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Settling in Mexico

 
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dduck



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 422
Location: In the middle

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:45 pm    Post subject: Settling in Mexico Reply with quote

I recently had a job interview, which seems to be, more or less, in the bag - trying hard not to count those chickens! The school, in Queretaro, wants me to buy a car so that I can travel around the city in order to visit their clients. It's a bit much to ask - arrive in a new country, start a new job, spend the best part of a years salary on a car! However...

Does anyone know, if British licence holders can drive legally in Mexico? I vaguely remember something about needing an international driving licence for Mexico. Anyone know for sure?

Although the school seems to be quite professional, so far they have never offered a permanent job to a foreigner before. They're asking me if I want to have social security payments deducted from my salary, or do I want to not bother. What do people think?

Thanks in Advance.
Iain
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MELEE



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2583
Location: The Mexican Hinterland

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Settling in Mexico Reply with quote

I agree that you buying a car to do their work, seems a bit much to ask. Especially considering the inflated prices of used cars in this country. (protectionist measures)

"In Mexico your own driver's license is acceptable. An International Driver's is a good idea, but don't be surprised if a Mexican cop has never seen one. They are available from the American or Canadian automobile association, or in the United Kingdom, from the Automobile Association or Royal Automobile Club. "
from http://www.guide2mexico.com/content/mexdrive.htm

But as I understand it British Licenses don't have your photo on them, which Mexicans would find REALLY suspect. So I'd go with an international drivers license (or a US or Canadian one for other readers), or just get a Mexican one, which is not difficult to do. My Mexican license has started comming in handy as it is a recoginzed ID and has helped me out in situations when I was asked for my voter's registration card, which people are shocked that I don't have. (You mean you think your government lets foreigners vote?!?)

I would say that you should have social security deducted because that is the only way to be on the up and up. IF you like this country you want to pay your taxes and be a productive part of society (okay so lots of tax money gets wasted or embezeled, but the only way to promote honesty is to be honest yourself.)

Besides, social security is more than just health care, if you are interested in staying in Mexico for a while(and you never know, I came for a year, but I'm in my 6th), you will want these benefits. The two biggest ones are Afore: a retirement fund the government will put the money aside for you, you can collect it when you are 60, whether or not you still reside in Mexico. If you are here for 5 years, it will pay for your vacation back to collect it. Infonavit: a housing scheme that gives you a no interest loan to buy a house, I'm in this process at the moment, I signed my land deed last week and construction starts June 30th! There is also a loan program, and a few other things.

Best wishes,
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some waygug-in



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The school expects you to buy a car?!!!!!! Shocked What kind of salary are they offering? It sounds fishy to me. Confused I have lived in Queretaro and I never needed a car, busses are cheap. (but hard to figure out when you first arrive) Taxis can be quite expensive, depending on where you go.

If they expect you to buy a car, that means they must want you to travel somewhere way out of the city.
I can't say for sure, but I would be very careful about it. Most teacher's don't make enough to afford cars in Queretaro. (most, but not all)
I have a friend who works at tec de monterrey, who drives everyday, but he is one of the lucky few who has a decent job there.
He didn't buy the car there either, he bought it in the States and brought it in.
Anyway, feel free to disregard this if you like. I have a habit of being overly cautious after my time in Queretaro.
Suerte
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 11:55 am    Post subject: . Reply with quote

Quote:
Infonavit: a housing scheme that gives you a no interest loan to buy a house, I'm in this process at the moment, I signed my land deed last week and construction starts June 30th!

- MELEE


MELEE, congratulations on your future new house!

An additional note, I don't think foreigners are elligible for Infonavit in some parts of Mexico. I'm not 100% sure of this, however, just as I'm never 100% sure about anything in this country. The city where I live is too close to the coast. Therefore, foreigners can't have deeds to property or houses in their own name in this city, where deeds have to be in the name of a Mexican citizen or property purchases made through a bank trust.

******

Keep in mind that international drivers licenses don't function by themselves. They must be accompanied by a license from a particular country. I think international drivers licenses are good for only one year; therefore, they have to be renewed annually. My first few years living in Mexico, I used to have an international drivers license and would renew it during my annual visits to the States. However, I found that I never needed it, so now I only use my U.S. drivers license. I have a purchased-in-Mexico car and Mexican auto insurance.

******

As for buying and maintaining a car on a typical teacher's salary, I think it would be extremely difficult. Even used cars are terribly expensive as are replacement parts. Gasoline costs about USD$2.35/gallon. Also, in my opinion, anyone who drives in Mexico without auto insurance is crazy.
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dduck



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 422
Location: In the middle

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information, guys. Yeah, the school expects me to work out in the industrial belt surrounding Queretaro. They are asking for 48 hours a week, which also sounds like it's asking a lot. I spoke to a DOS in Puebla, he was talking about a 40 hour week, where all the lesson plans were prepared, for the teacher, in advance. Eek!

