When I started working in SMA, I jokingly referred to the project as “The Old Gringos.” That was before I hit the field for the first time and realize that the expat community consisted of a variety of age groups, and not necessarily all were retired.
Earlier today I received this comment about the show:
It was only mentioned in passing on the show but I was wondering if you would have any information on how many young individuals (couples) (20-40)are moving to Mexico. Is there a community in SMA, and are many people coming with young children? Do you know of any other cities (except for Gdl and D.F) which are seeing the immigration on younger peoples from the North? Are there jobs available for academics in smaller cities?
My fiance is Mexican ( I met him in Mexico 6 years ago) and we have been living in Canada for the past two years. I hold a MSc from Mcgill University in Montreal and did my research in Latin America.
I have lots of friends abroad and in Mexico but am curious to know if many couples from Canada and the US have made the move and how there children manage with such things schooling in the public school system?
(It is hard to leave family isn’t it?)
This is a good question. I have not done research in other Mexican cities yet, but I know of a few places where expat immigration is common, even younger expats. The first is the city of Puebla and the nearby village of Cholula are another place (and both are among my favorite places in Mexico). Cholula is the home of the Universidad de las Americas (UDLA), a bilingual university that has a substantial number of expat faculty. If you are an academic, UDLA would be a good place to start looking for a position.
If you are thinking about making the move south, I would strongly suggest that you take an extended vacation to the place(s) you are considering first. If you and your kids speak Spanish, there are many good options available to you, especially larger cities that have more educational and job opportunities. SMA does have a good elementary school system, but parents were pretty honest about the fact that they know there are trade-offs raising kids in Mexico. They are bilingual and grow up in a supportive, friendly environment. But they will not get the same types of educational opportunities (i.e., fewer computer classes), but that is not to say that the educational opportunities are inferior. They will be different, but I have yet to meet an expat family that regrets their move to SMA.
One thing that really bothered me is the fact that you really have very little time to make a point on a program like this. I guess this is why the “sound-bite” is so essential. One thing I would have liked to discuss is how easy it is to develop friends and social networks among expats. True, it would be difficult to leave one’s family and friends in the U.S., but as I’ve mentioned here before, many expats in SMA see their friends as pseudo-family. I cannot tell you how many times older expats have talked about the care and support they receive from others in the community. So in a way, the network can mitigate the difficulty of being away from one’s extended family.