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Old 02-01-2011, 04:24 AM
 
Location: european union
49 posts, read 125,449 times
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Hey..I am a college graduate from Europe and I would like to come to USA to take an english language course mayby for a half year or mayby to stay for a longer period.
I am trying to choose a good place for me. I am thinking about texas - Canyon tx, El Paso, Arlington or Denton, but also about New Mexico.

I have been to texas a few years ago, but I have never been to NM.

How is Albuquerque? Is there a good nightlife, transportation (probably i will have no car to get around at the begining) Is albuquerque pretty? I know, that americas history is much "younger" that Europe, but are there any historical buildings in downtown, is downtown revitalized? When I have been to USA, the downtowns in some cities looked like a ghost towns, totally empty to compare to European downtons. So is albuquerque downtown livable with some nightlife and fun possibilities?
Are people nice and friendly there? (texans were the friendliest people I have ever met.)
Are there any nightlife possibilities close to university campus? Is route 66 preserved in ABQ?

I love USA, especially south and southwest, but I don´t know what to expect from New mexico and Albuquerque. Give me some advices, which place to choose to enjoy my stay in USA

thank yall so much
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:09 AM
Status: "It's okay to be white." (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
3,000 posts, read 3,663,379 times
Reputation: 2370
Many of these questions have been discussed at length in earlier threads. You might want to do a search of the Albuquerque forum.

I'm afraid my answers are going to have to be discouraging. The question in your thread title is somewhat difficult to answer though. I would probably have to say, no, it is not pretty, but that feels like a very inadequate answer. The natural setting is beautiful. I am always stopping to look at the Sandia mountains, and I enjoy some of the views of the west mesa's (inactive!) volcanoes. The quality of the light here, as elsewhere in New Mexico, is sometimes special in its own right. I also enjoy the wide, open sky here, especially coming from a large city. However, the man-made environment here leaves a lot to be desired. It's not all bad, by any means, but much of it is ugly. I think this is one area in which the relative poverty of the state in general has an effect. When there's a lot of money around, often some of it gets channeled into projects to make an area look better. I'll take sort of a stupid example. I went to a dentist here for the first time recently. I found the offices somewhat depressing. Everything just looked old and ill-kept, not really dirty and awful, but still, somewhat grim. That's true of the doctor's offices I've been in as well. They just don't look like what I am used to.

I'm going to have to stop there for now and continue this later, as it's taking longer than I expected.
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:48 AM
 
1,938 posts, read 3,883,857 times
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Well, MY dentist's office is hardly grim and depressing... you should start looking around..

I've got to agree with much of what Nomad said. Albuquerque's central areas do not form
what you would normally consider a "destination city" like Prague or London. I do think a
significant effort has been made to interject art into many areas with sometimes quite innovative
sculpture as well as night time lighting and preservation of some of the bizarre and zany
Route 66 structures.

Rather than think of Albuquerque as a destination, think of it as an outpost, a pretty nicely
civilized portal into the American Southwest. In my opinion, that is a more accurate portrait
of the city and it's main attraction; the deserts and mountains surrounding it.

FWIW, most of Route 66 is long gone EVERYWHERE; the photo books and websites condense
a very few remaining structures into an image of preservation that unfortunately, just
does not exist. I traced most of the remaining Route 66 segments last Spring on a motorcycle
and while it was a great trip, Old 66 and it's historic structures only exist in a few spots here
and there and some, like the Twin Arrows Trading Post west of Winslow, are now abandoned.

Still, there is a lot to see and enjoy only a couple hours from Albuquerque..

The Wig Wam Motel







The Painted Desert



The Petrified Forest


The Salinas Pueblo Ruins..


Lybrook Badlands



Kit Carson's Home in Taos







You get the idea....
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:09 AM
Status: "It's okay to be white." (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
3,000 posts, read 3,663,379 times
Reputation: 2370
Well, due to snow (yes, snow), time just became less of an issue for me.

I'm still struggling to make a certain point here, though it's a simple one and maybe I am trying too hard. When the built environment is driven by commerce, it tends to get ugly, in my opinion. However, when the businesses involved are quite large and have lots of resources, often they pour some of that money into making things look nice (their own property, if nothing else). There are obviously exceptions to everything I'm saying here: someone could have a small roasted pinon stand that was more beautiful than the expensive public art outside a bank's offices, etc.

