The Difference Between Latin And American Families Explained Tn Sofia Vergara Gifs

So you’re a self-providing university student who has decided to leave the comfort of your own home for a little of the enlightenment, growth (and let’s be honest, partying) that the international scene has to offer. Let’s say that in the search for warm culture, hearty food, intriguing wildlife and a glimpse at diverse and complex political histories you’ve decided to go to South America. Your general perception of Latino culture is developed from a large immigrant population and pop-culture references from the likes of Sofia Vergara, Shakira, and Antonio Banderas.

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Now, let me just tell you that why I make a focused effort to be more like Mrs. Vergara in every aspect of my life… the woman and mother that you see on Modern Family is meant to be a reflection of the typical Latino family. Here are some tips and explanations to help you better understand the difference between Latin and American families and what it really means to be part of la familia!


Hispanic family units are tight-knit. Like so tight-knit many Americans tend to call it “intrusive”. As a university student many teens and young adults still live with their families (actually continuing in many cases until marriage). This means siblings, parents, possibly grandparents and extended relatives all live in the same place. They’re there for every party, every Netflix and Chill with your S.O. and every mental breakdown about your future (let’s be honest… these are far more frequent than you’d like to admit). While many times this can be a nice support system, it can also be trying for a strong, independent university student. University life in South America is much more dependent upon la familia and much less dependent on the “grow up and learn” stage we experience in the U.S. Americans might call it spoiling, for Latinos it is normal.

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Parent’s Role

If the Latino family unit is as close-knit, parents are the string that hold it all together. If you travel to Latin America and stay with a host family you may notice that the mother does most of your cleaning and organizing while the father may try to discuss your future and guide you toward the most secure option.

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These stereotypes exist in the U.S. as well but in South America they are quite deeply-rooted. Living in Colombia I am frequently parented by my boyfriend’s mother who asks when we will be home, does the laundry I accidentally forget to hide from her, and makes me food and drinks I don’t request (which I think we can all admit is the best part of life in South America). The parents of Hispanic culture know everything about their children’s lives and they are an integral part of each other’s daily on goings even when their children are fully grown adults. For me, having my mother clean my apartment or put away my groceries would be to ask too much of her, and would seem to me like she thought me less than capable. Here, these daily interactions are merely a part an intimate child-parent relationship.


Family Time

Within the first week of moving to Colombia I had attended two family lunches and been invited on a weekend trip (all of these including extended family). Now, my immediate family is close. We all live within a few minutes of each other and make it a point to get together every week, but this is something different. Here, extended family can be invited for meals during the week or they all join in activities together, and cousins, aunts and uncles become your double-date partners and best friends. If you are planning to move to South America be prepared to get to know the deepest secrets of the family you live with and become friends with lots of second-cousins twice removed.

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For a woman as independent as I am this kind of familial interaction can be trying, but if you are going to move to South America then you have to learn to get used to it. Try to maintain some things that you feel are essential to your character, but let other small aspects go. If your Latina mom wants to ask you what time you’ll be home respond gently, she’s not pushing… she’s truly worried. Try going out with your Latino cousins and dancing with your Hispanic aunts and uncles. If you approach your experience with an open mind you will learn how to become part of the family, and it may even make you appreciate your own even more.

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