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Hola! First Questions!

 
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Jolly Green



Joined: 08 Feb 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:40 pm    Post subject: Hola! First Questions! Reply with quote

Hey, everyone. I live in the frozen North, up in Minnesota and I have sworn and vowed to move AWAY from this God-forsaken ice factory as soon as I can possibly afford to after I finish school. Naturally, I have a few questions I'd like to ask, so here goes.

About teaching English there. I've read about how that's nearly impossible to live on, but here's the thing; I think have a bit of an advantage, here. I get veterans disability benefits every month. It won't be enough to live on by itself, but I'm pretty sure it means I won't have to work AS MUCH to get by down there, but I need to figure out just how much I WILL have to work. What's the average pay for just one teaching gig down there? Just one. Or maybe I should say "EACH teaching gig". I'm trying to figure out how many jobs I'll hafta hold down to live comfortably, hopefully without going insane. I have experience teaching Engish. I did it in South Korea for four years and I still do it online today. My plan is to go to one of those schools where they get you certified with a CELTA or something similar and then they help you find your first job. Sound good?

I'm currently going to school to study computer graphics; illustration and animation. Two things about that. First, could I possibly get a job related to that field down there instead of teaching English? Second, if I CAN'T get a job in that field down there, I'd like to do my own freelance work on the side. I plan to do a lot of business online. What's the internet service like down there? Is it fast enough? Is it reliable? I might actually wanna continue teaching English online, since it probably pays better than most of the jobs I'll get there. To do that, though, I need a reliable internet connection. Am I gonna be able to get one there?

Also, what kinds of job do most of the expats there do for a living? I understand a lot of them are retirees, but for those who DO have jobs, what do they do there? I'd like to keep my options open as far as what kind of job I would have there.

I don't actually speak much Spanish yet, but it's going to be a while before I'm ready to move down there, so I plan to study it and I plan to move some place where there's a large community of gringos to help me get by until I've got a handle on the language. Of course, I'll do my best to make friends with the locals, too.

That's about all I can think of, for now. I know you're gonna shoot a few holes in my plans. That's fine. That's why I'm asking all this. Fire away.

Thanks everyone. Hope to see some of you there in the next couple of years. ^_^
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 872

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You didn't mention if you have a 4 year degree or not. That is the real key to getting a good, steady job with living wages. If you already have some kind of income and don't need a full time job then either your online teaching pay might be enough or just picking up a few part time private classes. I live in a small town in Mexico and have been working for an online school for three years now, no internet problems at all. I lived in Mexico City for many years and had no internet problems there either. In terms of what you can expect for pay, it really varies a lot depending on your education and experience. Small, private neighborhood schools generally pay anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 pesos a month, but usually include full benefits. Larger international style schools pay between $15,000 to $30,000 - but if you work in one of the high end schools you will be dealing with spoiled brats, and loads of stress. Private classes pay anywhere from $120 to $250. They are often the best option as you will have (mostly) adult students who are motivated to learn. Another option is working in a language school. Starting pay is not great, but if you have other income it might be OK. Also, language schools are a better long term option than short term, as you can often move into other positions. It is not too likely that you could do any other work for a Mexican company without speaking much Spanish, but you might eventually be able to do freelance work. In terms of living in a gringo enclave - if you are looking to save money I would recommend against it as you will pay more for pretty much everything in an area with lots of foreigners and if you want to learn Spanish, it will make that harder too.
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Jolly Green



Joined: 08 Feb 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Bad Beagle.

Thank you for your reply. I DO have a four-year degree already. (You need one to teach in a Korea, too). I am working on another one. I currently receive $822 a month in veterans benefits, which, I believe, is not enough to live on by itself, right? The online school I teach for doesn't give me very many hours, actually. If you know of another online school I can teach for, by all means, let me know. I feel like I pretty much have to live in a gringo enclave at first. I'm going to need at least a few gringos around to help me get by until I get the language down.

I DO need to work for a Mexican school or a Mexican company of some kind in order to live there, don't I? If I'm not employed buy a Mexican business, why would they let me stay? I'd just be a tourist, wouldn't I?