Nightlife is somewhat limited here, but to me it seems okay. However, I'm a lot older than you, and when I would be going to clubs, it would almost always be for salsa dancing. As long as that is available, I tend to be satisfied. There's definitely not going to be the same variety of nightlife you would find in a large city.

I only just recently bought a car. It's possible to live here without one, but it is limiting. It will be particularly limiting for you with regard to nightlife. Public transportation does not run late, and riding the buses tends to become a more unpleasant experience after dark, even early in the evening. Taxi rides tend to be expensive, I guess because of how spread out everything is here. Since your entertainment options here are limited (but not awful, by any means), it really helps to have access to all of them, no matter how far away they are within the city.

Albuquerque's downtown is not a ghost town, but it's pretty limited. (There's that word again.) I live downtown, for now, but it's not particularly convenient. There is no grocery store, really, unless you count one which is practically in Old Town, and anyway not along the main Central Avenue area. There is no drug store. Even the selection of restaurants is surprisingly mediocre. The night time attractions tend to be a little seedy, in my opinion. But it's still possible to go out and have fun if you find something that interests you. Nob Hill and the "student ghetto" area around UNM both have a downtown sort of feel to them as well, and all three areas exist along the Central Avenue corridor, easily accessible by public transportation (except later at night). For my purposes, the student ghetto and Nob Hill have more appealing offerings than the actual downtown. Architecturally, there aren't that many interesting buildings downtown. Many of the more architecturally significant buildings were lost during past "urban renewal" campaigns. Nevertheless, there are a few buildings worth checking out, like the recently renovated one that is now the home of the Hotel Andaluz, the Kimo theater, that fancy white building around 3rd or 4th street, the name of which escapes me. . .

Overall, I'd say people are very friendly here. I can't compare it to Texas since I've never even been there. Some of the less friendly people are probably just east coast transplants like me.

Some areas of Route 66 are preserved, sort of, but it's not consistent. Many of the roadside attractions are in disrepair.

It may sound as though I am very unhappy here, but actually I like it overall and there's a good chance I will spend the rest of my life here. I have just tried to answer your specific questions honestly.

In a way I think Albuquerque makes up in uniqueness for what it might like in variety. Maybe we don't get certain big name popular acts here, but we do have an international flamenco festival, one of a kind in the U.S., to the best of my knowledge. We may not have as many museum options but we have the largest concave fresco in North America, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. I could definitely ask for more variety in the restaurants here, and wish the local cuisine would fit green leafy vegetables into the menu somehow; nevertheless, what the regional cuisine does, it does quite well. Maybe I'm easily pleased, but I've enjoyed trying all these things I had never eaten before visiting Albuquerque (or, in some cases, before moving here): red and green chile, carne adovada, sopapillas, chicharron, biscochitos, posole (well I'd had it before, but not as good as it is here), Navajo tacos, and also machaca and carnitas and chimichangas (since I'd never eaten much Mexican food). And it deserves more credit for variety than it sometimes gets. Indian classical music, an Iraqi oud virtuoso, European chamber music, a gamelan ensemble, avant-garde jazz--can you tell music is a priority for me?, Italian and gay and lesbian film festivals, anti-gravity yoga classes (and like a zillion other yoga schools just along Central), Ayurvedic vegetarian food, the Mind Research Network, etc., etc.

Last edited by ApartmentNomad; 02-01-2011 at 11:34 AM..
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
5,549 posts, read 13,213,175 times
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Can you study English anywhere?
Can you study in Santa Fe?
How about Flagstaff?

How flexible are you with time, money?

Note that many Europeans really really like places that
you can find in Utah since there is nothing like it in Europe.

Going without a car will be easier in a smaller place.

A great way to get practice with English conversationally
would be to take a summer job at a national park. I've met
many people from many countries who do that sort of thing.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:31 PM
 
Location: european union
49 posts, read 125,449 times
Reputation: 35
Quote:
Can you study English anywhere?
Can you study in Santa Fe?
How about Flagstaff?

How flexible are you with time, money?

Note that many Europeans really really like places that
you can find in Utah since there is nothing like it in Europe.

Going without a car will be easier in a smaller place.

A great way to get practice with English conversationally
would be to take a summer job at a national park. I've met
many people from many countries who do that sort of thing
Yeah I can study anywhere...I was thinking only about Texas and New Mexico for now, because I have checked the schools there, that they offer intensive english courses for internationals.

