Culture is what makes us who we are. The way we were raised and our surroundings all affect our personal identity and also the identity of our community. Often the source of disagreements is rooted in cultural differences. When relocating to a new country, adapting to their culture can be quite a challenge but ultimately key to adjusting to our new surroundings as well as to being accepted into our new community.
There are many cultural differences between Salvadorean, American and European culture. For example, the traditional roles in the family unit have survived the test of time here. Husbands work, wives stay home and raise the children. Families and their extended family remain very close. Some even live together in small homes. Closer to the city there are more women who work outside of home and divorce is not as uncommon as in the more rural areas.
Salvadoreans are friendly and hospitable. They will share their meals with total strangers even if they have very little. Refusing food is even considered offensive. Food is an integral part of Salvadorean culture. Pupusas and encurtido, corn tortillas, corn atol drink and tamales are amongst the most common Salvadorean food. These delicious dishes are largely based on a high corn diet, but Salvadoreans also take in a lot of local fruits and vegetables.
Another aspect of Salvadorean culture is respect. Respect is shown to elders by addressing them as Usted or by their title as Señor or Señora. Wealthier people regardless of age are addressed Don or Doña. When entering a room the guest is expecting to go around the room and greet each person individually. When walking down the street it is considered polite to say hello to each passerby, particularly in smaller communities. Most Salvadoreans are loving and caring, thus they treat everyone with respect and extend their hospitality to all.
Their culture makes Salvadoreans the lovely people that they are. It is our role to embrace that culture, it will only enrich our lives and experiences in this wonderful country.
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