Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico after the country's capital, Mexico City. In addition to having the second largest population, it is arguably the second most important city economically and politically as well. Located only a short distance northwest of Mexico City, Guadalajara is well positioned for students interested in exploring Mexico's capital as well as Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Leon, and many other exciting destinations throughout Mexico.
Historically, Guadalajara was chartered in the 16th century by Emperor Charles V. The Holy Roman Emperor designated Guadalajara 'a most loyal and noble city.' Over 460 years later, the city still contains many historical, colonial buildings that lend it the beauty and grace of a bygone era. The historic center of the city is perhaps the best example with the Cathedral, the Dellgado Theater, the Plaza de Armas, and many more historic places and monuments.
Guadalajara is known as the birthplace of Mariachi music and charreadas. A Mariachi is a musical group composed of at least 2 violins, 2 trumpets, 1 Spanish guitar, 1 viheula (a high-pitched, 5-string guitar), and 1 guitarron (a small-scaled acoustic bass). However, Mariachi groups can sometimes encompass more than 20 musicians. Each year Guadalajara hosts the biggest Mariachi festival in the world.
Charreadas are rodeos, the home of Charros or cowboys. Traditional Mexican cowboys are known for their colorful clothing. Today rodeos are still popular entertainment in Guadalajara.
Guadalajara is a center for culture and folklore of many types as can be seen at the Cabanas Cultural Institute. The Dellgado Theater is a good place to experience some of that cultural richness and the city boasts a famous mural by Jose Clemente Orozco. The city is also home to the Universidad de Guadalajara the 2nd university in Mexico and the 4th university in all of North America. This prestigious school was founded in the 18th century and today continues to be a driving force in the Mexican higher education system.
In addition to being a cultural repository, Guadalajara is also a modern business center. Local inhabitants refer to their city as the 'Silicon Valley of Mexico' as a number of big companies have facilities there, including General Electric, IBM, Hitachi, and Hewlett Packard.
Another great benefit to studying in Guadalajara is the atmosphere. Despite being a large, modern city, the people are extremely friendly and welcoming to international students. You will find a warm culture in which to learn Spanish or simply meet new people and experience a new way of life.
Whether you are looking for a business internship, a cultural treasure-trove, a friendly atmosphere in which to learn Spanish, or an excellent, historic university - Guadalajara has it all and more. Investigate this graceful yet advanced metropolis to see what you can learn.