long or short sleeved shirts  blouse (short or long sleeve)
jacket nice slacks
dress shoes dress shoes
ties, belt pantyhose (neutral colors)
sweaters sweaters
briefcase briefcase or purse
 

Since weather in Ohio can change by the hour, you want to be prepared for anything and everything.  It is usually best to watch the weather forecast on a news program or look up the forecast on the internet when deciding what to wear.  If you are going to be here for the whole year, you will need to bring heavy winter clothes. While we do not get a whole lot of snow, snow is not uncommon.  Temperatures during the winter can get as cold as 0 degrees Fahrenheit or even colder.  You may want to bring a warm jacket, a raincoat, an umbrella, maybe a scarf, mittens, or a warm winter hat.

CASUAL ATTIRE:

Since casual attire is season specific, here are some suggestions for what to wear as seasons change in San Francisco:

WINTER: The same clothes as mentioned above are appropriate. You will definitely want to bring a war winter coat or an outdoor jacket. Also long underwear is nice to have but not crucial. Winters in San Francisco are usually more rainy than cold, so be sure to bring an umbrella!

SPRING: While the weather starts to get warmer, you are not really back into weather for shorts and T-shirts but lighter attire will be appropriate and towards the end of spring, sandals can also be worn.

SUMMER: Shorts, T-shirts, short sleeved shirts and sandals as well as tennis shoes are in full force. Also tank tops, swimming suits, miniskirts, and other more revealing items are okay for casual wear at the beach, hanging out, etc.

FALL: Jeans, casual pants, sweaters, long sleeved shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, socks, tennis shoes, loafers, casual shoes, light outdoor jackets are in order.

Depending on your social activity, Cincinnati is very flexible when it comes to personal style and "socially acceptable" casual clothing. The most important thing is to make sure that both you and those around you feel comfortable with your choice of attire. If you are unsure about what to wear to an event or an appointment, call in ahead of time and ask whether the dress will be casual or professional. Also keep in mind that when you are in doubt, remember that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed!

Personal hygiene is a must in the United States. One should shower or bathe almost every day, use deodorant, and brush one's teeth.

Clothes should also be kept neat and clean. There should be a Laundromat near your home, if these are not located in your housing unit to begin with. Self service laundries provide coin-operated washing machines and dryers. You need to bring your own laundry detergent with you to the Laundromat.


Social Scene

 

The Greater Cincinnati area offers an abundance of activities to satisfy all tastes. The following offers just some examples of the various activities and events which occur in the Greater Cincinnati area. Other sites which might be helpful in finding out more about the Greater Cincinnati area include:   www.cincinow.com | www.cincinnati.com | www.queencity.com web site to find out more about the Greater Cincinnati area in general.
Sports & Recreation:

· Cincinnati Reds
· Cincinnati Bengals
· University of Cincinnati College Sports
· Xavier University College Sports
· Cincinnati Cyclones hockey
· Cincinnati Mighty Ducks hockey
· Silverbacks Soccer (indoor)
· Riverhawks Soccer (outdoor)
· Turfway Race Track (northern KY)
· River Downs Race Track (Kellogg Avenue)

Amusement Parks/Water Parks:

· The Beach Water Park
· Paramount Kings Island
· Surf Cincinnati Water Park
· Coney Island

Parks: (Not in Blue Ash)
In addition to Blue Ash parks, Sharon Woods (part of the Hamilton County Park District) immediately borders Blue Ash. There are also numerous other County and City of Cincinnati parks within the region.

Golf Courses: (Other than the Blue Ash Golf Course)
In addition to the nationally ranked Blue Ash Golf Course, there are at least eighteen other golf courses located within a 30-minute drive from Blue Ash.

Shopping:

· Kenwood Towne Center
· Tri-County Mall

Arts & Entertainment:

· Aronoff Center for the Arts
· Argosy Casino (riverboat casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana)
· Children’s Museum
· Cincinnati Art Museum
· Cincinnati Ballet
· Cincinnati Fire Museum
· Cincinnati Opera
· Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
· Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
· Cincinnati Zoo
· Newport Aquarium (new in 1999!, in Northern Kentucky)
· The Crown (formerly Riverfront Coliseum)
· Grand Victoria (riverboat casino in Rising Sun, Indiana)
· Krohn Conservatory
· Museum at Union Terminal
· Music Hall
· OmniMax Theatre (at Union Terminal)
· Playhouse in the Park
· Riverbend Music Center
· Taft Theatre

Other Links to visit:

· Simply Cincy.com
· Night Life in Cincinnati
· Cincinnati Festivals
· Cincinnati Parks
· Random things to do
· Cincinnati Landmarks
· Cincinnati Sports
· Where to eat in Cincinnati



Workdays

Workdays are generally Monday through Friday. Most companies require employees to work 40 hours a week. However, you may be asked at times to work late or on Saturdays. This is dependent on the type of traineeship that you have.

Americans have a firm belief that "time is money." One should always be prompt for work and other engagements.

Trainees are generally given one week of vacation time during the traineeship. This may vary, however, form employer to employer.  IST is generally pretty good about making exceptions for trainees, especially when we plan LC events that include the trainees.


Taxes

The following information regarding the tax-ability of a trainee's living stipend (salary), tax treaties, and the tax laws of the United States Government applies to most trainee-ships. Please investigate your own particular tax status as each traineeship is subject to different regulations depending on the traineeship duration, amount of stipend, and your country of origin.

