Although, Latin America and the United States are on the same side of the world, there are many cultural differences that sometimes may be shocking and surprising for people who travel for the first time. Sometimes these differences tend to be adopted by those who are travelling and get to know other cultures, or for those who decide to stay and try their luck in a Latin country. This allows us to live in a rich and diverse world. Here are some of the shocking differences you can experience when you visit some of the Latin countries.
Do you like Kissing? – Kissing and hugging are demonstrations of affection and they are very common in Latin countries. In most of them, including some countries in Europe like Spain, when you meet someone, even if it is for the first time, you kiss on the cheek. On the other hand, in America people are not used to kiss someone they have never met before and they will get really shocked if they are not aware of this, and are introduced to a Latin person, and before getting to say “hello”, the person embraces them with passion, holds their face and kiss!
Family and Neighbors First – “What happened to that wonderful sensation experienced in family reunions and the enjoyable neighbor relationships?” is the usual question asked by Latin people as they see how the world is changing and relationships are not as they used to be. But the real thing is that, although things are changing; in Latin countries, these kinds of relationships are still present in everyday life. Far different from America, it is very usual to meet with the family, especially at the weekends, have a big barbecue or dinner, and have friendly relationships with the neighbors, almost as if they were family.
Grow Up – It is very common in English-speaking countries to see how kids grow up and start shaping their lives focusing on their study, job and leaving home! Latin countries are being influenced through the years with this kind of lifestyle, but it is not unusual to see some people in their twenties, or even thirties who are still living with their parents! It is changing smoothly, but in many cases, the parents´ house is still home.
Party Time – If there is a shocking difference between these cultures, there is no doubt that nightlife deserves to be mentioned. In Latin countries, it is common that young people go out at night after midnight and dance and drink until late in the morning; but before that, they gather somewhere else, in a house, on the street or kiosk to drink and talk. One interesting thing is the “botellon” in Spain, where hundreds of young people gather in a park just to drink all night.
Food – This last point is not intended to talk about food itself, but about what it represents for Latin people. Whether we are talking about Latin Americans or Europeans, they enjoy food and meals in a very different way. Sitting around a table with the family, having elaborate meals and chatting is something very special. It is a time to communicate and stay up to date with the loved ones.
The cultural differences may be shocking at first sight, but it is very interesting to exchange ideas and points of view with people from different places; know their habits, their tastes, how they live and how they see the rest of the world, and fortunately, nowadays we have all the tools to take advantage of that. Let´s not miss it!
Courtesy of The Spanish Group.