How many hours are reasonable? Taking into consideration I'll have to correct papers and prepare lesson plans outside of working hours?

MELEE wrote:
But as I understand it British Licenses don't have your photo on them...


The new European style licences do have photo on them now. It seems that I can drive on my British licence - only I'd have to be insane to want to do so! Surprised

Iain
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 6:19 pm    Post subject: It depends Reply with quote

Quote:
How many hours are reasonable? Taking into consideration I'll have to correct papers and prepare lesson plans outside of working hours?

- dduck


It depends. (I bet you get sick of hearing that answer to so many of the questions on this forum, right? Wink )

At the university where I teach, for a year I worked 40 hours per week. It about killed me! It involved teaching 7 different groups per week, 5 different levels, plus traveling across the city twice a week to teach a course called Reading Comprehension in English at another campus of the same university. Where I teach, full-time (40 hours per week) tenured teachers teach only 20-25 hours per week, which seems about right to me, considering their other responsibilities. However, we non-tenured teachers don't have that luxury.

A reasonable number of hours per week depends on type of program, curriculum, number of extra responsibilities, class sizes, number of different levels, daily schedule, travel time to and from school and/or between teaching locations, the school's resources and facilities, and lots of other things.

So, the best answer I can come up with is it depends.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9398
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 2:25 am    Post subject: Tidbits from southern climes Reply with quote

If this school in Queretaro has never hired a foreigner before and are asking you to buy a car, perhaps they're assuming you are rich as many foreigners are assumed to be. I hope the pay is good for all the hours they want to give you.

Tim,
Quote:
The city where I live is too close to the coast. Therefore, foreigners can't have deeds to property or houses in their own name in this city, where deeds have to be in the name of a Mexican citizen or property purchases made through a bank trust.


I thought foreigners couldn't buy land within a 50 metre belt from the sea. Outside the 50 is good, no? I wonder how all the Argentines in here in Acapulco do it. Novel solution: buy a house on top of 51 metre seacliff.
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 10:38 am    Post subject: Multiple truths Reply with quote

Quote:
I thought foreigners couldn't buy land within a 50 metre belt from the sea. Outside the 50 is good, no? I wonder how all the Argentines in here in Acapulco do it. Novel solution: buy a house on top of 51 metre seacliff.

- Guy


Unfortunately, there aren't many seacliffs in this part of the peninsula. Wink The closest thing one would find to a seacliff is a pile of rocks a couple of metres high. That 50-metre belt is a bit tricky, too. If any part of a municipio is within 50 metres of the coast, the entire municipio is off limits. That really limits things in the state where I live.

My guess is that the Argentines in Acapulco purchase their property through bank trusts. At least that's the common way that foreigners "buy" property here in Yucatan. Then again, with the right lawyer, accountant, and connections, almost anything is possible in this country.

I think it was MELEE who used the phrase "being able to accept multiple truths" when talking about adjusting to life in Mexico. So true! I'd always thought of it as "no standard ways of doing things," but I like MELEE's way of putting it much better.

Heading out to build my seacliff . . .
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dduck



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 422
Location: In the middle

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 6:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Tidbits from southern climes Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:
If this school in Queretaro has never hired a foreigner before and are asking you to buy a car, perhaps they're assuming you are rich as many foreigners are assumed to be. I hope the pay is good for all the hours they want to give you.


They were talking about 40,000 pesos (or $4000 per annum) after tax, which I think is more or less is around about the average mexican salary.

I could buy a car, but I'm more interested in getting a motorbike. Depends on how likely it is to get stolen. Shocked However, to begin with it's going to be public transport.

Iain
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9398
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:42 am    Post subject: 40,000 per annum? Reply with quote

Do you know how much that is per hour? You are going to need to bring money with you. You will not be able to support yourself on 3000 pesos per month. That is about what your rent alone will be.

Sure, the average Mexican can live on that, but that avergae Mexican still lives at home with mom and a dozen other siblings, all contributing to the house hold. You being alone will have higher expenses. 3000 pesos a week is what you could spend on gas if you buy that car.

I suggest looking more closely at this job offer...
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MELEE



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2583
Location: The Mexican Hinterland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 2:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Tidbits from southern climes Reply with quote

dduck wrote:
They were talking about 40,000 pesos (or $4000 per annum) after tax, which I think is more or less is around about the average mexican salary.
Iain



40,000 PESOS A YEAR!!!
You've got to be kidding, right? That can't be right. I make about 112,000 pesos a year after taxes. The minium wage in the D.F is $43.65 which would be about 40,000 pesos a year. HOWEVER, people earning the minimum wage have at best finished secondary school. When students graduate from our university they can hope to get a job that pays about 7,000 a month in their first year. Which would be more than double what you are being offered. Now, maybe you don't have a degree, training or experience, in which case taking a minium wage job is what you'd expect. But if you have a degree plus TEFL training, plus experience, you should expect to be treated like a professional. A Mexican professional would not make 40,000 pesos a year.
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dduck



