The ABC’s of Being an Expat in Mexico

Moving to any new location requires a period of adjustment, no matter what part of the world you are relocating to. The Mexican way of life has a number of things you should prepare for as it really is a different pace than the rest of the world.
An Exercise in Patience
Mexicans do things at a much different pace than you see in the United States.  They take their time and there isn’t a whole lot of urgency around anything, and that can be from sitting down to a meal to the cable company taking weeks to show up to install your service.  Living in Mexico means learning patience and being flexible because it’s not a go-go-go mentality here. If you are someone who expects immediate gratification, you may end up pretty frustrated with the lifestyle here.  If you are someone who can be flexible, you’ll find the laid-back lifestyle to be very rewarding and relaxing.
The Art of Negotiation
Almost everything in Mexico is a negotiation and many people expect you to bargain with them.  (NOTE: Bartering and haggling are two different things. Always be polite!) With the exception of your utility bills, large chains, and grocery stores, you need to learn the art of negotiation. Keep in mind however that for some people, this is their only livelihood so what may only be a dollar to you mean much more to them. Agree on a fair price for you both and always show respect.
Learn the Basic Lingo
For the most part, any major tourist destinations have many English speaking people and you can get by without knowing any Spanish but if you plan to make a home here, it’s a good idea to learn some basic Spanish phrases. It will make shopping in open markets a lot easier.
Give Back
One of the main reasons why many people move to Mexico is its affordability. Your cost of living is much less than in the U.S. or Canada. While many people may come here and take advantage of it, it’s a good idea to give back to the community you are living so well from.  There is a wealth of opportunities where you can volunteer your time and help out good causes. From a local Rotary club to spay and neuter clinics for dogs and cats, you can find something to give back.
Dive into the Culture
If Mexico is going to be your home, make an effort to learn some of the culture and how things work in the country. Learn what to do if you have an emergency, the different types of police in Mexico, and social etiquette when you go out. What comes naturally to you may not to another culture and it’s important to make an effort to fit in because ultimately, you are a guest in their country.

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