Thank you for the advices...I have spend a summer 2009, it was such a college students exchange program - work and travel. I was in Waxahachie tx and I worked in the hotel. The city was small and boring, but it was pretty close to DFW and I have met the friendliest people there..great friends. Thats why I am so interested in Texas...and also in New Mexico.
I have been to New Orleans...great place, I love it, but the Loyola University there is pretty expensive.

umm I think that I am flexible with the money...I can spent mayby about 20 000 USD...
Santa Fe sounds better to me than Flagstaff...there must be definitely lot of history. I just need the check, if there is any school for me.

YOu re right, I am looking for something, what we don´t have here in Europe...different weather and countryside...thats why I am interested in US south , southwest. In our country are really big mountains...something like in Montana, and thats why I am also interested in Texas Panhandle and Amarillo nothing can be so flat like the Panhandle...
New Mexico and Texas western heritage is realy interesting for me...and also southern louisiana/cajun heritage...
I also think that people down in the south are much nicer, then people anywhere else in the USA. I had a great experiences in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and a really bad experence in Detroit and New York


anyways, thank you guys for everything...this is very helpful
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:42 PM
 
Location: european union
49 posts, read 125,449 times
Reputation: 35
Hey Mike Horrell. Thank you for the beautiful pictures...if you have something from the albuquerque downtown, you can attach it too. I would be very happy.
Btw. have you ever been to Prague? It is a great city in Czech republic, my stepdad works there, so I spent a lot of time there...its like my second home I am glad that you named Prague as a destination city together with London

Ok...so back to New Mexico. I hope, that I would enjoy ABQ. Is it prettier than Amarillo..or than El Paso? I have seen that you have a specific architecture there in New Mexico...such a pueblo style. It looks pretty.
Btw. How is the living in New Mexico? Are there not too many poor people? Some texans from DFW said, that New Mexico and El Paso are poor and rough places in the USA. I dunno what to think about it.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
2,719 posts, read 4,006,822 times
Reputation: 3574
European27, welcome to the forum!

UNM has lots of international students. It's not unusual to hear French, German, Swedish, and Italian spoken on campus. The English as a foreign language program there is very old and has an excellent reputation.

Albuquerque is not in any way like a European city. But we do have history in the surrounding areas, especially when you consider Native American cultures, some of which live in communities they have inhabited for a thousand years. Albuquerque's Old Town (not far from the modern downtown) preserves a flavor of the original settlement from the early 1700's. I think the proximity to ancient cultures, our dry climate, and the variety of recreational opportunities are some things that have attracted Europeans to New Mexico for study. That is something very different from what Texas would offer.

I think if you come for six months to a year you will find a good mixture of urban and outdoor activities to keep you entertained in Albuquerque. There is much to explore here!
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:09 PM
 
1,938 posts, read 3,883,857 times
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Yes, we've been to Prague and loved it. My wife spent several months there in 1999 and 2000
on business and I was there with her for a month on vacation. We're returning later this year.





Albuquerque's "downtown" is NOT where the life of the city is. One day it may become so,
but that won't be any time soon. Like many US cities, activities are spread out over a
large geographical area with clusters of activities, restaurants, theaters, etc. occurring in
various places.

As others have said in many other threads, Nob Hill and the University area have the greatest
concentration of arts, restaurants, clubs, trendy shops, etc., but as Apartment Nomad said
just above, these are limited compared to large, established university cities.

Frankly, I think anyone living here without some form of transport; car, scooter or motorcycle,
is not going to be able to take advantage of 90% of what is worthwhile here. To me, Albuquerque's
greatest strengths are its immediate access to fabulous areas of the Southwest, a generally less
hectic lifestyle as well as a generally nice climate.

Not being a young student (I'm 60+), I really don't have a good feel for how that scene is here.
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:36 PM
 
Location: european union
49 posts, read 125,449 times
Reputation: 35
Mike, thats great, that you re comming back to Prague. If you need some travelers tips, just let me know. There are many great places to visit, close to Prague. I would recommend you Vienna, Olomouc or maby the best choice is Budapest. I will tell you more, if you want

Umm where is Nob Hill in ABQ? Is it an older part of the city? How far from University or from Downtown? HOw about the public transportation in Abq? In Prague it was great, that they have a public transportation almost nonstop...buses, night buses, metro, streetcars. You can get also to the bars, without worries to drive a car and to get busted.
But anyways, I still love USA, I feel so free there...mayby I am a bit bored from Europe...I would like to try something new...new place and stuff
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