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Destination Profile: Mexico

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Mexico is one of the most important developing economies in Latin America and worldwide. From beautiful beaches to ruins of ancient civilizations to colonial towns, the country blends history and modern life effortlessly.

Although many know Mexico for its spicy cuisine and colorful style, there is much more to this diverse and flourishing country. Expats will quickly find a friendly, relaxed, and status-conscious culture that exceeds their expectations, and shatters the stereotypes associated with Mexico. Today, Mexico is a favored location for global companies from everywhere around the world for some of the qualities listed below.

 

Social Climate

In Mexico, you will realize that personal relationships are incredibly important. While in line, do not be surprised if someone walks up to the front and is served because of the relationship they have with the clerk.

Body language is also important and people tend to stand very close to each other in public so do not be alarmed. Do not make the U.S. “o.k.” sign with your thumb and forefinger in Mexico as it is very offensive. Also, winking and whistling are not uncommon during introductions, so do not be offended if you are greeted by the opposite gender with a wink or whistle.

Language

Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in Mexico. The government of Mexico uses Spanish for official purposes but there is no legislation identifying it as the official language. 

A good example of Mexico’s hybrid background are its languages. The country is both the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and home to the largest number of Native American language speakers in North America. Most Mexicans are monolingual Spanish-speakers. While over 60 different languages are spoken throughout the country, only about 6% of the population can speak these indigenous languages. 

While in Mexico, try speaking any Spanish that you do know. Mexicans appreciate when you try to speak Spanish, and this interaction often becomes a relationship-building experience. 

Doing Business

A new employee or visitor should arrive to a meeting on time, but most colleagues will arrive five to fifteen minutes after the scheduled meeting time. A meeting will not begin until the decision makers arrive. Never ask why someone was late to a meeting as it is considered rude.

When making big decisions, Mexicans gather many opinions of those they trust. They may ask family, friends, and coworkers for input. This emphasizes the importance of close relationships in Mexico. Remember that as an outsider, you have to prove your honesty by building a respectful relationship over time.

Housing

There is a wide variety of housing in Mexico that spans thier different regions and time periods. A factor that concerns most though is air conditioning. Some cities in Mexico do not get as scorching hot as many foreigners may assume. In fact, most housing arrangements do not have air conditioning and some do not have central heat either.

Food

Famous foods in Mexico include:

  • ChilaquilesImage of food in Mexico
  • Tostadas
  • Elote from street vendors
  • Mole, a complex sauce that varies by region
  • Tamales
  • Churros

Schooling

Primary school is for students ages 6-12 and encompasses grades 1-6. Junior high school is for ages 12-15, or grades 7-9. High school is for ages 15-18, or grades 10-12. Education is standardized by the Secretariat of Public Education and is mandatory for students through high school. There are both public and private schools. Private schools can be costly but provide a very high quality education. After high school graduation, students may choose to begin a vocation or continue on to college.

Transportation

Public transportation is available in major cities. This is an economical way to get around town, especially if you do not have a car. Be vigilant when taking public transportation, as petty thefts are common.

When traveling long distances in Mexico, an alternative to airplanes is the extensive bus network. If you are planning on driving in Mexico, become familiar with the rules of the road first. Only take authorized taxis and always check to make sure the taxi has a meter or you negotiate price with the driver in advance.

Attractions: Museums and Nature

Some of the top attractions in the Mexico are:

Some of the most beautiful natural features in Mexico include:

Security

Make multiple copies of your documentation and keep these materials in a safe place. These documents should include the location of your nearest home country embassy in case of emergency. When you travel, always be sure to provide at least one other person with your itinerary. Keep your belongings close to you, as pick pocketing and other petty crime occurs in Mexico. Violent crimes also occur due to gang presence, largely as a result of economic hardship. Prepare appropriately before traveling to a new place.

As in every country, there are places that are dangerous to go if you are unfamiliar with the area. Ask the locals where they do not go, and try to avoid travelling alone and at night. In remote areas, cell phone coverage may be limited or absent. 

Whenever you travel to a new place, remember that it is best to avoid large crowds when possible. Always trust your instincts; if something feels wrong to you, leave the area immediately. Allow extra time to travel, especially across borders. Take toll roads when possible as they are better maintained.

Facts about Mexico

  • Mexico has 31 states.
  • Below modern day Mexico City lies the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.
  • Mexico is located in the “Ring of Fire,” which refers to the area’s frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.
  • Carlos Slim is from Mexico. He is one of the wealthiest people in the world and a generous philanthropist.
  • There are words in the English language that have roots in an ancient Aztec language called Nahuatl. A few include tomato (tomatl), avocado (ahuacatl), and chocolate (chocolatl).

 

Enjoyed learning more about Mexico? Read more blogs on the beautiful nation here:


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