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An Expat Talks about Living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Lancaster

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Lancaster is a difficult place to fit in and make friends, which is one of the reasons I moved away after growing up in the area. Many of the churches in the area are large and impersonal. Volunteering is a good way to get to know people no matter where you live. Contact United Way LINC for more information on volunteer opportunities. Habitat For Humanity is active in Lancaster, and even has a Re-Store selling second hand building supplies. If you want a professional affiliation, I suggest trying Lancaster Young Professionals, Rotary, or the Chamber of Commerce.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

The area is predominately Christian, with many denominations. There is also a Jewish Community Center. People in Lancaster do not tend to be very tolerant of differences. The schools are predominately white students, except in the city. Students who are not affluent, cool, and/or athletic are picked on a great deal. If the 'wrong' kind of house is built in an upscale neighborhood, the residents of that neighborhood snub the homeowner.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

There are a few Universities in Lancaster, including Millersville and F&M. Armstrong is located in Lancaster. There is a heavy retail sector and a large tourism industry. Clipper magazine, a nationwide mass mailing coupon magazine, is located in the area. Printing is a local industry (Cadmus). It is much easier to get a good job in Lancaster if you know the right people than by searching the help wanted pages.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Lancaster is a very high-pressure, materialistic, work-oriented area. People tend to run quite politically conservative. There is an abundance of shopping malls and outlets. Unfortunately, many parts of Lancaster no longer live up to their quaint reputation of being Amish farm country. The area lacks a sense of community, and long-standing communities tend to be insular.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Good luck... maybe reconsider the move unless they knew a lot about the area and were still willing to take the plunge. It really helps to know someone if you are moving from far away to Lancaster. People who I met who were transplants to the area and did not know anyone told me they were lonely.

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