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Honest thoughts about young family moving to Ajijic


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Hello.

We are in preliminary stages of research, but we are a family of 4 contemplating living abroad for a while.

A lot of research online focuses on the retirement aspect of Ajijic, but we are not near that stage of our lives. My kids (almost 2 and 4) have attended full Spanish immersion daycare so my 4 year old, in particular, is pretty fluent (she understands everything and increasingly talks en espanol). I know enough Spanish to get into a fight but not out of one, but I'm a fast learner. Husband will have to learn if he's immersed lol.  My research indicates English is spoken pretty readily in this region, but I want my kids to be/remain fluent so having a mix of English and Spanish around them is important to me.

the private schools, as far as I can tell, seem really good. Does anyone have firsthand knowledge about schooling for young kids in this area? Or recreation activities for kids? Would children in this area be considered a nuisance? 

if anyone has any insight into raising a family in this area I would appreciate hearing your thoughts immensely. Thank you.

 

 

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I can't remember the name of the school I. sent my daughter it is in San Antonio near the theater. Also one very nice by Villa Nova. So if anybody will answer with the names would be nice. You may want to search for schools in the Aijic area. There are good schools there. My stepped daughter is now an M. D.

Now be ready you may think you stepped into the movie set of Cocoon.

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Not a lot of young expat families in this area but we do seem to be getting more.  There are good private schools for kids that are fluent in Spanish and you will find young some expats have their kids in them.   If you want to consider Guadalajara as well, there is an expat Guadalajara group there and a fair number of younger people there, most I suspect single though.  I think the name of the page is Mexpat Guadalajara.

The private schools here are popular with the younger professional Mexican families.  Many would definitely fall into your age group.

We do know several younger mixed families with small kids.

 

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I think word is slowly leaking out to families that this region of Mexico is safe, cultural, with great schools. It doesn't surprise me to hear that it seems like more families are showing up!

do you see kids out and about,  involved in community life? 
 

I don't think GDL is where we would set down roots; not looking for a 24/7 big city life (but I understand it's easy to get there, right)?

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I recently learned the International School on the Libramiento owned by Lana has begun accepting students (I think) as young as Kindergarten age and goes through Secondaria. Her daughter, Lily, is one of the teachers. The facility is impressive and I've heard great things about students receiving a quality education. I also understand it's a bilingual school to ensure all students are proficient in English and Spanish.

We've been here a good while and are happy to see more young families moving into the area. Now with multiple and more reliable high-speed internet, we are gaining great fun, young adults and kids. When you and/or they are ready for dance classes, we have 'em! Choices include classical ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, belly-dancing, afro-Brazilian and more.  :)

Salud!

Val Jones. :)

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There is quality education available here. Rarely since 1997 have I seen what I would call children of foreigners walking the streets at Lakeside. When I do, it is usually Holiday season and they are with what looks like grandpa and/or grandma. Of course, the quality education in these private schools is very expensive and that eliminates all but fairly wealthy families. I only know of 1 child that was Mexican/American that attended for 12 years locally in private schools and did well. However, testing to attend college at Texas A &: M University had to go to Blinn College (a Jr. College) first to take some English and Math classes before they would let her attend A & M.

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We have raised two American born children down here.  We settled in downtown Chapala.  The boy had just turned 8 when we moved here, this year he graduated from the local highschool in Chapala connected with Universidad de Guadalajara.  We chose against sending him to an elite billingual private school cause we figured he would hang out mostly with kids that spoke better English and it would hinder his ability to learn Spanish so we put him in all Spanish Carmelite private school called Colegio Chapala for his remaining primary years.  We picked the school cause it was just 2 blocks from home and we were happy with the school within 6 months he was speaking Spanish fairly fluently.  He did his secondary at Loyola and finished up in the Chapala Prepatory.  His little sister was 1 when she got here.  We immediately put her in the Maria Montessori daycare program and she went on to graduate from their preschool.  It was all in Spanish and Maria Montessori only went up to Preshool.  Later we put her in the Decroly private school.  Half the day was in English and half the day was in Spanish.  We finally took her out of Decroly and put her in a public school to try it out for a year, not terribly pleased so next year she'll be going to Colegio Chapala.  We also belived the billingual school was a total waste of time and money.  Yes it is beneficial for the Mexican students to learn English it is a waste for English speaking kids that already speak English fluently.  They spend half the day learning their colors, body parts, animals like how to say butterfly.  Our girl didn't need any of that she was already fluent and that held her back on learning Spanish in our opinion.  As long as you speak English at home and a lot of the tv they watch or books they read is in English they won't lose their English.

