Nuevo Laredo, Mexico Report of what it's like to live there - 04/13/17

Personal Experiences from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Nuevo Laredo, Mexico 04/13/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Moscow, Lima, Río.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

An hour-long flight.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Six months.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Work.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Big house, security is OK but no electric fencing, alarm system is not as good as other places.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Tacos, tacos, tacos.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

There is a season for the flying roaches that come out of the sewers.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We cross the border or send it through our office outbox.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Maid, gardener, nanny etc. many available but hard to find someone trustworthy. The cost cost per day is approximately $300 MNX.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There is a private gym with an OK reputation and a "centro deportivo" a government community sports center which is also decent.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes, always in the safe areas: the upper class neighborhoods and around the commercial areas, grocery stores etc.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Yes, classes available. I think you need it.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Oh yes!

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

NO, not safe. There are not trams or trains and I would never take a bus here and I have just never experienced taxis.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

You need good clearance to deal with floods, and with constant speed bumps.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, but it doesn't always work quickly, should take a day to install.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

T-Mobile border plan.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No quarantine, no good vet, I have had two bad experiences locally, it is probably better to go to Laredo, you will find a kennel there.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Decent pay for a local job would range around 15,000 MNX monthly. Volunteer work is available with NGOs and jobs are available in Laredo, TX.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

The women's forum has all the connections to NGOs to do volunteer work.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

No formal dress. Work attire is business casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

I think you know the answer to that. Constant shootings that you can hear from home of drug gangs fighting military. I wouldn't get out of my area, not even by mistake....

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

The local medical care is OK. I like our local Mexican pediatrician. It is hard to find specialists here but you can be treated in Laredo, TX. I haven't heard of any medical evacuations.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Not any obvious concerns, I have lots of allergies but that is throughout Texas, as well. You can't see the pollution in the air so that is a good sign.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Yes, there is something here that has had me sneezing since we got here it goes and comes..

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

No, you will probably have an excess of vitamin D! This place is hot!

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Yes, extremely hot during summer.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Ok this is probably the main reason why I am posting a review. I am simply unhappy. The schools here are just not for us. I have two kids one in Laredo and one in a local Nuevo Laredo, preschool. Both schools are just too far out of the norm.



My 4-year old has 6+ pages of homework every day. He is being forced to read and write in cursive and print, he learned Spanish but he dislikes school and begs every day to stay home.



My 6-year old has an endless list of complaints. The school is very "elite." Parents do professional handcraft work for the 6 year olds. You have to be constantly donating money for anything that can occur to them. You have to do some hours of service or pay 50 dollars per hour you didn't do. The kids seem spoiled, and they have attitudes. My kid comes home talking that way and it bothers me. It seems as if everything there revolves around money.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, the locals are good just know your kid will be doing work at an early age.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It is just OK. You can cross the border anytime, you get to eat lots of Mexican food. The school situation makes it harder for us but another couple accepts the school and seems to have no stress about any of the issues that I see. I would say it is good for families with babies.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

The usual "machismo" but never towards foreigners. Other than that, I haven't noticed.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We can't travel south by car so probably South Padre Island.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Eat! I like Mijitos, Tacos el sobrino and there are plenty more...

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

The glass factory, the market en el centro.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

You can be in the USA in just a few minutes.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

The school situation.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

That depends, I will search for a new school if I find one that we are comfortable with, then maybe.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Motorcycle.

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