Culture Shock in Peru



One thing Westerners may have to get adjusted with when moving to Peru is the locals' conservatism, which is largely due to their Catholic and Hispanic roots. While it is acceptable to wear comfortable clothes when going out on a casual day, dressing formally when dining at restaurants or coming to work is considered the norm. In particular, an expatriate in Peru should avoid wearing vulgar or revealing clothes, especially when visiting churches and monasteries.

There are many unique things about living in Peru which expats may also need a little getting used to. For example, in certain provincial areas, chewing of coca leaves and drinking of coca tea are very ordinary as the plant is not considered a drug. In this country, expats will also do well avoiding discussing politics as Peruvians tend to be sensitive about the matter. A certain term, "cholo," is to be avoided as it is considered derogatory against people with mixed races.

As any expat in Peru would find, living in the country may mean eating meals later than what most people might be used to in other countries. For example, lunch is usually served at around 1 to 2 in the afternoon instead of between 11 am -12 noon. It is not established whether this has something to do with the locals' very casual attitude towards time and punctuality, but many say the connection exists.

Life in Peru may lean more towards conservative than liberal, but it doesn't mean Peruvians don't like to party. They do love throwing parties, and they usually bring the house down each time. For many foreigners, especially in Lima, this only means getting the best of both worlds.



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