Exploring Uruguayan Culture

Uruguay, sandwiched between Brazil and Argentina, is South America’s smallest country. In fact, it’s about the same size as the state of Washington. Uruguay’s landscape remains relatively unchanged over time, as it has not been subject to many natural disasters. The gaucho (a cowboy-like figure) is held as a symbol of Uruguay’s resilient independence in Uruguayan culture. Uruguayans often take pride in being one of Latin America’s more culturally advanced and socially progressive nations.

Host a Uruguayan student in the U.S.


People and Community

Teenagers in Uruguay

In Uruguayan culture, families are interwoven tightly together. The average Uruguayan family has one or two children. It’s common for families to have grandparents living with them at their home. Parents and children tend to have an open relationship in which they discuss their opinions and plans, and the parents usually have the final say. Uruguayan parents seem to always emphasize what their children don’t do, or what they do poorly. It’s somewhat normal for Uruguayan children to be lectured. This attitude doesn’t represent a lack of trust or respect. On the contrary, in Uruguayan culture, it is a sign of attention, and above all, affection and care. Parental decisions are respected and followed, and parents have the last word in family matters.

Language and Communication Styles

Street Performers in Uruguay

The official language of Uruguay is Spanish.


In Uruguay ñoquis is similar to the Italian dish, gnocchi

In Uruguayan culture, beef, which was once consumed in some form almost daily, is now eaten a few times a week, with chicken replacing it at some meals. Pasta usually is served with the main meal: tallarines, which is like spaghetti, and ñoquis is similar to the Italian dish, gnocchi. People often eat roasts and stews, served with potatoes and carrots. Meat pies are also popular menu items. Traditional dishes include asado (grilled beef), chivito (steak and egg with cheese and mayonnaise), milanesa (fried, breaded steak), and guiso (ground beef with rice, onion, and egg). Dulce de leche (a confection made from milk and sugar) is a common dessert.