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Honduras, USA: Cultural Differences

La Gringa's Blogicito has three great posts on cultural differences between Honduras and the United States. On the pervasiveness of guns: “Armed guards are outside banks, grocery stores, other stores, gas stations, restaurants, government offices, hospitals, inside malls, on delivery trucks, you name it. I doubt if you could walk one block anywhere in downtown La Ceiba without seeing a gun.” On how to point: “Here in Honduras, many people point with their chin, as pointing with the finger, even at an inanimate object, seems to be considered rude. Accurate directions from points with a chin are just a little harder to decipher.” And on the cross-cultural interpretations of compromiso: “Compromiso means commitment in English. It seems to have no meaning in Spanish.”

2 comments

  • Eddie Argenal

    I know it is hard to live in a different culture. I have myself live among different people and understand what are you feeling. What you are experience right now, is what I defined as “expat syndrome.” You have to know that you are not alone. Expat syndrome affects thousands of people (especially American) living overseas.

    I agree with you; there are abysmal cultural differences between Hondurans and Americans. The differences between Americans and Hondurans can be easily explained by the fact that Hondurans, contrary to Americans, belong to “high context” culture. Hondurans often do not express what they mean only by using words; they also use body language to communicate their ideas and feelings. In consequence, if you are trying to figure out what a Honduran mean, try to pay attention both to his words and body language. If you practice this technique you will surprise to learn that Honduran know what commitment means.

  • Roger Pagoada

    I am so very sorry you feel that way. First of all, you need to know that Honduras is a third developing country, where security for our citizen and bussines can not nearly be compared to the USA. That is a reason why you see so many armed men around the city.

    The using of the chin is not consider rude in Honduras. It is a way to point at things to indicate where they are locate it. Honduran’s specially people from La Ceiba are well known to be friendly and warm.

    My guess is that you had a very bad experiance in Honduras according for the way you expressed on the above commend. I do not want to sound defenced but I strongly belive that you need to be more open to acknowledge that there are many more cultures other then the North American one.

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