Home Mexico Forum Mexico Guide Moving to Mexico Real Estate Healthcare in Mexico
Mexico
Resources
City Guides
Cigna International Health Insurance
JoinSign In
Cigna International Health Insurance

Mexico City >

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Mexico City, Mexico

Sep 05, 2016


Mexico City, Mexico

An expat from New York City describes the culture shock she experienced living in Mexico City. She appreciates that people in Mexico City able to enjoy the moment instead of hurrying through life.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Mexico City

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

Yes. Before and after the move.

Expats living in Mexico interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Mexico interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

Yes, I spoke Spanish fluently.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No. I was born and raised in New York City. Every day in NYC is more of a cultural shock than any typical day in Mexico City! Most North American expatriots like to present a Pollyannaish view of Mexico to convey how much more culturally accepting they are then any of their conationals at home. Such is not the case with me.

Moving to Mexico

Moving to Mexico soon? AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Their experience and expertise allows them to guarantee their clients the best quality moving services. Get a moving quote today.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

It was like going into a time barrier, back to the 1940's. Young men who would be decked out in new sneakers and clothing with exaggerated masculinity in NY or LA were on bicycles selling fruit here or selling newspapers in the street. Only once did I hear a man raise his voice and only once did I see a man in a shipping office lose his temper. He was immediately surrounded by armed-guards. Just imagine that in the u.s.?

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

The folks in this city were not very friendly, compared to those in the Dominican republic, Haiti, Cuba or Jamaica. Occasionally, you'd get someone who was fascinated with foreigners to be your friend, but usually it was just 'hello' and 'good-bye'. I felt like an outsider and a freak. Spanish spoken with a thick accent drew countless stares and nervous glances, and then I began to long for my native city, which has so many immigrants in it that no one even cares!

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Anger at being ripped off at a laundromat and having all of my clothes dry cleaned when I specified that I only wanted them washed and folded.. I was also tricked into becoming a principal at an elementary school when all I had wanted was to be a 4th grade teacher. All of the women whom I worked with their were extremely oppositional or passive aggressive, although there was one who was kind.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Having to conceal the fact when and if you dislike someone. Not being able to throw temper tantrums in public without facing possible legal problems. Being able to enjoy the moment without being paralyzed by thoughts of what you have to do in an hour or tomorrow! Being obligated to greet each and every person who you come into verbal contact with, saying 'buenos' or 'buenas', which would be unheard of in the U.S.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Not reading newspaper editorials that dare to criticize any Mexican political officials. Plus, very few people say what is on their minds, sort of the opposite of African-Americans, West Indians, or Jews in the United States. It is a xenophobic culture, for the most part, sort of like the Chinese culture. Mexicans are far, far more relaxed when and if they are amongst their own kind, although there are occasional and definite exceptions.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Not really.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

You can live here relatively cheaply if you are not in a tourist and/or expatriot area. Forget about Cabo San Lucas or San Miguel de Allende. Learn the language and live as a Mexican does. The taxis are cheap. If you don't want to hail them off of the street, call a private company. Don't be afraid to be the center of attention.

Read Next

Retirement-In-Lake-ChapalaAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Lake Chapala, Mexico

A retiree who has lived all over the world as a house sitter, talks about packing up and making the permanent move to Lake Chapala, Mexico. She had been there many times before and is thrilled she finally made the move - she appreciates the lower cost of living, expat community, close proximity to Guadalajara.

Retirement-In-Ajijic-and-ChapalaAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Ajijic and Chapala, Mexico

A retiree in Ajijic (Lake Chapala), Mexico chose to move to Lake Chapala because of its lower cost of living, better weather and friendly people. Life in Lake Chapala has exceeded his expectations -- he bought a house and got married.

Moving-To-Poza-RicaAn Expat Talks about Moving to Poza Rica, Mexico

An expat talks about what it's like living in a city in Mexico that's not popular among expats. While the cost of living was extremely low, he advises others to choose cities with a more expats.

Moving-To-Playa-del-CarmenAn Expat Talks about Moving to Playa del Carmen, Mexico

A retiree who visited Playa del Carmen and then returned a month later to rent for a year is very happy with her decision. She's living 3 blocks from the beach and paying a third of what she'd be paying in her home country.

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.
Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Mexico from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

15 Expats Talk About Life in Mexico

Expats share some insight into what it's like to live in Mexico on a day-to-day basis once you actually make the move and get there.
Expats share some insight into what it's like to live in Mexico on a day-to-day basis once you actually make the move and get there....

Book Review: "Mexico: The Trick is Living Here"

Julia Taylor's book is packed with practical advice and cultural insight and is a must have for expats and anyone preparing to make the move to Mexico.

Julia Taylor's book is packed with practical advice and cultural insight and is a must have for expats and anyone preparing to make t...

Crime in Mexico: Where are the Safest Places to Live in Mexico?

Where are the safest places to live in Mexico? The most unsafe areas are well-covered in today's news headlines, but those considering a move to other cities or towns in Mexico should carefully research their possible destinations, talk with other expats and visit before they move. This article highlights members' recent discussions and comments about crime and safety in popular expat locales and some off-the-beaten path destinations. If you live in Mexico, we encourage you to submit an update on your city or town.

Where are the safest places to live in Mexico? The most unsafe areas are well-covered in today's news headlines, but those considering a move to other cities or towns in Mexico should carefully resea...

10 Tips for Living in Mexico

Is it safe to live in Mexico? What should I bring with me to Mexico? How can I find a home? Expats offer advice on these and other topics.

Is it safe to live in Mexico? What should I bring with me to Mexico? How can I find a home? Expats offer advice on these and other topics....

Retirement-In-Lake-ChapalaAn Expat Shares What it's Like Retiring in Lake Chapala, Mexico

A retiree who has lived all over the world as a house sitter, talks about packing up and making the permanent move to Lake Chapala, Mexico. She had been there many times before and is thrilled she finally made the move - she appreciates the lower cost of living, expat community, close proximity to Guadalajara.

A retiree who has lived all over the world as a house sitter, talks about packing up and making the permanent move to Lake Chapala, Mexico. She had been there many times before and is thrilled she fi...

Moving-To-Poza-RicaAn Expat Talks about Moving to Poza Rica, Mexico

An expat talks about what it's like living in a city in Mexico that's not popular among expats. While the cost of living was extremely low, he advises others to choose cities with a more expats.

An expat talks about what it's like living in a city in Mexico that's not popular among expats. While the cost of living was extremely low, he advises others to choose cities with a more expats. ...

Mexico Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2019 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal