The Benefits of Joining an Expatriate Group in Mexico
Learning about life in Mexico takes time, but expat groups can help you make the transition more smoothly.
Issues of confianza (trust) abound in Mexico. An expat group can recommend reliable workers, from an electrician to a computer repairman to a doctor. I recently needed a babysitter and found one through the group in my area. In addition to trustworthy connections, many expat organizations have the following benefits:
- A connection to a familiar language
- Programs that help the community
- Up-to-date news that affects foreigners
- Information on cultural events in the area
- Art and cooking classes
Expat groups vary from place to place. Some have only a few members, while others, like the Lake Chapala Society, have thousands. Depending on the size, the one in your area may offer different benefits. Regardless, it should offer inroads to your new life and home in Mexico.
Some foreigners belong to an expat group for a short time; others stay on for years. A number of expats in Torreón have belonged to the Circle of Friends group for decades. Many societies have membership fees that need to be renewed each year. This gives you a chance to evaluate the group and its benefits on an annual basis.
Expat groups abound in Mexico. If you’re in Mexico City, go to the American Embassy and ask for a list of societies. If you’re headed to popular expat hangouts, such as San Miguel de Allende, Lake Chapala, or Baja California, you may need only to ask around in the community. For offbeat locations, try searching online.
The following is a list of resources to help you get started:
Baja California: groups.yahoo.com/group/Baja-Web.
Lake Chapala Society: www.lakechapalasociety.org.
Mérida Insider: www.meridainsider.com.
Newcomers Club of Mexico City: www.newcomers.org.mx.
U.S. Embassy in Mexico: mexico.usembassy.gov.
The American Society of Mexico: www.amsocmexico.com.
American Society of Monterrey: www.expatsinmonterrey.com.
The San Miguel Community: www.sanmiguelguide.com/community.htm.
Torreón Circle of Friends: Torreoncircleoffriends@yahoo.com.