Again, thanks for your help.
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notamiss



Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 871
Location: El 5o pino del DF

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest you change your thinking about needing a gringo enclave to get started off. 1) If you are in a place with lots of expats, you will be competing with the other English speakers, and all the potential jobs where English is an advantage – like teaching – will be wrapped up already. 2) Others here have plunged into a Spanish-language, expat-free environment cold turkey and survived, learning on the fly. It can be done. 2a) The more you associate with other English speakers, the slower your Spanish learning will be. If you do as you plan, namely study some Spanish basics before coming down, you will be able to get started with minimal language help. Most importantly, your Spanish progress will be exponentially faster if you don’t depend on others to help you communicate.

As for computer graphics, illustration and animation, if you can get freelance clients anywhere in the world, it’s doable, but if you’re thinking of getting hired in Mexico to do that kind of work, it’s very unlikely because you’d be competing against a big pool of similarly educated, talented and job-hungry locals.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 872

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$822 dollars is a little over $10,000 pesos. In a lot of places it is enough to live on. I live in a small town and that amount would be amble as the cost of living is very low (rent for a 3 bedroom house is 80 dollars, for example). In a larger city like Mexico City, it is doable, but would be tight. In an area with lots of expats, such as Cuernavaca or San Miguel de Allende, it would be even tighter. But pretty much anywhere you should be fine with another $500 dollars or so, so working part time should be enough to get by one. I guess where you end up living will depend on what your goals/reasons are for living in Mexico. If you want to learn Spanish, a small town with few foreigners would be ideal. If you want the comfort of other English speakers, for the most part, you will pay for that privilege. Though not so much in Mexico City, where you could live in a variety of places yet have other English speakers easily available. You also want to think about safety. Some parts of Mexico are much safer that others, with the safest being in the south, though many small towns all over Mexico are largely untouched by drug related violence and crime in general. The town I live in, for example, just had it's first murder in over ten years yesterday, and you would have thought it was the second coming the way the place was crawling with police. It ended up being a case of self defense - someone was trying to steal someone's truck and the truck owner had a rifle and defended himself, so not sure if it will end up being ruled a murder or not, but I digress. So there are lots of things to consider, the kind of lifestyle you want to have will depend on how far you can stretch your money to a large extent.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 872

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jolly Green wrote:


I DO need to work for a Mexican school or a Mexican company of some kind in order to live there, don't I? If I'm not employed buy a Mexican business, why would they let me stay? I'd just be a tourist, wouldn't I?

Again, thanks for your help.


There is a retirement visa that requires a certain amount of income. Not sure what the amount is, though. You can also just come and go on a tourist visa, it is good for 6 months, so that would mean you'd have to leave twice a year to renew it. How much is your online income? With that and your pension you might not need to work at all.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9403
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadBeagleBad wrote:
Jolly Green wrote:


I DO need to work for a Mexican school or a Mexican company of some kind in order to live there, don't I? If I'm not employed buy a Mexican business, why would they let me stay? I'd just be a tourist, wouldn't I?

Again, thanks for your help.


There is a retirement visa that requires a certain amount of income. Not sure what the amount is, though. You can also just come and go on a tourist visa, it is good for 6 months, so that would mean you'd have to leave twice a year to renew it. How much is your online income? With that and your pension you might not need to work at all.


Doesn't that retirement visa now need one to show 100,000 USD in the bank plus a monthly income of $2500 USD?
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:
BadBeagleBad wrote:
Jolly Green wrote:


I DO need to work for a Mexican school or a Mexican company of some kind in order to live there, don't I? If I'm not employed buy a Mexican business, why would they let me stay? I'd just be a tourist, wouldn't I?

Again, thanks for your help.


There is a retirement visa that requires a certain amount of income. Not sure what the amount is, though. You can also just come and go on a tourist visa, it is good for 6 months, so that would mean you'd have to leave twice a year to renew it. How much is your online income? With that and your pension you might not need to work at all.


Doesn't that retirement visa now need one to show 100,000 USD in the bank plus a monthly income of $2500 USD?


