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?
Definitely look up the two Merida Expat groups on Facebook before you come. Get acquainted with what goes on, advice for newcomers, how to find things, and, most importantly, introduce yourself and tell when you are coming. There is a breakfast club here, a monthly meet and greet, a bowling league, etc. FB has an activities calendar. I immediately went to several events within my 2nd week here.
In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.
This city is huge and very diverse. It's kind of a melting pot of different peoples and lifestyles. For example, the north part of town is completely modern, with buildings and homes that look very stark with linear architecture. The newer malls are also there. Other colonias range from old, historic structures to a mixture. I live in Campestre, which is one of the more quiet, residential parts but still has plenty of stores and shops and is only 6 miles from Centro (downtown). There is also Uptown, which has its own vibe. So, depending on what you like and how much noise and people you like to be around, there is a colonia for everyone and all get along and are friendly and welcoming.
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
Manufacturing, construction and power are the main industries of Merida. Of course, it is the capital of the Yucatan region, so tourism is very active here as well. I am a retiree so am not in the job market. I will say that you can work here as a foreigner but need special permission on your visa, as most countries protect their jobs for their citizens. A great way to work is invest in opening a business.
In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?
That is a broad question to answer. I have lived in 2 other Central American countries and will say they focus a lot more on family than we do in the USA. Merida is by far more sophisticated than where I've lived before, is a wealthier city than I've lived in before. I would expect the proximity to the US has affected values, although the Yucatan retains much Mayan culture, different than the rest of Mexico.
If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.
Merida is a great city with lots of free activities for adults and children. It is sophisticated, with diverse areas to live in and friendly people, and a good public transportation system. It is a pretty city. However, it is Hot! Come prepared for heat during the day, but the nights cool off comfortably. Make sure your home is well ventilated so that you can enjoy fresh air at night and not need air conditioning. You will not need to bring much, there are plenty of malls and stores with merchandise for you and your home from high end to low.
An Expat Talks about Culture Shock & Living in Merida, Mexico
An expat in Merida, Mexico offers some insight into the challenges of settling in and living there. Some of the topics include driving, what it's like there if you don't speak Spanish, and much more. This expat clearly is an optimist and is determined to make life in Merida with her husband a success!