Latin American Culture

1) Visit the market!: One of the greatest parts of these cultures is the existence of open-air markets as centers of commerce for anything from clothing, to fruits and vegetables to furniture. While markets still exist in the United States, they are not nearly as heavily used as those in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and simple trip to the fish market can be a valuable cultural lesson, and a great way to meet people.

2) Leave the rush behind: The pace outside of the U.S. and Europe can be very different from the fast-moving, “more, more, more” attitude of United States. While great diversity exists between the citizens of Latin American, African and Asian countries, most returning volunteers will note that their host organizations typically take time with their work, and don’t necessarily spend much time watching the clock or worrying about schedules. While it can be difficult to change your usual work attitude, it is important to remember that it is not your job to impose American ideas about time management in your host organization. It can be quite refreshing to let the work happen without the added stress of strict deadlines, and most volunteers leave their host country with a new outlook on the importance of getting a job done right, if not done fast.

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