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8 habits of happy and healthy expats living in Latin America

An expat’s life is certainly an adventurous one. It requires leaving one’s home country and moving somewhere new. Stepping onto the plane marks the start of a whole new reality – one that can change everything. However, where you’re headed also makes a huge difference. Every country is unique in its charms, challenges, and culture. Known for its incredible diversity, Latin America holds a special place in the hearts of those who choose to live there.

To ensure you make the most of life in the area, this Pacific Prime Latin America article covers 8 habits that contribute to the health and happiness of expats living in Latin America. Regardless of where you’re from, integrating these practices into your life will help you understand and appreciate Latin American culture.

1. Realize that every country is different

Each country in the region is entirely unique. Each has experienced various historical events that have shaped their special, one-of-a-kind cultures. With this in mind, you’ll know that speaking with Argentines won’t be the same as speaking with Colombians, Mexicans, Panamanians, or Bolivians. Neglecting this piece of information will hinder the chances of truly getting to understand what makes each country different.

2. Know that Spanish is not universal

Spanish, Portuguese, and French are spoken in Latin America. There are also many aboriginal languages such as Guarani, Aymara, and Quechua – to name a few. Even the Latin American countries that do speak Spanish speak different Spanish, using distinct words, grammatical structures, expressions, and accents. On top of that, the same word can be said in different ways in different Spanish-speaking countries. Happy expats living in Latin America know they won’t speak the language exactly like the locals do, but are open and enthusiastic about learning how to.

3. Don’t live in fear

Expats who arrive in Latin America and are already afraid are off to an unfortunate start. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot before your adventure has begun by closing yourself off just because you’re scared. Happy expats are aware of the issues of insecurity in the area. But they do not respond by closing off and living in what is known as an “expat bubble”. Instead, they take safety precautions so they can avoid living in fear and make the most of the experience.

4. Accept that things work differently

While this is often more so for expats who are used to living in developed countries, it can also affect people from other parts of the region. The electricity might go out sometimes and transportation delays could make you late for work. Your meeting might start much later than the allocated time and you might wonder why people aren’t putting their trash into bins.

Whatever the case may be, accepting that things in Latin America don’t always happen as expected is a must. Happy expats are those who have become more flexible and adapt to unexpected circumstances.

5. Think like an adventurer

Latin American countries are so diverse, making them exciting and intriguing to explore and understand. But expats often don’t make the most of the opportunity. Instead, they choose to interact with just one of the many identities – which is typically the closest to theirs. Latin America has lots to offer not just in things to see and do, but people to meet, tales to tell, and more. A happy expat takes this opportunity to look through the lens of an adventurer – exploring, questioning, and learning as much as possible along the way.

6. Stay clear of sulking and criticizing

Poverty, inequality, and corruption may be obvious in the region. However, criticizing, being down, or fooling yourself about its challenges isn’t going to change things. Happy expats aim to learn the underlying causes of these issues so they can do what they can to make a real difference. They realize that these issues are more complicated than they appear and are unlikely to be solved from a single thought. Know that things take time to change and contribute where you feel called to prevent external circumstances from getting you down.

7. Celebrate life

Whether it’s eating something exotic, exploring the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, salsa dancing in a bar in Cali, Colombia, or attending a football match in Buenos Aires, Latin America is full of opportunities for making the most of life. Dancing, making jokes, messing around, joking, and having fun make an expat’s life in Latin America that much happier. Whatever you choose to do, bring all of yourself to the experience and do it with enthusiasm!

8. Prioritize health

No matter where you live, taking care of your health is a must if you want to live a long and joyful life. Changing your food habits can be tough but remember to include vegetables and fruits in your diet to get essential nutrients. Regular exercise, staying hydrated, and connecting with people are also essential to your physical and mental health. While you can do your best to stay healthy, unexpected circumstances such as accidents can get in the way.

Fortunately, you can make sure you get the best treatment possible without worrying about hefty hospital bills. Health insurance ensures you have access to quality medical treatment and services at any time. Before moving to Latin America, be sure to secure the best health insurance in Latin America so you’re covered in the area.

Pacific Prime Latin America is here to help

Whether you’re looking for expat health insurance, family health insurance, or any type of health insurance, Pacific Prime Latin America is your insurance broker of choice. We compare health insurance quotes so you can get the best plan for your needs and budget. Contact us for impartial advice or a free quote and plan comparison today.

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Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime Latin America
Jantra Jacobs is a Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She writes and edits a diverse variety of online and offline copy, including sales and marketing materials ranging from articles and advertising copy to reports, guides, RFPs, and more.

Jantra curates and reports on the results of Pacific Prime’s monthly newsletters, as well as manages Pacific Prime’s Deputy Global CEO’s LinkedIn posts. Complemented by her background in business writing, Jantra’s passion for health, insurance, and employee benefits helps her create engaging content - no matter how complex the subject is.

Growing up as a third-culture kid has given her a multicultural perspective that helps her relate to expats and their families while 8 years of working remotely have given her unique insight into hybrid work arrangements and enthusiasm for employee benefits.
Jantra Jacobs