Sometimes wrongly referred to as a suburb of Dallas, newly-arrived expats in Plano will quickly discover it is in fact a city in its own right in the vast Lone Star state of Texas. Plano is just a 20-30 minute drive from Dallas, and around an hour south from the Oklahoma border. It is known as "The Hot Air Balloon Capital of Texas” on account of its popular Plano Balloon Festival, which attracts more than 90,000 visitors each September. Expats living in Plano should spend some time getting to know their new setting, visiting the city’s Heritage Farmstead Museum and the Angelika Film Center to learn more about its recent history. Non-American expats may find Texan life a bit of an adjustment – it can get very, very hot, so invest in a good air conditioning unit, and befriend your aircon repairman. Many fellow expatriates have survived Texan summers in the past so get in touch via the InterNations forums and share your tips on how to cope in 100F temperatures.
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Before moving to Plano, forget everything you have ever been told about Texas. Texas covers an enormous area, the size of several European countries, and there is a huge variety of people, landscapes and localities across the state. It is legal to carry firearms in Texas, so don’t be alarmed at the sight of a holster or handgun. Due to the state’s proximity to the Mexican border, there are a large number of Hispanic expats living in Plano and Texas in general and Spanish is spoken widely. Having said this, you will be expected to speak English in Plano, particularly in schools and at the workplace, so if you are unsure about your language skills, brush up before you leave.
Plano is a very corporate city. It is home to dozens of national and multinational corporations, as well as some of the best schools in the state. It is a clean, well laid out city with all the amenities an expat could ask for, including spacious parks and good transport links. Due to the city’s popularity with big corporations, it is very business-friendly with a huge city-owned conference center and a number of good hotels. Plano residents are used to welcoming expats from all over the world, so you should have no problem fitting in. However, it is important that expatriates hoping to start working in Plano make sure to keep their visa and work permit details up to date. Speak to other expats through the InterNations forums for advice on visa issues and working life in Texas.