Working in Mexico without Spanish?

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Working in Mexico without Spanish?


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Old 6th April 2010, 02:56 PM
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Unhappy Working in Mexico without Spanish?

Hiya,

I am currently living in the UK, but want to move to Mexico. My wife is Mexican and we have been living in England for the last 5 years. We have talked numerous times about moving, but I have always been concerned about work!! My Spanish is virtually non existent and I wish that I had spent more time learning. My wife seems to think there are still opportunities for people in my position and I could still get a job while my Spanish improves. I am not an IT specialist or anything like that. My background is mainly management (casinos and retail) and financial services (mortgage consultant)
My question is would it be possible to gain employment, or do I need to spend the next few years learning the language.
Any advice is appreciated.

Mark.

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Old 6th April 2010, 03:32 PM
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It would seem to me that having fluency in Spanish would be imperative in the quest for employment.
However, just last week, I had an experience that belies that point: After exiting the checkout at our local Soriana supermarket, I stopped by the newly opened Chinese fast food place. It was nearly noon and we thought that we would buy half a dozen spring rolls to take home. I asked for 'seiz rollos de primavera, por favor,' and got a blank stare. I tried again, then in I even tried in English. That didn't work either. Pointing and holding up six fingers failed to elicit any response. A closer look at the young lady revealed the fact that I would have had to use Mandarin Chinese to place my order. So, she did no business and we left, wondering if she was delivered to her 'job' straight from a shipping container in the port of Manzanillo. Such things do happen.
How would you communicate in Mexico, without Spanish? Even those professionals who have some ability in English, usually lack enough fluency to deal with fine details, innuendo and idiomatic speech. Even the employees at the US Consulate are Mexican and few are truly fluent in English; a sad state of affairs which causes errors and misunderstandings.

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Old 6th April 2010, 06:10 PM
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Teaching English but I've heard Aussies and Brits often don't qualify because of the accent

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Old 6th April 2010, 08:03 PM
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I would think that your best option is foreign companies where English accepted if not standard. If you have idea where you might like, you could research that area for companies that have location there. Foreign assignments for expats are very expensive for companies as up to 3 times their home country cost. Given that you want to move here, you could be considerably cheaper than person on temp assignment.

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Old 8th April 2010, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sparks View Post
Teaching English but I've heard Aussies and Brits often don't qualify because of the accent
I must disagree with that. I've been teaching in Mexico for 13 years and my experience is very different.
The schools and Universities open the door for Brits. they cant get enough of us.

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Old 8th April 2010, 04:00 PM
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The best answer to your question might be for you to survey your present location for foreigners working in their native language and not having reasonable command of English.
So, the best advice that I can give you is to sign up for an intensive Berlitz course and/or several hours each day with something like 'Rosetta Stone' and 'Destinos' on your computer. With your wife's help (she could refuse to speak English with you for a couple of months), you should do well.

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Old 14th April 2010, 11:02 AM
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I would look into contract work. I don't know anything about it myself, but I've known English people with no Spanish working in Mexico as consultants for Nokia... perhaps you could be a consultant of some kind?

Otherwise, teaching English is always an option, but badly paid.

I would really try and learn Spanish though. It's not too difficult. Probably you won't have enough fluency to work in it exclusively for a couple of years but it will help you in all areas of your life, and companies may be more willing to hire you (to work in English) if you seem relatively clued in to their language. At the end of the day though, it's your other skills that will get you jobs.

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Old 15th April 2010, 08:30 AM
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I'm in a similar position (ish). My fiancee and I are looking to move to Mexico in a couple of years. My Spanish is a long way from fluency, and even further from business level. However, I am working at it on a daily basis, so it's improving (albeit slowly).

However, I think there are opportunities for work in Mexico without fluent Spanish, however, these will be determined by your skills, whereabouts you are planning to live (bigger cities better), who you would like to work for (larger companies/MNCs better) and your level of conversational Spanish (a little goes a long way).

As mentioned above, I think your best bet is to target large MNCs, and work very hard on improving your Spanish at the moment. Also, see if your wife has any connections, which may help to open doors for you...

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Old 15th April 2010, 07:02 PM
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My American cousin is fluent and worked in an MNC.

However, he did know of a few friends who came down, didn't know much Spanish, but worked on a contract basis with MNCs in the technology area. The contracts were done with agencies, but his friends worked in the companies just like any other employee but were paid by the agencies. Contracts were generally renewed each year. That was about 5 years ago, but those jobs have as I understood it become tougher and tougher to get. As I also recall (because I knew some of these people), they were put into some basic Spanish classes by the companies solely because they would deal with people who may not have good English comprehension.

I may have mentioned it also before in previous posts, but these friends of his had some unique computer skills not generally available in Mexico, but it was cheaper for the MNC to bring these people in rather than contract out to a company to do it. The jobs paid under $100K USD, probably close to $50 to 60K a year, no benefits. The only reason they even bothered to come was because a family member (wife or other) had a job in Mexico (teaching, diplomatic duty, etc.) and they came along.

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