As a fresh off the boat (metaphorically!) student in the US, twenty-five years ago, I picked up quite a bit of Americana from Johnny Carson's show. It was a funny way to quickly learn about America and its quirks. It also helped that, in the apartment, all we students from South Asia had was the old antenna-TV, which meant that there was no cable channels to surf to.
I still remember Carson, and the LA Times columnist Jack Smith in his columns, often joking about Bakersfield, about which I had no idea then, only to later I end up in that city for almost a decade :)
It was difficult to tear away from Carson. That late in the evening, I was never keen on watching Ted Koppel and do grad school discussions all over again.
Immigration now is of a completely different flavor. On the one hand, incoming students are way more familiar with the US than I ever was at a comparable age. The phenomenal level of global inter-connectedness along with India having opened up its economy to the external world mean that America is no stranger to the newbies.
At the same time, it seems to be increasingly possible for newbies to be comfortable within their own preferences and not explore the American quirks. Students (and others too) can easily stay with their compatriots, shop for Indian groceries, watch Indian movies and shows, socialize with Indians from work or otherwise, ...
I prefer the experience I had, I think. Though, as I get older, the idea of moving to a new place seems terribly scary. If only we had throughout our lives the courage that seems exclusive to the youth!