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Cultural differences in the realm of the Latinos part 3

Latin America: a region that young Europeans are becoming more and more interested in - be it for a vacation trip or a longer stay abroad. What makes the people tick there and what should you pay attention to when you are traveling in Latin America? In part 3, f1rstlife takes a closer look at the region.

Talkative, spirited, party-goers: Latin America and its inhabitants are often compared to Spain or Portugal. Why is obvious. The former colonies inherited much of the cultures of their European conquerors, not just the language. And yet the people of these regions - all called Latinos in the specialist literature - differ a lot from each other if you take a closer look. You should know the most important differences and similarities with your European siblings better if you go on vacation to Latin America or plan a longer stay there. Otherwise it can quickly become embarrassing. Of course, the individual countries of Latin America also differ from one another, but there are still some character traits that are unique to this region.

Europeans, Asians, Africans - many cultures are involved here

The inhabitants in the south of the American continent are the result of a wild mix of different regions of the world, from which their very own culture has emerged. The indigenous people have their origins in Asia, from where they moved to America around 15,000 years ago. With the conquest by the Europeans and their culture of slavery, Asian, Spanish, Portuguese and African roots mixed together. Many Latinos themselves have traits of the Arab culture transmitted through the Spaniards, who lived under the rule of Arabs for several centuries. This mix of cultures has created a special type of person.

Impressive multitasking talent

The Latin Americans are considered to be a very compassionate, humane and relaxed people. They don't get into a rage quite as easily as their Spanish counterparts, have less tendency to drama and are the smaller machos. But what they are in no way inferior to them is their relationship to punctuality, But on the contrary. They like to be generous with time, depending on the country you have to be prepared for delays of between one and two hours. Germans are definitely developing a whole new tolerance for delays here. Reason for their behavior: Human relationships are more important to them than rational things such as appointments - the latter do not have to be strictly adhered to. In addition, they always have a lot to do, many things often need to be done at the same time. What may be very confusing for some Germans is typical of their culture: work, a phone call, a manicure and a soup on the stove - all of this is managed by Latin Americans at the same time. Similar to Spain, Latin Americans also have a tendency to postpone things until later.

Cooking and raising children: traditional image of women

Even if these southerners are more relaxed than some Spaniards, you shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that they rarely get upset and that the calm is absolute. During the car journey, which is a turbulent affair in itself, there can sometimes be a hail of insults. The Latinos are just as unrestrained when it comes to love: They quickly get upset loudly, can sometimes curse wildly and in the next moment they will be the dearest people in the world again. Many people in Latin America have a very traditional role model, according to which women are more responsible for cooking and raising children and shouldn't go out on the streets alone in the evening, let alone at parties. And: Many women live exactly that because they don't know it any other way in their culture. The belief that there can be no friendship between a man and a woman is also widespread. As a tourist you should therefore be careful if you are invited by a representative of the opposite sex, even if it is “purely friendly”. As for Spaniards and Italians, the family is the holy of holies for Latin Americans: Most of the free time is spent in this group, their concerns come first and strangers do not get access to family meetings so quickly.

Care and empathy à la Latina

The people of Latin America are very compassionate people who show a lot of understanding when someone is not doing well. Through the European conquest, their ancestors experienced great suffering and obviously passed on their empathy for such a situation. Anyone who is ill or has experienced a stroke of fate can be sure of their care and loving attention. Even more than their European relatives, Latin Americans are very warm people. They get personal quickly, treat you like a good friend, and express their joy at your presence with exuberant compliments. Even their languages ​​convey warmth, so there are many diminutive terms in Spanish and Portuguese such as “Mamita” (Mamalein) or “cafézinho” (coffee making). Latin Americans tend to have a lot of physical contact and just as people in Germany shake hands to introduce themselves, they give them a hug or a kiss on the right and left on the cheek. This surge of warmth and affection can quickly overwhelm a German: But you should just be happy and meet them with the same warmth, because they mean it honestly.

Celebration and party culture

Anyone who has ever seen the Brazilian Carnival has an idea of ​​how Latin Americans feel about parties: They love it and always find a reason to hold a fiesta (= celebration). The rhythm is in their blood and it often takes less than ten minutes to dance at a party. The parties often last all night because Latin Americans have good staying power - even the older ones. Unlike in Germany, several generations often take part in local parties: Usually the whole family is represented, from five-year-olds to 80-year-old grandmothers, and they all dance. Smaller ones are also typical of the local culture Fiestitas: A cozy evening often turns into a private party spontaneously if someone brings their guitar and something to drink. What we Germans are often too shy for, the Latin Americans seem born for that: You accompany the guitar with loud singing and dance lively, even if only a handful of people are present.

Always a smile on your face despite poverty

Those who explore Latin America are likely to be most impressed by the vast, often untouched landscapes and the topographical diversity in the smallest of spaces (beach, mountains, jungle close together). This environment has also shaped the character of the local Latinos: the beauty of nature has created an enormous optimism. No matter how hopeless and desperate a situation seems, these southerners always get something positive from it. It can be particularly touching when street children have smiles left for tourists, or poor people want to say thank you for a donation with something they like. Because great poverty, which especially affects the youngest, is as present in Latin America as the great outdoors. Even primary school children often work on the streets and try to keep themselves afloat by selling sweets or using their services as car cleaners.

This is how you can score

As in all Latino countries, the same applies in Latin America: meet people as warmly and socially as you are, that is a good basis. There is little not to be done here, but if it is, then it is to honest and too direct to be. Latin Americans, who always care about a good atmosphere and their pride, would rather lie than insult their counterparts or make them look stupid. Hence, they expect the same from you. With subtle messages, like in Portugal, you are more likely to get ahead here. It is also helpful to speak some Spanish or Portuguese, as Latin American residents - at least the older ones - can often only speak broken English.

Girls, watch out:

It is advisable not to walk the streets alone in the evening, as there is a high crime rate in many regions of Latin America. When you're in the club, be prepared for some stubborn suitor. "White" women are very popular with many Latinos and it is important to win them over at all costs. So it may well be that you have to say vigorously several times that you don't want to dance and you may have to break free from a hasty hug. For this reason, it is not wrong to go out to party with a male company or to always have a picture of your "friend" with you, which you can show if necessary.


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was born in 1995 in Euskirchen. After graduating from high school in 2013, she went to Ecuador for a few months - to see something different. Since 2014 she has been studying political journalism at Macromedia in Cologne and works on campus TV and radio. She is most interested in politics, society and travel. Fascinated by the people and culture in South America, she can well imagine working as a foreign correspondent in the region later.

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Category: CultureTags: abroad, stay abroad, culture, cultural comparison, Latin America, Latinos, vacation, vacation tips