Many corps members teaching in the East Valley choose to live in Brownsville, the southernmost city in Texas. Brownsville sits on the U.S.-Mexico border, directly across the Rio Grande from its sister city, Matamoros, Tamaulipas, with which it shares two annual fiestas, Charro Days and the Sombrero Festival. Rich in history, Brownsville was the site of battles in three wars—the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War—and commemorative monuments can be found throughout the city. Brownsville's economy is growing, but it's still a very affordable place to live, and its proximity both to the schools in which many corps members will be teaching and the beaches of South Padre Island is a definite plus.
Newcomers to the Rio Grande Valley are usually surprised to discover how much their ideas of what this area would be like differ from reality. Even native Texans are thrown for a loop by how distinct the area is from other Texas regions. While it's difficult to explain all of the nuances of the Valley, most corps members agree that its pleasures lie in its mix of small town rural communities and rapidly growing international cities.
Rio Grande Valley corps members teach in Texas' three southernmost counties in the area's traditional and charter public schools. Because these counties cover about 4,200 square miles, corps members are often placed in groups in order to provide the greatest impact on school and student performance and to enable them to collaborate with and support each other.
The Rio Grande Valley is consistently ranked as one of the most economical places to live in the United States, and a teacher's salary certainly provides for a comfortable lifestyle here. Harlingen, where may of our corps members live, was recently named the least expensive city in the United States by the Council for Community and Economic Research. Corps members easily find ample affordable housing in several cities and towns in the East, West, and Mid Valley, including Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, Mission, Weslaco, and Rio Grande City.
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