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dichosalocura seems to have had the experience you are looking for..I would only add look for a house close by and that has good/excellent internet service if you are going to be working from home. I am sure your children will benefit from this new experience

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Yes, it all depends on the lifestyle you want.  We wanted to live in town where you can walk everywhere.  We picked Chapala for its affordability and easy walkability and FINALLY the highspeed internet from Totalplay is excellent in Chapala.  Its not fun living isolated in a Gated Community and having to drive your kids to school back and forth twice a day at peak traffic times.  That will get old very quickly.  We also wanted our kids to bond with the local Mexicans on the street and the Mexican culture.  It was never important for us to send them to fancy elite private schools to be surrounded by rich light skinned snobby Mexican kids that lived mostly in gated communities in Ajijic while we lived in Chapala.  We wanted our kids to see their friends frequently on the streets of Chapala.  We did pick private schools mostly which were comprised of mostly middle class Mexican families that mainly live right here in town.  When the kids are just 2 and 4, high quality education is not as important, adapting to Mexico and learning to be totally fluent in Spanish is of greater concern. Once they reach secondary you can focus more on the higher quality education.  But of course, that is just my opinion.

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Dicho makes a great point about thinking about the location as a potential benefit for your kids.  Chapala centro area would offer a much better experience for them IMO than some isolated fracc where you are forever having to get a car out and transport yourselves and them.  We live in Ajijic centro and absolutely love the ability to walk to a very wide range of goods and services. 

Chapala would be even better in your situation IMO but bear in mind it can be pretty noisy so look at that aspect carefully before you locate.

That really is a great post Dicho!

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As someone who has lived many years in Chapala, there are a few blocks on some streets that you probably do not want to be on when darkness comes.

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Isn't that true for nearly most cities in the world?  But most blocks in the centro are safe at night.  I am a frequent late night outer and have been so for the past 10 years.  I have never felt threatened or seen anything scary apart from a wino trying to bum a smoke. I have always felt very safe in Chapala.

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1 hour ago, dichosalocura said:

Isn't that true for nearly most cities in the world?  But most blocks in the centro are safe at night.  I am a frequent late night outer and have been so for the past 10 years.  I have never felt threatened or seen anything scary apart from a wino trying to bum a smoke. I have always felt very safe in Chapala.

Most, but not all.

Obviously, you have not ventured into those blocks. I hope you don't.

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Wow everyone, there is a lot to process here. Thank you!

yes, I think the kids going to a strictly Spanish-speaking school is ideal for us. I will look at Chapala center more closely. 
 

Dicho, thank you for relaying your personal experiences. Were your kids able to participate in any clubs/sports/extracurriculars? 
 


 

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Mexican schools do not offer the extra activities that US schools offer. Sometimes you may find a club where you can pay to join  for things like soccer.

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5 hours ago, Zuli930 said:

Wow everyone, there is a lot to process here. Thank you!

yes, I think the kids going to a strictly Spanish-speaking school is ideal for us. I will look at Chapala center more closely. 
 

Dicho, thank you for relaying your personal experiences. Were your kids able to participate in any clubs/sports/extracurriculars? 
 


 

We are friends with a missionary family that had two preteen kids here.  They had no problem finding local sports, including tag (American) football, soccer, mixed martial arts.  As noted these tend to be with clubs that are separate from the schools

 

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On 5/28/2022 at 10:50 AM, Zuli930 said:

We are in preliminary stages of research

Have you researched other areas of Mexico aside from places which have high ex-pat retiree communities?

While I'm quite sure that a young family can find schools and activities that will serve your needs around Lakeside, there are plenty of areas in Mexico with a much higher concentration of younger, non-retired, ex-pat families.

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On 5/28/2022 at 11:02 AM, vetteforron said:

 

Now be ready you may think you stepped into the movie set of Cocoon.

Hey now, some folks here might resemble that remark

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Hi mudgirl- yes, we are looking all around. Merida in Yucatán is on our radar, for instance. Querétaro, Puebla, San Miguel de Allendale is probably getting too popular too fast, sayulita...huatulco is probably too isolated for us but if internet was faster there we'd be very interested. 

Is there somewhere specifically you were thinking of? Thanks!

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25 minutes ago, Zuli930 said:



Is there somewhere specifically you were thinking of? Thanks

I live in Sayulita. There are many young foreigner families with kids here. There is a private school that has classes in both English and Spanish. Of course it is fairly expensive, as are many things in Sayulita, but public school in most places in Mexico is not known for high quality education. Housing here is also pretty expensive and not particularly easy to find affordable rentals.

My daughter lives in Todos Santos, in southern Baja, which is a sweet little town, and there are also young families with kids, as well as some private schools, including a Montessori school. 

Those are the only places I am personally familiar with. I did live in San Miguel for a few months, but that was many years ago.

 

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