Mexico: IN View

Indiana’s relationship with MEXICO


As one of Indiana’s largest trading partners, Mexico has many ties to the Hoosier State. Whether it’s a long standing university partnership like the one between IUPUI and Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo or the Badges Without Borders program that provides public safety officials in Indianapolis with immersive learning experiences in Mexico, there are numerous ties south of the boarder throughout the sectors. With over 110,000 Mexican immigrants living in the state of Indiana there are many unique cultural ties within our communities as well as depicted in the WFYI program, Peregrinos


Mexico is Indiana’s 2nd largest export destination behind Canada, accounting for 6.261% of all exports in 2014. Major exports include vehicles and parts as well as industrial machinery (including computers). 

Cultural Insight – Familia

In Mexico familia (family) is extremely important and includes both nuclear and extended families. These families often live together or very near each other and are obligated to help each other out. In Mexico, personal relationships are key to business success and the only way to really know a person is to know the family. This, therefore, leads to an emphasis on relationships in the business setting. 

Cultural Insight – Mañana

Time in Mexico is much more fluid and flexible than in the United States. Work days are generally scheduled around a two-hour siesta in the mid-afternoon and business processes usually proceed at a slower pace than in the United States.

Quick Tips on Proper Protocol & Etiquette 

    • DO acknowledge the most senior person in the group first. Respect for age and status should be observed.  

    • DON’T put your hands in your pockets or on your hips. This is seen as rude and an indication of a challenge. 

    • DON’T be late to a meeting. Your Mexican business associates may be late, as Mexicans have a very relaxed view of time. As a foreigner, however, you will be expected to be on time.

    • DO have a copy of everything in English and Spanish (paperwork, business cards, etc) and present your business card with the Spanish side facing the recipient. Spanish is the language of business. 

    • DON’T use idioms or slang when speaking to your counterparts. Along with humor, idioms and slang can complicate communication across cultures. 

     • DON’T criticize or humiliate anyone publicly. The individual’s dignity is extremely important and should be kept intact as much as possible.

    The International Center’s Marketing and Communications Associate, Kaitlyn Neel, sat down with Ruth Rojas, Relocation Specialist and Mexico native, for an interview about a few popular Mexican holidays. 

    Kaitlyn: In the United States, Americans tends to make a big deal out of Cinco de Mayo. What’s it actually like in Mexico?

    Ruth:Cinco de mayo –or The fifth of May- is a Mexican holiday that commemorates La batalla de Puebla –or The Battle of Puebla- where a smaller and far less equipped Mexican army defeated the French forces of Napoleon III, in 1862. Later on Mexico lost the war but the battle win over a French army that had not been defeated for almost 50 years continued to be a sign of pride. In Mexico this is not even an official holiday nor is it considered one of the major holidays in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo traditions include civic ceremonies, parades, and street festivals across Mexico and it is mainly celebrated in the state of Puebla.

    Kaitlyn: Some people misinterpret Cinco de Mayo as the Mexican Independence Day. Will you tell us about El Grito?

    Ruth: In Mexico, the Independence Day celebrations of September 16 represent the nation’s most important national holiday. The importance of this celebration comes because it reminds the people of the origins of their nation and those that fought and died so that Mexico may be free. On that date back in 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo issued a proclamation known as “El Grito ” — or “the shout” — that united the many different rebellions going on against Spain into one cohesive struggle. Later, México achieved its independence from the Spanish rule in 1821.

    Kaitlyn: Are there any special foods or traditions Mexicans partake in for El Grito? What is your favorite part?

    Ruth:My favorite tradition is the commemoration of “El Grito” (no need to duplicate) Every year on the night before of the 16th of September, the President of Mexico addresses the Mexican people from the balcony of the National Palace with a modern version of the famous Grito de Dolores. He shouts “Vivas!” to the leaders of the Mexican Revolution and ends with a cheer echoed three times by the huge crowds that have gathered: “Viva México!” His cry is echoed throughout Mexico by the governor of each state. 16 de Septiembre is an official holiday in Mexico and it is a day full of celebrations with civic acts, parades, festivals and parties with traditional Mexican food like pozole, tamales, tacos and tostadas among many others.

    Kaitlyn: Now that you live in the United States, what Mexican holidays do you still celebrate?

    Ruth: I still celebrate a lot of holidays and Mexican traditions here in the US, not only official holidays but a wide variety of other traditions and celebrations, including el día de Reyes-King’s Day-, el día de la bandera –Mexican’s flag day-, el día de la independencia –Independence day- and día de muertos –day of the dead- among others. I like that I can find many of the traditional foods here in local markets in Indy and also that there is a large interest on celebrating the Mexican heritage and culture here in Indianapolis.

    Have you experienced Mexican culture? We would love to hear about your story. Share it with us! 

    Or are you planning on doing business in Mexico? Learn more about our Protocol and Global Competency Services on our website.