What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How long have you lived there?
What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?
Use your skills to get some form of employment. Consult, teach, help with a multitude of civic type organizations. Immerse yourself into the life.
In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.
Ibarra is considered pretty diverse as far as Ecuador is concerned. The largest group is Mestiza at 75% with an equal amount of Afro, Indegena and Blanca...all at about 8%. There is lots of commerce here and it is surprising to me how quickly people here adapt to the internet and other technologies so readily. I forget that the US was once technology illterate.
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
There are two large mercados for agricultural products and pretty much anything else. The city is converting the airport to an empresarial incubation park and the new City of Knowledge (similar to RTP, NC) is being built now near Salinas.
In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?
Ibarra is the capitol of Imbabura and as such has many lawyers in the area but it is primarily agricultural with a lot of commerce going on. It is the largest of the cities in this province and offers a lot of night life, greater restaurant selection and a pretty progressive city leadership.
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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.
I have a close friend who is going to move here. He loved his visit here a couple of months ago. I told him that the culture is very different form the US but that is true anywhere in the world. The only way to learn is through immersion into the life here. I took a job consulting for the municipio, another side task of teaching the local kids in our barrio English and I applied to teach at the local University. The more active I am, the faster I get what is going on here. Ibarra is no Quito; it is like most other towns in Ecuador, just a little larger at 150,000 people. My Spanish is constantly improving. Our farm is becoming more productive, our list of freinds is growing. But it all takes lots of time and personal investment of yourself.