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15 Expats Talk About Life in Mexico

Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: 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.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Expats in Mexico often share their thoughts on what expat life there is all about. Here are some of the examples of how they've advised other people considering a new life in Mexico.

Meeting People in Mexico

Costa Maya, Mexico
Costa Maya, Mexico

Expats living in Mexico talked about meeting people in Mexico and local clubs and organizations:

"If you are working here, start with work colleagues. An organization called MEXPAT also hosts monthly events for expats here," said one expat living in Mexico City, Mexico.

"Just talk to people in Spanish anywhere you happen to be. I'm not a club person or organized. Haven't met any other americans here," mentioned another expat in Mexico.

"There are several local charities you can get involved in, to meet expats and locals, from animals, toy drives, school drives - whatever your interest. There is also the English Language Library in Merida that has many interesting programs," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico.

Expat Life in Mexico

San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

What is it like living in Mexico? Here is what people had to say:

"Because we live in a border region, people's priorities generally revolve around family and work, in that order, then friends, socializing and sports," said one expat living in Tijuana, Mexico.

"People tend to work long hours during the week, not much on the weekends which is generally reserved for families. If you have kids you will be invited to tons of birthday parties, parents are expected to attend, not just drop the kids off. The parties are quite extravagant compared to the US," mentioned another expat in Mexico.

"This is Purepecha country. Of course, people's lives revolve around their families, taking care of their farm animals, and socializing in centro's 2 plazas. Growing and selling vegetables and fruit is a priority," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico.

What Expats Appreciate about Their New Culture

Manzanillo, Mexico
Manzanillo, Mexico

We asked expats in Mexico what they appreciated about their new culture. Here's what they had to say:

"The culture of the island is nothing to appreciate except for the hotel owner who left to work in the states. Where I live now, people say good morning or good afternoon when they ride the cambis (little buses) The children are so obviously loved and I haven't heard a swear word since moving here. This is Purepecha country, the indigenous people who farm and make crafts to sell. I appreciate being among people who have a similar take on life--don't worry, don't hurry, don't take yourself too seriously, trust in God," said one expat living in Purepecha, Mexico.

"I appreciate that I've learned to have a lot more patience most and also to live more in the moment, instead of planning everything. We can't assure tomorrow will be here, so we should live more for today...which is something so many people forget to do," mentioned another expat in Mexico.

"I love that Mexicans, as a rule, put family before anything....work, themselves, money. And the fact that they are so accepting of foreigners, unlike the feelings in the United States," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico.

"I appreciate the "family unit" the most. It mirrors the way things must have been with early migration to the U.S. during and after WWII. I love the ingenuity of the Mexican people. I enjoy seeing their appreciation when you show enthusiam for a job well done. I love that the women cook everything from scratch....little if any pre-cooked foods. Most of all, I truly enjoy the simplicity of life. I find I have a smile on my face most of the time. No Drama (except for the novelas)! Life is good," remarked another expat living in Tequisquiapan, Mexico.

"The love of family. The societal urge to celebrate everything and anything possible. The pace of life. The priorities of day to day living. I love the way we greet each other. I like the impromptu-ness of life here (unless I'm in the frustrated stage from above)," added another expat in Mexico.

The Most Challenging Aspects of Living in Mexico

Mexico
Mexico

Then, we asked expats in Mexico what was most challenging about their new culture. They replied:

"Ha! this is easy. The most challenging aspects are adapting to the mentality (you have to literally dumb down to fit into society, for the most part). I have to be more flexible about time too," said one expat living in Queretaro, Mexico.

"Knowing that you are never really going to be part of it....that you'll always be an outsider to some extent," mentioned another expat in Mexico.

"A delightful challenge is to let go of the "pressue cooker" lifestyle which I lived while climbing the ladder of success. The language, until I learn more, is still slightly a challenge. And, since I really enjoy knowing what's going on in the country in which I live, I really find it challenging that I don't understand the politics of the county. Lastly, I find it very difficult to find other expats to socialize with. Where are you all hiding?," commented one expat who made the move to Mexico.

"Getting used to the acceptance of bureaucracy, the lack of urgency, the hierarchy of society and wondering where I fit sometimes. The gender roles - I get really upset when my wife asks a question and I get the answer. I really hate it when a National assumes that I am a snowbird, a vacationing tourist or a retired person. The locals are really not used to people our age (in our 40's) moving here working and raising a family. They have trouble categorizing us. That has made it a little hard to make local friends, but we are persistent and it is starting to pay off. We ask things like when is the first day of school. In the States that is a reasonable request and when you get an answer it is a certainty. Here, it is a moving target. That fact is not mentioned in the answer and we have to get used to asking back after the answer (to almost anything), "might that change?"," remarked another expat living in Mazatlan, Mexico.

"The utter lack of punctuality. The casual approach and the scandalous leeway business and professionalism are given. The poverty, perhaps, is the most jarring of them all. Be prepared to be galvanized by it," added another expat in Mexico.

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.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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First Published: May 26, 2018

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