How to survive your first months in Mexico


Your first months of eating tacos and substances you’ve never tasted before, spicy food, arriving (too) early at appointments or dates, struggling with pronunciation and Spanish words and sentences, not understanding Mexican slang or idioms, getting stared at by your new neighbours, driving around in crazy traffic and confusing streets, enjoying the sun and good weather… I could continue for a while. The first months in a new country… or should I say the first days, weeks, or years? The amount of time you need to survive cultural differences and other difficulties may take as long as you need in order to feel comfortable and at home. For that, you can use the following tips at your own pace.

As a cultural anthropologist who has done fieldwork in Indonesia and Mexico, I know that those first months can be tough. Anthropologists use a beautifully designed cycle that everyone abroad will go through. The cycle consists of four phases: The honeymoon phase – The critical period – The initial recovery – and Adjustment. The ultimate goal of passing through this cycle (in the world of anthropology) is ‘to go native‘, in other words: To adapt to the way of life of the country that you are (temporarily) living in. Since it’s a cycle, there is no clear beginning or end and the cycle may start all over again or repeat some of its phases. For those interested, let me tell you some more about this cycle and the context of my experiences in Mexico.


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