To get a residente temporal non-working visa, I though all you needed was to demonstrate income of around $2000US a month.
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Jolly Green



Joined: 08 Feb 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I DO want to learn Spanish, of course, but I'm worried that it'll be really hard to get by without a little help from a fellow gringo. Am I wrong? I was able to do alright in Korea with just a few survival phrases and a little pantomime. Would that work in Mexico? What if I need to have a full conversation with someone? I imagine it'll be pretty hard to get set up down there without being fluent in Spanish. What about finding an apartment? Getting my utilities set up? What if there's a problem with the utilities? Stuff like that is what leads me to want to have at least a few English speakers around. I don't need to live in a HEAVY gringo population; just enough to help me get my footing there, y'know?

I'm aware of the safety issue and I definitely plan on taking that into account when I decide where to live. Ideally, I'd like to live in a coastal city. Not right on the beach, necessarily, but relatively close to it. I just never wanna see winter again, y'know? I'm sick of snow and ice and Mexico sounds like a nice place, even aside from the good weather. I think I'll like the culture, the food, and the ladies.

My online job doesn't give me many hours these days. If I can find another school to teach for, I probably will. Right now, I make around $200 a month. Pension? I think you might have the wrong idea about my age. I'm 36. I'll probably be 38 or maybe 39 by the time I'm really ready to move down there. I'm in college for a second degree, as I said, and I don't finish that until the middle of next year. I'm hoping to be down there before winter that year, but we'll see where I'm at then.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 872

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps pension was the wrong word, but the so called retirement visa doesn't have any age restrictions, just that a person have a regular monthly income that originates outside of Mexico.

There is a difference between a gringo enclave, haha, and having a few random gringos around. Aside from that a lot of Mexicans speak English, especially in larger cities, but also in unexpected places. For example, there are a fair number of American born kids of Mexican parents who live here - some of them don't even speak Spanish.

In general, there is less work to be had in beach towns, and what there is is highly sough after. Not trying to discourage you, but give you a reality check. The weather in most of Mexico is pretty mild. Where I live it is "coldish" in December and January, getting down into the 50's at night, but still in the 60's to upper 60's during the day. By late February it is back up upper 70's and sunny pretty much all the time.

Lots to think about and consider, I know, Mexico is a big country, it is hard to decide. If I could live anywhere I would live in Puebla or San Miguel de Allende. But that's just me, depends on your interests, and since you need to work that will have to come into play as well.
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notamiss



Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 871
Location: El 5o pino del DF

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jolly Green wrote:
I DO want to learn Spanish, of course, but I'm worried that it'll be really hard to get by without a little help from a fellow gringo. Am I wrong? I was able to do alright in Korea with just a few survival phrases and a little pantomime. Would that work in Mexico? What if I need to have a full conversation with someone?

Like BBB says, there will be English speakers around, even without your being in a gringo enclave. (Some, perhaps even most, of those English speakers will be Mexicans, not necessarily fellow gringos.) Maybe lots, perhaps a few, but there will be some. (Another thing about gringo enclave dwellers is that plenty of them don’t have such good Spanish, so you couldn’t count on just anyone to be useful as an interpreter.)

But the biggest thing you’re discounting with these worries you expressed is the learning curve. Your Spanish will get better. You will find yourself learning more all the time. And your learning speed will be faster the less you associate with English speakers.
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isla Guapa wrote:
Guy Courchesne wrote:
BadBeagleBad wrote:
Jolly Green wrote:


I DO need to work for a Mexican school or a Mexican company of some kind in order to live there, don't I? If I'm not employed buy a Mexican business, why would they let me stay? I'd just be a tourist, wouldn't I?

Again, thanks for your help.


There is a retirement visa that requires a certain amount of income. Not sure what the amount is, though. You can also just come and go on a tourist visa, it is good for 6 months, so that would mean you'd have to leave twice a year to renew it. How much is your online income? With that and your pension you might not need to work at all.


Doesn't that retirement visa now need one to show 100,000 USD in the bank plus a monthly income of $2500 USD?


