Challenges of Living in Latin America
Mar 20, 2013
Even the most optimistic person you know will agree… there isn’t a single place in the world that is ‘perfect’. Sure, photos can make a place look perfect. And absolutely, at any given time while visiting or living in a location, it will feel perfect. But even in paradise, life continues on, day after day, and it’s inevitable that you will come up against frustrations and challenges.
When you move abroad, just remember…
… The local people will (likely) speak a different language and be overall different from you. They’ll have different holidays, different ways of celebrating the holidays you celebrate, different ways of conducting business and different ways of showing respect. They’ll spend their weekends different from you, build houses different from you and eat different food.
… There’s a good chance the weather is going to be different. And lets face it; you’d be hard-pressed to find a country, or even area within a country, which has the same climate year-round. The tropics have tropical weather – hot, sunny, humid and sticky. The Caribbean can have hurricanes. The majority of Latin America has a rainy season – rivers overflow, roads wash out and the terrain gets very muddy.
… There will be bugs. Especially if you’re looking at living on the beach. But, there are bugs everywhere in the world. And the jungle and forest has it’s own share of critters you’ll have to get used to living with.
… People may take stuff that doesn’t belong to them, and you might see people treat each other in ways that you’re not accustomed to. Crime is unavoidable, no matter where you go in the world. It’s up to you to try and avoid putting yourself in a compromising position. (To read more about safety in Latin America, go HERE)
… Building your new life will take a bit of work. If you’ve ever traveled – or even lived somewhere other then your home country – you know that there are welcoming, friendly, helpful and hospitable people everywhere. Of course, there are also disrespectful, rude and close-minded people in those same places. Wherever you choose to set your new roots, it’s up to you to put forth an effort to get to know the people in your new community and meet new friends. It certainly helps if you know or are willing to learn the local language.
… Have a sense of humor and don’t expect things to be how they were when you were on vacation. Costa Rica, for example, is a Spanish-speaking country in the tropics. The people at your local grocery store will likely not speak English (although, maybe they will), and the weather will likely be hot and humid (although, not in all areas). Honduras is a developing country… the power may go out now and again. There are some countries that don’t have street signs or even addresses. You may find that in some places, businesses close down for lunch or for an hour in the afternoon. When you experience holidays in another part of the world, you’ll realize how seriously they take them – businesses may close down altogether!
The bottom line is recognizing these differences and remembering that you’ve made the choice to live in this part of the world. Participating in local traditions and culture is all part of the fun and adventure when living abroad.
No doubt about it, moving to a new country is a big change, and one that shouldn’t be done frivolously. That being said, the way you tackle these challenges can make or break your experience in your new home. Remembering why you made the move in the first place and maintaining a positive and open mind are all key in ensuring a happy and successful expatriate lifestyle.
To experience a taste of the lifestyle in Latin America, check out our Discovery Weekends. You can spend 4 days and 3 nights with one of our developer partners and explore what a new country can offer you. Go HERE now to learn more!