The course was so engaging and fascinating - There were lectures covering so many different angles of the conflict and peace-building such as its impact on children, the role of women in the armed conflict and transitional justice, the FARC reincorporation process, drug policy throughout the conflict and historic memory building. It was incredibly enriching to be taught by experts in their field. We spoke to Presidential candidates, ex-guerrilla members and social and human rights leaders who were at the forefront of Peace building efforts. It was intense and at times very moving but I've never learnt so much nor changed the way I think in such a short space of time.
The field visits reinforced what we had learnt in class and allowed us to see and learn about the conflict in a different way for example visits to the Centre for Memory Peace and Reconciliation as well as photo exhibitions brought the conflict down to a human level as I considered the millions of different experiences people had and the scale of the suffering that has happened and is still happening.
The Red Tree study team living with us were supportive made us feel very welcome the moment we arrived and the social activities were so fun! There were cycling tours and salsa lessons, nights out and hikes as well as hot chocolate and cheese movie nights. I have made so many friends and happy memories.
I'm so grateful for everything I have learnt as it has reinforced my decision to study Politics and motivated me to further study Peace-building and live in Colombia for my year abroad. I understand how Peace and forgiveness is an individual as well as collective process and how powerful it can be to work from the bottom upwards.