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Guadalajara is not Tijuana

April 07, 2009
by CEA MOJO
Violence in Mexico has been driving lots of headlines recently, which brings up the essential question: "Is it safe to study abroad in Guadalajara?" The short answer is "Absolutely." For perspective, it might help to start by considering that Guadalajara is farther from Tijuana (on the U.S. border) than Tijuana is from the U.S.-Canadian border. (It's true - check it out on your atlas!) The news-making violence has been largely confined to border towns, and those areas have never been a part of CEA's programs or excursions. Since the great majority of CEA students who study abroad in Guadalajara fly there (which is strongly recommended), getting to Guadalajara to start a study abroad program isn't a safety concern either. Equally important is Guadalajara itself. It's a friendly, international community with lots of expats, including two huge nearby English-speaking enclaves. In CEA's time, there's never been any violence, direct or indirect, that's affected our students. Some of the staff members say they feel safer there than just about any city in the world. And finally, CEA does its best to prepare students in Guadalajara, just as it does everywhere. Right off the bat, the onsite orientation advises students on steps to take to protect their personal safety and security in a foreign city. Directors have an open-door policy and can be contacted 24/7 by students and parents, and it's super easy to get a CEA cellphone. Even if students want to head out and explore the countryside around Guadalajara, the onsite staff is there to assist in the nitty-gritty like travel and accommodations. Bottom line, Guadalajara is definitely a safe destination for study abroad. The watchword, as always in cities in any country, comes down to common sense: Exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
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