My trip to Bogota was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Firstly, the quality of the academic content of this course was simply second to none. It covered such a wide range of topics such as the history of the conflict in Colombia, narco-trafficking, politics and progressive ways of addressing the victims of conflict. We received lectures from world class academics from the Universidad de los Andes, many of whom played important roles in the peace process and subsequent transitional justice mechanisms. We also engaged in discussions and conversations with ex-combatants who had reintegrated back into society, and heard about their experiences from within the conflict. This meant that we were exposed to a range of perspectives on the conflict which really gave an in-depth, personal learning experience that is usually difficult to achieve in an academic program.
The Red Tree Study team did a phenomenal job of organising social activities during the evenings and weekends, such as a bike and food tour, graffiti tour, a waterfall hike and nights out. The coordinators were in no way overbearing and they also encouraged us to explore independently. The fact that many coordinators were from Bogota or elsewhere in Colombia meant that they could advise us on places to go or eat or even help us plan trips away at the weekend, which was so helpful. Even before I flew to Bogota the Red Tree Study Team, particularly Alex, were so organised and helpful with everything from booking flights, to obtaining additional funding from my university and other sources.
I honestly cannot recommend this program enough!