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What is Edinburg, Texas like?

Edinburg is one of the fastest growing smaller cities in the United States. It has a population of over 52,000. It is Hidalgo county's administrative seat. During its early years, Edinburg quickly became a center for buying and processing cotton, grain, and citrus produce. Other economic developments include vegetable, corn, sugarcane, poultry, peach and melon production, food-processing plants, oilfield equipment, concrete products, and agricultural chemicals. In the 1970s tourism began to steadily increase. In terms of fun, Edinburg and McAllen have a variety of restaurants featuring food from around the world, hiking and biking trails, lakes, vibrant music, and a 40-acre wetland oasis at the World Birding Center of Edinburg. Major public sector employers include county government and the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA). Currently UTPA employs over 2100 faculty and staff with one of the highest student/faculty ration among state universities. UTPA also offers 56 undergraduate degree programs and 46 Master's degrees ranging from Arts and Humanities to Business and Engineering. It is the 10th largest public university in the state, with about 16,000 students.

To find out more about UTPA, please visit:

To learn more about Edinburg, Texas, visit: The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce: , or the McAllen Chamber of Commerce: , The World Birding Center of Edinburg: , or The Handbook of Texas Online:

What's the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas like?

Our Region: The University of Texas-Pan American and the Language Institute are a general academic component of The University of Texas System, serving the South Texas region referred to as the Rio Grande Valley. Located on the United States-Mexico international border, the Valley offers a growing economy, successful businesses, and travel opportunities. The Valley's unique geographical location is also ideal for the over 400 bird species hosted by this area. We are home to the Whitewings and Roadrunners pro baseball teams, Mexico shopping and dining areas are less than an hour away, South Padre Island is one of our premier resorts on the Gulf, Valley Race Park provides betting entertainment on tracks around the country, Valley downtowns and several Malls are excellent for shopping.

Weather and Transportation: The average Valley temperature is a pleasant 78 degrees. Days are sunny and outdoor activities are plentiful. Temperatures during the summer months are in the 90's, and winters typically go by without any temperature below 32 degrees. The average temperature for the coldest month of the year, usually, January, is a chilly 62 degrees. Valley highways are safe, scenic, plentiful and convenient. U.S Highway 83, connecting the Valley to West Texas, is an obvious choice for those who wish to see a large chunk of the Texas border. One of the interesting features of Expressway 83 is that during your trek through the Valley on this well marked, four-lane highway, you are never much more than 10 miles from the Mexican border.

Valley Business: The Rio Grande Valley is the ideal location from which to conduct international business. With low utility costs and no state income tax, companies can set up shop in any part of the Valley with confidence that they will have access to one of the largest and youngest workforces in the world. Customs brokers, construction companies, legal and accounting services, government agencies, realtors and other support companies well-versed in international business are available to help companies set up and begin production without delay. For more information about the region, please visit the RGV Chamber of Commerce website at:

What about housing?

You may want to consider making arrangements to stay at a local hotel or motel for the first few days to rest and begin your search for permanent housing. Some hotels can offer inexpensive lodging or discounts to International Students. A variety of housing options are available in Edinburg and are a convenient distance to the university. If you would like to find out more about our housing options on campus, please visit the UTPA Residence Life home page at: Each of these options has varying space and costs. The LI staff will be able to answer your questions regarding UTPA housing, but you will ultimately have to make your own arrangements. If you decide to live in an apartment, the list below may be helpful in your search.

Website to find local apartments:
Local Hotels:

How do I get to UTPA? and How do I get around Edinburg?

If you will be arriving at McAllen International Airport, taxi services are available to take you to your first destination, whether it be to the university or a local hotel.

Taxi services:

Yellow Cab Co. (McAllen, TX) --- (956)631-3235

Checker Cab (McAllen, TX) ------ (956)686-9393

City Cab (Edinburg, TX) ---------- (956)383-1111

AAA Taxi (Edinburg, TX) -------- (956)383-6666

Check for further information on the airport's website, at

For more information about the layout of UTPA please see our LI Campus MAP. (The Language Institute is in the CESS building.)

The university's physical location is at:

1201 W. University Dr.

Edinburg, Texas 78541

How much money will I need to pay for my tuition and living expenses?

It depends on the length of time in the program. Plan for not only living expenses and tuition cost, but also books and school supplies and an extra allowance for recreation or entertainment.

How much money should I bring?

It is wise to bring the amount of your tuition plus about $1,000 to $2,000 in traveler's checks, a money order, or cashier's check for settling in expenses. Clearing foreign checks through U.S. banks can take up to 21 days. Bringing some U.S. currency is also a good idea.

What about health insurance?

Students enrolled in the Intensive program must provide proof of medical insurance or purchase university medical insurance.

Where can I send mail and packages before I arrive in Edinburg?

Please wait until after you arrive to get packages sent from your home country. There is no space available to hold items for students. If you have a contact in Edinburg or the surrounding area, you may consider asking about sending items to them before you arrive.

What services are available to UTPA students?

You may find information about the different events that are taking place around campus or in our community that may help you adjust to your new life in the Edinburg throughout the UTPA website. Contact the organization's representatives by phone or email, or view their website.

The International Students Office (ISO) is designed to serve the international and American students for the purpose of cultural exchange, comply with the current immigration regulations and outreach to the local community through international programs. Periodic activities are organized to provide opportunities for international students to meet other people in the program and to enjoy a social setting. For further information, visit the ISO website or send an email to