Things that foreigners should avoid

As foreigners living in another country almost everything around us is different. The food, the cultural habits, the ways to communicate with people, the colloquial words particular to each country, the music and even what people consider funny.

When some people move from their country of origin or the one they had lived in for most of their lives, to a new country, they start complaining about the things that do not fulfill their requirements. The issue here, is that those requirements are based on their own country’s rules.

For those who live in a different country and  for their friends also, here is a list of the things that are to be avoided if your desire is to adapt to the new country you are living in.

1. Don’t compare the food
The food is going to be different. If you are expecting to eat the same food that you ate in your country, you’ll be disappointed. Even if the restaurant’s name is the name of your country it is very likely that the products they use are different from the ones back home. You’ll get used to the new flavors before you even notice, and when you actually eat something from your country you’ll enjoy it 10 times more!

2. Learn the language
Even if you learned the language before your arrival, when you first get there you will need some time to adjust and learn the new lingo. Every country has specific words that you will have to learn in order to be able to fully participate in the conversations. Challenge yourself and always be prepared to learn something new. People know your first language is not the same one that they speak and they will understand if you make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to speak, practice is what you need to become an expert!

3. Avoid speaking your language in front of natives
It is rude and people don’t like it when you speak in your own language and they can’t understand you. I know that whenever you find someone who speaks the same language that you do, you want to stay in your comfort zone. This really annoys the people who don’t speak the same language that you do.

4. Your customs are different from the ones here
In your country there are many little habits that you do and probably don’t even notice. When you move to another country you start to realize that you do things differently. When you are living in a system with different rules you have to follow them. Being different is nice and every now and then is cool to show how you do it in your country, but not always. Show your friends that you care about their way of doing things and that you respect their culture.

5. Complaining is not nice
This is the most important thing to avoid as a foreigner. Don’t complain! People that complain about the new country are annoying. There is a reason why you moved. If you miss your country, that’s perfectly understandable and we all go through the same. Complaining and comparing your country with the one you are living now and stating all the facts why your country is better is not the way to go when you are trying to fit  into this new environment. Talk about the good things from your culture and share about your country while also emphasizing good things about your current country of residence.

Explore, enjoy, have fun! You have the opportunity that few have, which is to live in another country and get to know another culture by experiencing it. Being a foreigner can be really fun. How it turns out to be is up to you!

I know there are many more points to avoid when someone is living in another country. What do you think I’m missing? Do you have friends that are foreigners and do some of these things?


Dating is a foreign language

Dating is never easy.

Whether you are from the States or from any other part of the world, finding someone that you love and that loves you back is hard to do. When you are dealing with people from your own culture, it’s easy to know how to act or what the other person means when they say or do something. But if we are talking about understanding another culture for this type of interaction, things can be a little confusing.

Almost every girl has a list of the things she wants in her “ideal match,” whether it is written or in her head– and guys do, too. Finding someone that fulfills the requirements of your list can be complicated.

First of all, the person needs to have at least three major characteristics from your list. What are the most important ones? Only you know, but if you have them in mind it will save you a lot of time that you might be wasting with “players,” luring you into a relationship that you are not looking forward to having.

I was completely sure of the type of guy I wanted to date: someone who loves God more than anything else in this world, fair-colored hair, speaks English as his first language, and ready to start a serious relationship. In other words, the “keeper” kind of guy.

Things did not go as planned.

I met someone from my same culture, atheist, with dark hair, that speaks Spanish as his first language, and absolutely not ready for a serious relationship– and I was attracted to him.

I thought that because of his charming personality, it didn’t really matter if he didn’t have most of the characteristics on my list. Our conversations were so deep and honest that I thought I was talking to my soul mate. The way we understood each other and helped one another through hard times is not something that you find every day.

One week, everything changed. He was not the same person, or maybe he was showing his true character.

When things started to look suspicious, I had to back off and think from an outsider’s point of view. (Friends are always great when it comes to this type of wake up calls!)

It didn’t take long until I realize that being with him was one of the dumbest decisions I’ve ever made. In between distrust and tears, I had to go back to that list and put my priorities in order.

When I finally did that, things started to look good again. After doing that, I was at the starting point, ready to set out on my journey that will eventually lead me to the person with the characteristics on my list.

Dating is never easy, but setting priorities and knowing what you want will eventually take you to the right person that will make you realize that all the waiting was worth it.

Here are some differences between the American and Latin American culture when it comes to dating:

America has something notoriously different from every other country that foreigners can tell immediately. In my country, if someone gives you their phone number it’s because they are friends or maybe because they need it (to ask a question about a class or just to be in contact), and it doesn’t mean there is any interest in the other person. Here, it’s the opposite. So, be careful not to give the wrong impression.

Texting is one of the things that changes completely. This is an inevitable part of the dating process. If you asked yourself why, then you are probably already married or out of the “dating stage.” When relationships begin, there is usually texting involved. First, as friends with random text messages about irrelevant questions. Then, the phone calls begin to appear. In Argentina, smily faces and exclamation marks are not always a sign of flirting.

If you are a woman from Latin America, then you are probably used to waiting for the man to open the door of the car for you. For some strange reason, this is not as common among American boys. Some of the rare specimens will surprise you with this attitude, others were not raised with this quality.

If you were wondering about who pays the bill on a date, the answer depends on whether you like the guy or not. If you do like him, he can pay. If not, then you have to pay. And about sharing your frozen yogurt, you might want to think twice if you want to do that. Decide before you get in the car because if you share that delicious dessert then you are sending him a message. The next thing you know, you are in a relationship without even knowing about it.

There are endless aspects when it comes to dating. Some cultures share habits and some others are completely different. You might be living in a country where your culture differs from the one that primes in that place. Even if you have never left your country of origin, but have met some foreign people, can you tell the difference?