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 422
Location: In the middle

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 8:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Tidbits from southern climes Reply with quote

MELEE wrote:
40,000 PESOS A YEAR!!!
You've got to be kidding, right? That can't be right. I make about 112,000 pesos a year after taxes. The minium wage in the D.F is $43.65 which would be about 40,000 pesos a year. HOWEVER, people earning the minimum wage have at best finished secondary school. When students graduate from our university they can hope to get a job that pays about 7,000 a month in their first year. Which would be more than double what you are being offered. Now, maybe you don't have a degree, training or experience, in which case taking a minium wage job is what you'd expect. But if you have a degree plus TEFL training, plus experience, you should expect to be treated like a professional. A Mexican professional would not make 40,000 pesos a year.


This is really useful information.

To be completely honest, so far the school doesn't seem very organised, by European standards Instead, I would say it was bordering on chaos. But I'm in a new country, finding my way as I go along. This is why information from you guys is so valueable.

A little information about me: I do have a degree, and training in CELTA but no experience. They have mentioned, in passing, how much they are prepared to pay me, but I have no details and no contract as yet - even though I started teaching this morning. I don't mind being paid peanuts in the short-term, but as I gain experience this will change.

They did mention that they pay 60 pesos per hour for freelance classes, but as I'm a 'permanent' employee things are different. No doubt this will be discussed further.

Iain
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MELEE



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2583
Location: The Mexican Hinterland

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to add for the benefit of all readers that the minimun wage I quoted for the D.F. (there is no national one) is per day. $43.65 a day. That is for unskilled laborers. It makes the language school pay of 40 pesos an hour look good, put you might end up only working a couple of hours a day. Like Guy said, most Mexicans do not live alone, so your expenses will be higher than most Mexicans.
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some waygug-in



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2003 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!! Shocked

From what you've described I would say RUN, don't walk away while you still have a chance!
Can you spell "scam"?
Are they going to provide you with housing? And at what cost? You'd better know the answers to these questions before you go. It would be hard enough just trying to survive on 3,000 pesos a month let alone pay for gas, repairs and car payments on top of that.

I lived there 3 years ago, my wage ranged between 2500 to 4000 a month, depending on the number of holidays in any given month and the number of students. (usually around 3000) I was paying 800 pesos a month for rent + utilities + phone. I didn't have to pay for transportation (most of the time anyway) because the school had arranged that (sort of). I can tell you that I was not doing very well. Just scraping by. I had to borrow money to be able to leave when my year was finished. I was lucky, I had found shared housing with some other teachers which helped to offset some of the costs. If I had had to rent my own apartment, it would have been impossible.

The cost of living has gone up since then, I'm quite sure of that. I doubt very much that you could do it. I don't know what they are thinking but my advice is to stay away. You can do much better. Incidently, if you are intent upon working in Queretaro, there's another school that just posted an ad for considerably more than what you've been offered.... and you don't have to buy a car. (I guess I can't name the school on this forum) Just look through the international jobs section, you'll find it.

Suerte
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dduck



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 422
Location: In the middle

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

some waygug-in wrote:
DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!! Shocked

From what you've described I would say RUN, don't walk away while you still have a chance!
Can you spell "scam"?
Are they going to provide you with housing? And at what cost? You'd better know the answers to these questions before you go. It would be hard enough just trying to survive on 3,000 pesos a month let alone pay for gas, repairs and car payments on top of that.

I lived there 3 years ago, my wage ranged between 2500 to 4000 a month, depending on the number of holidays in any given month and the number of students. (usually around 3000) I was paying 800 pesos a month for rent + utilities + phone. I didn't have to pay for transportation (most of the time anyway) because the school had arranged that (sort of). I can tell you that I was not doing very well. Just scraping by. I had to borrow money to be able to leave when my year was finished. I was lucky, I had found shared housing with some other teachers which helped to offset some of the costs. If I had had to rent my own apartment, it would have been impossible.

The cost of living has gone up since then, I'm quite sure of that. I doubt very much that you could do it. I don't know what they are thinking but my advice is to stay away. You can do much better. Incidently, if you are intent upon working in Queretaro, there's another school that just posted an ad for considerably more than what you've been offered.... and you don't have to buy a car. (I guess I can't name the school on this forum) Just look through the international jobs section, you'll find it.

Suerte


Thanks for the info Some Waygug-in. As you say there are some really poorly paid jobs in Mexico - the company isn't trying to rip me off, they just want to pay as little as possible and make lots of money for themselves. I'm prepared to put up with it, in the short term, because I have zero experience so getting SOME companies name on my CV is a big bonus for me.

I am actually learning something quite valueable, moreso than the peanuts they call a salary. Exclamation

I checked out the job position advertised; they want a minimum of 2 years experience. I'm still quite some way off from that, plus in another 2 years I'll be too old to apply Sad

Iain
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