The status of Aiesec-United States trainees as a non-resident aliens subjects them to United States income tax only on income earned for services performed in the United States. These services are considered to be dependent personal services. Aiesec-United States advises all companies to withhold FEDERAL INCOME TAX from the trainee's stipend except where exempt by tax treaty or other Internal Revenue Service provisions.

In most cases, STATE AND LOCAL TAXES should be withheld. However, since tax laws vary from state to state, please consult your local tax authorities for more information.

The nature of the J-1 visa excludes Aiesec trainees from paying SOCIAL SECURITY and FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT TAXES as specified in Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you employer is deducting these taxes from your stipend, please refer him to this act. Aiesec-United States trainees do not pay these taxes. You must, however, have a Social Security Number as a tax-paying identification number.

To collect the taxes that have been withheld from your stipend, you must file an income tax return by April 15 for income earned in the previous year. Because there are so many different tax laws, tax treaties, and specific deductions possible for every traineeship, we recommend you consult a tax specialist about your individual income tax return.

It is possible to have no taxes withheld during the duration of your traineeship. But at the end of your traineeship you will still have to pay the taxes that would have been withheld. We recommend that you let the company withhold your Federal, State, and local taxes, and that you file an income tax return for both state and federal taxes before you leave the country.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the branch of the United States Government that handles taxing.

The IRS publishes the income tax form that you must file.

FORM 1040NR: This tax form is used to calculate how much of the taxes that you paid during the calendar year will be refunded to you. This income tax return must be returned to the IRS by April 15 of the year after your traineeship. It may not be possible to complete this form before you leave. You may do so when you return to your country.


Holidays

  • January 1,New year's Day
    This is the first day of our new year and has been declared a legal holiday. It is usually celebrated with festivities of all kinds.
  • January 20, Martin Luther King's Birthday
    This day celebrates the work of Martin Luther King, who was a civil rights' activist. Most offices are closed.
  • February 20, George Washington's Birthday
    Celebrated, as a legal holiday, on the third Monday in February. George Washington was the first president of the U.S.
  • February, 14 Valentine's Day
    A greeting card, more commonly known as "valentine", candy, flowers, and other tokens of affection are sent on this day to express our love for special people in our lives.
  • March 17, St. Patrick's Day
    Americans, the Irish in particular, celebrate this day in many ways, such a wearing green, sending cards, and drinking green beer. Leprechauns and shamrocks are typical symbols of this day.
  • March/April, Easter
    Family gatherings are customary on Easter Sunday. Church attendance, colored eggs, the Easter Bunny and big dinners are common ways of celebrating this Christian holiday.
  • May 29, Memorial Day
    Celebrated the last Monday in May. This is a legal holiday which honors the dead of American wars. Picnics and other gatherings are common.
  • July 4, Independence Day
    Americans observe this legal holiday in commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Fireworks, carnivals, and picnics are customarily held on this holiday.
  • September 4, Labor Day
    Celebrated the first Monday in September. This day is observed as a legal holiday in recognition of the working person.
  • October 13, Columbus Day
    This day marks the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. It is observed as a legal holiday.
  • October 31, Halloween
    Children across the country dress in costumes and go from door to door "trick or treating" and receive candy and other treats.
  • November 11, Veterans' Day
    This day is set apart by the U.S. as a national holiday in order to pay tribute to the veterans of past wars.
  • 4th Thursday of November, Thanksgiving day
    This legal holiday is usually the last Thursday in November. It is observed with families gathering for a day of thanks.
  • December 25, Christmas
    A legal holiday, Christians celebrate this day with family and friends. Brightly decorated evergreen trees, gift exchanges, and for the children, gifts delivered in the middle of Christmas Eve night, by Santa Claus, are traditional events of the holiday.

Various other holidays, based on religion, may also be observed. Please ask your company for a list of observed holidays.


Churches and Synagogues


(all phone numbers are area code 513)

Bible Believers Baptist Church
11155 Centennial Avenue
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
489-9193
Douglas Rea, Pastor
Hartzell United Methodist Church
8999 Applewood Drive
Blue Ash, Ohio 45236
891-8527
Doug Westfall, Pastor
Blue Ash Church of God
10153 Zig Zag Road
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
793-1376
Jack R. Holloman, Pastor
Korean Baptist Church of Cincinnati
4829 Myrtle Avenue
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
891-3394
Sang-Koo Lee, Pastor
Blue Ash Presbyterian Church
4309 Cooper Road
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
791-1153
Reverends Lex and Louisa Baer
Mission Baptist Church
9501 Highland Avenue
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
984-2090
Bill Rains, Pastor
Chabad Jewish Center of Blue Ash
9410 Kenwood Road
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
793-5200
Rabbi Yisroel Mangel
St. George Orthodox Church
4905 Myrtle Avenue
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
791-6540
Fr. Paul Bassett, Pastor
Church of Christ
4667 Cooper Road
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
891-3174
Russell Dunaway, Minister
Sycamore Community Church of the Nazarene
4680 Hunt Road
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
793-3921
Glenn Brown, Pastor
First Baptist Church of Hazelwood
11085 Centennial Avenue
Blue Ash, Ohio 45242
489-8535
Reverend Donald Black, Pastor

NOTE: Although there are no Catholic churches located within the City of Blue Ash corporate limits, there are many nearby Catholic churches within minutes of Blue Ash serving Blue Ash residents.