5 Big Differences: Living In the USA vs. Living In Mexico

For a country that has such a close relationship with the United States, Mexico is often the subject of many stereotypes.  People assume it’s a third-world country, or that the entire nation is a drug warzone.  However in most cases, life in Mexico is comparable to life in any developed country—on the surface, at least.  People enjoy a high standard of living, level of education, and employment rate.  However, if you’re planning on traveling in Mexico, there are a few key differences you should look out for.

1. The country is predominately Catholic.  As opposed to the United States, where a wide variety of religions are practiced, Mexico is more homogenous.  A fervently Catholic lifestyle is evident wherever you go, from big cities to the countryside, and you’ll find this affects people’s social and private lives as well.  Women tend to get married younger, families are larger, and weekly mass is a common ritual.  While religion is on a decline in the younger generation, it is still customary that the entire country closes down on Sundays.

Photo by Thelmadatter

Photo by Thelmadatter

2. There is a high level of machismo among men.  Men and women are viewed as having very distinct roles in Mexican society, and if you are a woman traveling alone, you are definitely going to have to deal with whistling and catcalls.  On a more social setting, if you’re dating a Mexican man, he may treat you with exaggerated possessiveness and get angry if you try to “go Dutch” on dates or talk to other men.

Photo by Muramasa

Photo by Muramasa

3. Cost of living in Mexico is much lower than in the United States.  This is true in all cases—rent, groceries, eating and drinking out, and public transportation—except when it comes to buying brand name clothing and shoes.  Popular American brands are very difficult to come across due to high import taxes.  It’s common for people to make a living smuggling suitcases of Victoria’s Secret underwear across the border and selling them for five times their retail price on Mexican beaches.

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4. Corruption is viewed as commonplace.  It spans the high tiers of government down to local bureaucrats.  While in the United States if corruption or nepotism is discovered it’s grounds for scandal, in Mexico it’s taken for granted that if you want something done quickly or well you’re going to have to grease a few palms to get it.

Photo by Zapata

Photo by Zapata

5. There is a slower pace of life.  While the American lifestyle is centered around the workplace and earning money, in Mexico there is a different aesthetic of living.  The family is viewed with utmost importance and people are not afraid to take a day off to enjoy themselves with their loved ones.  The afternoon siesta is common in most places due to the hot weather between the hours of 1 and 3 pm, so expect to see shops and offices closed at this time.

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If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, send us an inquiry and take our free online Spanish language test. We’ll set you up immediately with a native Spanish speaker to help you improve you speaking skills, and learn a bit about the culture before you go!

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