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MEXICAN vs. AMERICAN CULTURE: How do they compare?

MEXICAN vs. AMERICAN CULTURE: How do they compare?

You probably know que México y Estados Unidos son vecinos (that Mexico and the United States are neighbors). And although we have many things in common, there are a few things that stand out when contrasting both cultures.

En este artículo vas a aprender (in this video you will learn) the top 5 diferencias culturales (cultural differences) that you for sure will notice if you spend some time observing Mexico and the U.S.! 

Before we begin, you should know that I’m talking in a super general manner. People are not monoliths, obviously. In fact, México es un país enorme (Mexico is a huge country) and the U.S. es aún más grande (is even larger). So, of course, no general description of a cultural quirk will ever encompass the diversity of a people. 

In any case, I’d love to hear what YOU think about this. So, please let me know your own experiences in the comments section!

1. Child-rearing and Family Ties 

La familia es importante en todos lados (family is important everywhere), but in Mexico, family is la prioridad número uno (number one priority). Family comes first: before work, before entertainment, etc. ¡Primero está la familia! (Family comes first!)

In the U.S. it is common for kids to leave the family home at 18, cuando se van a la universidad (when they go to college). By contrast, en México most people leave their homes cuando se casan (when they get married). 

Pregúntale a un estadounidense (ask an American) if their parents ever threw any object at them as a way to discipline them. Now, pregúntale a un mexicano (ask a Mexican) what a chancla is! Tell me in the comments what they answered. 🙈

La chancla (the flip-flop) es el arma elegida (the weapon of choice) of Mexican moms. They would threaten us to throw it at us when we misbehaved. —And sometimes they did it! 

2. National Sport

Both cultures aman (love) el fútbol, but they actually think of completely different sports when they hear the word fútbol/football. 

En México, when we say fútbol, we mean soccer, but when we talk about American football, we say futból americano

3. Sense of Time 

Americans are quite punctual and Mexicans plan to be late. We make party arrangements around the expected tardiness of our guests. 

We actually say: Vamos a invitar a las 6 para que lleguen a las 7. (We are going to invite them to come at 6 so they arrive at 7.) We expect people to be late! 

Si un mexicano te invita a una fiesta (if a Mexican invites you to a party) and you’re not yet accustomed to our relaxed sense of time, your safest bet is to ask:

  • ¿Es a las seis seis O seis, siete? (Will it be at six sharp or at seven-ish?) 

Mi compatriota (my fellow Mexican) will probably say:

  • Sí, sí, como, seis… siete… seis… siete.. siete y media

So, now you can feel at ease arriving one hour or even one and a half hour “tarde” (late). 

4. The way we party!!!!

For most Americans, children's parties are, you know, for children… 😅

En México, tus tíos llevan cerveza (your uncles bring beers) and mezcal to one-year-old birthday parties!! The same is true for baptisms and even baby showers!!

De alguna forma (somehow), every time Mexicans gather in good spirits, there’s bound to be dancing and even singing… especially if there’s mezcal, tequila and someone tiene el corazón roto (is heartbroken). 

5. Our relationship with objects

Mi mamá es la OG (my mother is the OG) of the whole reuse, reduce, recycling issue. 

Somehow, for Mexicans it’s like every object must double as something else. So much so, that a jar of yoghurt filled with salsa or beans is in the memory de cada mexicano (of all Mexicans).

In the U.S. those things go directly into the recycling bin, but in a Mexican household they live on as storage and, después de eso (after that), they evolve into a container where my mom dilutes el detergente para los trastes (the dishwasher detergent). 

Another example:

In the U.S., an oven is an appliance that is used for baking, but in Mexico, it is primarily the place where big pots and pans go.

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¡Muy bien! Now you know 5 of the differences between the American and Mexican cultures. So, when you encounter them in real life, you’ll be in-the-know. 

Tell me, do you agree with my list? Any Mexican-American out there who wants to share their unique perspective as they know los dos lados (both sides)? Let me know in the comments! 

If you want to keep learning Spanish in way that’s efficient, fast, and natural, make sure you check out our free Spanish training. By doing so, you'll discover the method that we use at the Spring Spanish Academy to teach our students to speak fluent Spanish and you also get some Free sample Spanish lessons that come directly from the Academy! 

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