First of all, there are many similarities between these two regions. Both are radically different from the West in a sense that they offer the visitor a completely different experience. Both offer a relatively cheap cost of living. Both have very sexy and feminine women. Both are great options if you’re a Westerner who’s looking for something new and unique.
That’s pretty much where the differences end. While these regions offer a great escape from the predictability and monotony of the West, at the core they’re as different as they can be. So, if you’re one of those people who are interested in escaping the West and learning about the main differences, read on.
When it comes to the lifestyle, Latin American can be summed up in one word: easygoing. The people are friendly, open and approachable. From the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to the streets of Medellin, Colombia, you can be walking on the streets and easily strike a conversation with pretty much anyone without any issues. When I lived in Rio de Janeiro, I made friends pretty much wherever I went: at the beach, at the juice-bars, on the streets, and many other places.
On the other hand, Eastern Europeans are anything but easy-going. Whereas Latin Americans are “hot,” (especially when it comes to temper, etc), Eastern Europeans are “cold,” (including temper). If you find yourself walking around a random Eastern European city, you will immediately notice a few people smiling, etc; in fact, smiling is frowned upon. (Smiling at some stranger might be interpreted as making fun of them.)
One reason for this is the weather. While Eastern Europe has pleasant summers, the winters are mostly tough and unforgiving as the temperatures typically dip well into the negative territory. Thus, it takes a certain person to survive the average Eastern European winter, and that person is radically different from the tanned, always-smiling and easy-going resident of Rio de Janeiro.
The food reflects these cultural aspects. As an Eastern European, I can safely say that while the food in Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European is very hearty and filling, it’s mostly bland and boring. However, the same can’t be said of Latin American food. It varies from basic but filling to spicy and exotic. Regardless, it’s never boring and bland, but always very colorful.
Latin American culture is about excitement and fun. Eastern European culture is about toughness and stoicism.
These cultures can’t get any different if they tried.
One advantage I feel that Eastern Europe has over Latin America is in its rich history. Eastern Europe has suffered through numerous wars, invasions and all kinds of conflicts pretty much throughout all of its existence.
Latin America, on the other hand, has suffered pretty much no international wars or conflicts since the invasion by the Europeans back in the 15th century.
So, if you’re a history buff, there’s a certain allure in Eastern Europe. All kinds of interesting monuments, statues to various revolutionaries, houses where famous people lived. It’s all here on display in Eastern Europe.
Moreover, this is something you feel. It’s here. It’s everywhere. For instance, take Kiev, Ukraine, one of my favorite cities in the world and where I currently reside. There’s a certain joy of walking around the narrow streets of this capital, the old town, the old buildings that you just don’t experience in Latin America. It’s hard to explain, but it’s definitely there.