As an American living in the United States, it used to be easy to stay stateside and never leave the country, working for a large firm and living in a homogenous Anglo-American culture. However, as the world becomes interconnected and globalized, what is going on in Panama City has much more personal meaning to the American Businessman now than it did twenty years ago. With international markets now tangling together and multi-national corporations expanding over all 6 (and sometimes 7) continents, it provides huge incentives for business-minded individuals to go overseas and set up shop, join a corporation that outsources you (sometimes against your will), or a simple opportunity to travel and work from your home.
My point of focus will be Latin America. I have spent a good portion of my life traveling to and from different countries in Latin America including Mexico, Guatemala, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. During my travels, I made it a goal of mine to come back and work in South America at some point. In creating this page I hope to address some of the Hurdles in travelling abroad, and the highs and lows of being an international businessman.
Living in Latin America can be a bit of a shocker for most Americans who haven’t left the states. I found that most people think of Latin America as being a bunch of third-world mud-huts and taco trucks, punctuated by beautiful resorts and party cities like Cancun. The reality is that there is everything in between in South America. I have seen areas of immense wealth and poverty, and I’ve seen middle-class neighborhoods and everything else under the sun down south. Wat really sets Latin America apart isn’t just the infrastructure, the poverty, or the wealth, it’s the mindset, culture, and the language that shapes everything. Which brings me to point number one. Before you even try to understand the culture, understand the language. It’s pointless trying to live in a country long-term if you need a translator to get around everywhere. Not understanding the dialect poses a trump-wall sized barrier to any Native you are trying to connect with, and being fluent in Spanish is the Key to Latin America, simply because almost every nation south of the U.S. Border speaks it.
Secondly, get a better understanding of the said country’s culture by watching their media. watching Spanish films, TV, Pop Culture, News and even Latin Youtubers will help you brush up on Spanish while giving you insight into the mindset of these people and the countries they are from. Being able to interact with Latin Americans outside of a tourist setting requires a deep understanding of their culture. In this blog, I won’t have the time to instruct you on the norms and observations of each individual country. That is up for you to read up on, but I can point you in the right direction. Reading, watching, and listening to their media before traveling to their respective countries is the first step to prepping to travel down south.