What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How long have you lived there?
Over two years
What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?
Definitely seek out the Circle of Friends expat organization when you arrive. Although English is used as the main language of conversation, members come from other parts of Mexico and other countries around the world. There is also a group of French speakers in town and some of their members are in contact with Circle of Friends so you can find them that way.
In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.
Torreon, like most Mexican cities, is an economically diverse city, although it contains a much higher percentage of middle and upper income families than found in many other places. In addition, although there are numerous Catholic churches, there are a great number of Protestand and independent congregations, as well as Jewish and Muslim residents (along with a mosque). Through its hundred year history, immigrants have not only included the Spanish, but also significant numbers of Chinese, Palestinians, Syrians, French, and US residents among others.
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
With a good retail sector (two new malls plus thousands of traditional businesses and mercados), farming and ranching, and both global and local manufacturing, Torreon has a solid, diversified economic base. At one point, textile related maquiladoras were a major player in the economy. There role has lessened, but new industries have come in to take their places -- Caterpillar, John Deere, WC Woods, Takata, Lincoln Electric, and Essex are just a few of the newer players in town.
Beyond manufacturing companies, there are also a good number of high schools, tech. schools and universities in town. Tec. de Monterrey has a branch here, as does Universided Valle de Mexico and Torreon is also the location of Universidad Ibero-Americana as well as the American style school, Colego Americana de Torreon. Perhaps most suprisingly, Torreon is a vibrant center of Montessori education in Mexico, with three large Montessori schools and many smaller ones.
In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?
Torreon is a rapidly growing city in Mexico (over a million people in the metro. area and roughly the ninth largest in the country.) It is a young city, celebrating its centennial this year. The economy is quite diversified, including cotton growing; beef, chicken, and milk ranching; maquiladoras that make everything from jeans to car parts to high tech products. Although not known as a tourist location, it is a wonderful place to raise a family, with an ample supply of golf courses, athletic facilities, and hundreds of great places to eat -- everything from stands selling "lonches" to nouvelle Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian, and Argentinian cuisine.
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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.
Although many people from street sweepers to company managers have a great desire to learn English (and many speak it quite well), it is advisable to learn at least some Spanish before moving here. It is also helpful to study the culture and history of Mexico, particularly of the north, so that you can leave some of your stereotypes and assumptiongs behind.
Although this is a desert area, nights in the winter can get quite cold -- and even high-priced housing may NOT have built in heating systems! Bring your down comforter and a warm jacket for January!