To get a residente temporal non-working visa, I though all you needed was to demonstrate income of around $2000US a month.


Here's the information Jolly Green needs:

Income Requirements
The Residente Temporal income requirement is a monthly income from outside México equal to 400 times the basic minimum wage in México City. For 2014 the min wage is $67.29 pesos. (It goes up a little each January.) So the min monthly income requirement for one person in 2014 is $26,916 pesos. See the note below for the family plan. 400 x $67.29= $26,916, about USD$2,100.
The financial requirement can also be met by submitting an original and copy of proof of investments or bank accounts with average monthly balance equivalent to twenty thousand days of general minimum wage during the last twelve months. 20,000 x $67.29 = $1,295,200, about USD$100,000
The Residente Permanente income requirement is a monthly income from outside México equal to 500 times the basic minimum wage in México City. For 2014 the min wage is $67.29 pesos. (It goes up a little each January.) So the min monthly income requirement for one person in 2014 is $33,645 pesos. See the note below for the family plan. 500 x $67.29=$33,645, about USD$2600
The financial requirement can also be met by submitting proof of one of the following:
Original and copy of proof of investments or bank accounts with average monthly equivalent to twenty-five thousand days of general minimum wage during the last twelve months. 25,000 x $67.29 = $1,682,250, about USD$129,500.
Original and copy of written proof from a Notario confirming that you own real property,. or have trustee rights, with a value equal to forty thousand days of the minimum wage. 40,000 x $67.29 = $2,691,600, about USD$207,000.

Source: http://www.rollybrook.com/how_to_move_to_mexico.htm
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Jolly Green



Joined: 08 Feb 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, good; I was thinking most of them probably won't speak good English. I guess. I was basing that on my experience in Korea, where most of the adults don't speak English too well. I'm sure I won't have TOO much trouble learning Spanish. Once I've made up my mind to do something, I tend to go at it pretty hard.

What's the weather like in the summer? I mean, I'd rather have a month of too-hot than a week of too-cold, but how hot are we talking? Lotta sun burn issues down there?

I think it's gonna be a while before I'm making enough money for a retirement visa, but thanks for the info. Maybe I'll work at one school and teach a few private lessons on the side to meet friends and help pay the bills. I've been thinking of going to one of those ESL teacher training school where they get you certified and then help you find a job.

Speaking of schools, what online school do you teach for, BBB? Do they assign you your students or is it one of those schools where you have to recruit them yourself?
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Phil_K



Joined: 25 Jan 2007
Posts: 1896
Location: A World of my Own

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The heat really depends on where you are, it varies greatly throughout the country. As an example, here in Mexico City the hottest months are March-May, but usually only around 28-30C. The "summer" is generally cooler on average, although it can reach those high temperatures for spells, but as the rainy season runs from May-Sept/Oct, that keeps things in check a lot. The peak months for rain are July/Aug. If you decided to go to places such as Villahermosa, Hermosillo, Mérida, etc., you can expect some days to be pushing 40C or more. It's really a case of deciding where you want to go, and checking out the climate for that place.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 872

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where I live there really isn't any summer, the weather is pretty much the same from February till November, with it being a bit colder in December and January, warmer in February, mid to upper 70's, then from March till October 70's to mid 80's with an occasional hotter day. It starts to cool down a bit in November, with it being a repeat of February. It rains very little, as I am in a semi arid area, and while we do have a rainy season, that only means it MIGHT rain a couple of times a week, and when it does it is only once. Aside from that the weather is pretty consistently sunny and pleasant.

I work for Open English, but not as a teacher any longer, I moved into a teacher observer/coach role about 15 months ago.

I agree with NotAMiss that you will learn Spanish much faster if you live in an area with fewer foreigners, and people are very willing to help. Aside from that, if you live in a more settled neighborhood and get to know people - store owners, etc - you will also probably be safer than living in an area that has a lot of foreigners, areas that tend to be more transient, have less of a neighborhood fell, and often have higher prices on everthing from small items to large. I am mostly talking about Mexico City as I lived there for many years.
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