For most of us, moving to a new city or country is about pushing our own boundaries, escaping the routine of home and challenging ourselves. When you can’t speak the local language, don’t know where anything in the city is or even how to validate a ticket on public transport, things are pretty exciting.
But while everything should be exciting, there are some things that, well, it’s pretty hard to get excited over. You’ll need to rake around for affordable, well-located accommodation, budget for the different cost of living in the new country and sort out your health insurance. But don’t worry - we’ve created this guide so that you have all of the answers to these problems, and many more, before ever stepping on a plane!
We also throw a few tips your way for things to do and places to see around Guadalajara, its nightlife and the best places to eat and drink. We hope you’ll have a great time in Mexico, and wish you all the best!
Guadalajara has it all. As Mexico’s 2nd-largest city, it offers all of the perks of an urbanised, modern city - and yet, the city centre boasts the 470 year old cathedral and its four famous plazas, rich with history.
As the home of Mariachi music, it’s no surprise to find the city is both vibrant and lively, with a tremendous music scene. The nightlife here offers music of every kind if you do your research, so there’s no genre that can’t be catered to. There are theatres and museums, some of mexico’s best food (according to locals, at any rate… ;)) and the largest public food market in the Western hemisphere.
It’s a dynamic, engaging city in the heart of mexico, and you’d do well to find a better location in Latin America to spend your exchange year.
The predominant language in Guadalajara is Spanish, as spoken by the vast majority of locals. While there’s a good competency in English here, you’ll definitely want to brush up on your Spanish before you visit; on the one hand it would be a bit rude to assume people will speak English, and on the other it’s great fun learning other languages!
There are other, lesser-known languages like Purepecha, Maya and Nahuatl which have been around for centuries here, but no one expects you to learn those.
While over winter the temperature can drop to a nippy 1-2°C at the coldest hours, the weather in Guadalajara is generally very warm and quite humid. The rainy season lasts from around June to October, and you can expect it to be overcast and threatening a shower pretty much all the time.
Unfortunately the rainy season is also when the temperature pushes up towards the 30s (celsius), so it will often be muggy and the air will feel heavy. The upside is that once a spell of rain has passed, the air feels more fresh and clean that it did before - try to enjoy that before the rain starts again! If you’re used to the light breeze of Scandinavia or the dry warmth of places like Valencia, you’ll be in for quite a change.
Snow is fairly uncommon too; it last snowed in December of 1997, which was the first time in 116 years!
Below is a list of all the public holidays in the area. Public holiday means that university should be closed and you get a 3-day weekend! Mark them in your calendar so as to not forget..