I’ve heard many Americans say how French people really don’t like them and are rude to them. As a Mexican, I’ve had no problem with French people. In fact, every country I have been to (out of 20), I have been treated pretty good and I came to the conclusion that no one really hates Mexicans, in general at least. Obviously there are exceptions.
The American tourist stereotype is definitely not a good one as they are usually described as rude, obnoxious and loud.
Being American has a lot of perks in this world, but maybe not so much as a tourist (except for the fact that they don’t need to apply for a lot of visas). On the other hand, being Mexican may not have as many perks but at least we are not hated while traveling abroad; actually, the US might be the country that creates the most problems for us.
In my case, I guess it helps that I am tiny and female, besides being Mexican. Who is ever going to feel threatened by me? Nobody, but I am sneaky and stealthy (not even on purpose) and I would make an awesome spy because no one would ever suspect.
Why is it that Mexicans are liked while traveling abroad? Here are four main reasons:
1. Our history is not one of war or opposition towards other countries. We weren’t in the big picture during any of the World Wars. Our political power upon the world is pretty insignificant, so people see us as pretty harmless.
2. Mexicans can blend in many cultures. I have been mistaken for a Colombian, Brazilian, Italian, Indian, Persian, and even American. My skin tone is not as white as a white American, nor as dark as an African-American, and my features are not really characteristic of any specific race. I am really short, which may be a more Hispanic thing but overall people do not know where I am from at a first look. I believe this is true for many Mexicans. Especially criollo and mestizo Mexicans which have European blood due to the historical Spanish conquest.
3. Mexico has a rich culture. Once people find out that I am from Mexico, they want to talk about it more. They want to talk about the food and about the places, if any, that they have visited in Mexico. In spite all the drug terror news, I think people around the world have a natural affinity towards Mexico, and with reason! Mexico’s culture is deep and complex, and goes back to many centuries. Our ancestors have left us plenty to enjoy whether it is in the form of architecture (pyramids and historical buildings), nature (cenotes and stunning beaches), traditions, and food. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Seriously, who doesn’t like tacos?
4. Mexicans are usually part of the minority. Nobody hates the underdog, am I right? By usually, I mean always. The only place where we are not the minority, is in Mexico, but Mexico as a country is part of the “minority” in terms of the world. There are no grudges held against us and there is no jealousy or envy towards us (there should be, though).
If you are not Mexican, here are a few tips that help being liked while traveling abroad:
1. Learn at least a few words of the local language. Locals appreciate when you try to speak their language even if you don’t succeed.
2. Don’t try to change someone’s culture. You are a guest in their country, accept their ways and even try them out. Be open-minded and patient. Imagine if someone from another country got mad at you for doing something completely normal in your own country.
3. Avoid the touristy places. If you are in Paris for the first time, you obviously can’t not go to the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, but try to avoid the touristy cafés or restaurants or stores or ice cream shops. If you can recognize a bunch of tourists having lunch at a certain café, don’t have lunch there, instead find a place where the locals go by asking one or even following one. This way, you will find better food, better prices and better service, as well as a more cultural experience.
What do you think? Are you a Mexican that agrees? What has been your experience abroad with your nationality?
(This post was inspired by A Journey of Wonders‘ post)
4 thoughts on “Why It Is Awesome Being Mexican While Traveling Abroad and Tips If You Are Not One”
Como Francés viviendo en México, solo puedo estar más que de acuerdo con tu post.
I speak 5 or six languages reasonably well. Plus half a dozen words in half a dozen other languages. Learning the basic words in somebody else’s language is, to me, the first rule of politeness. Educación! Manners.
Thanks for your post.
Your tips are perfect. And often, any prejudice we face is because most people are defensive in the face of anything foreign.
You are so right about not falling into the tourist traps. Unfortunately, so many unique places have now become touristy. I have found that one way to avoid the touristy crowd while still enjoying the experience is to travel just as the off-season begins or the crowd sets in.
The tip on learning the language is dead on. Especially in France. Learning to say Bonjour/bonsoir (good day/evening) and s’il vous plait (please) will go a long way to making encounters more pleasant.
The other advice I would give for Americans coming to France is to contact the local American community here. This is NOT the American ghetto – these are Americans who have live in this country for 20 (like me) or 30 years. Fluent in French and well versed in local customs, they can be your cultural translators. We have a very good grasp of the things that Americans find difficult to adjust to here and can give you a few tips.
I loved this post because for years I had a friend here from Mexico. She was also married to a Frenchman and had lived here for many years. We had a lot to talk about and we used to joke that we North American women had to stick together. 🙂 She is back in Mexico city now but I think of her often and I miss her a lot. Before she left she passed on a friend, a Jesuit priest in Paris who has become my friend as well. It was an incredible gift…
Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to see people agree with my tips 🙂