• Colombia
    • Medellin
Subject Areas
Anthropology Architecture Arts Conflict Studies Engineering Geography Global Studies Hispanic Studies Landscape Architecture Latin American Studies Peace Studies Social Sciences +2

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Bachelors Masters


Starting Price
Price Details
The two-week course is arranged as a package that includes the academic course, group accommodation in a comfortable hotel close to the university campus, an airport pickup on arrival in Medellin, a busy calendar of social and cultural activities during evenings and weekends, and 24 hour support from Red Tree Study's coordinators who stay in the same hotel.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Classes SIM cards Some Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance
Jul 18, 2019
Sep 17, 2019
3 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

This intensive two-week summer course explores the city of Medellin and the way that it has transformed in recent years. Taught by the prestigious Architecture School (accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects – RIBA) at Pontificia Universidad Bolivariana (UPB), the course provides students with a unique and interactive chance to learn about Medellin.
Students will witness city’s evolution first-hand, visiting prominent cultural, governmental and educational organizations and infrastructure projects in Colombia, and joining lectures on campus at UPB. These tours will highlight some of the city’s ‘social urbanism’ projects and include tours of the metro-cable system, the Museum of Memory, the Botanic Gardens, and the Secretary of Education, among others. They will also meet community leaders.
Taught in English, the course is open to undergraduate or masters students studying Architecture, Design, Urban and Environmental Planning, Geography or related social sciences.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • A unique chance to explore the urban landscape of Colombia
  • Interactive sessions with local residents and community leaders
  • Practical site visits and excursions to learn about Medellin's transformation
  • Social and cultural activities during evenings and weekends to learn more about Colombia and its culture
  • Friendly and supportive staff with excellent local knowledge, to make sure that you get the most out of your time in Medellin

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Program Reviews

4.83 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 5 rating 83.33%
  • 4 rating 16.67%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.5
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.85
  • Housing 4.85
  • Safety 4.5
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Inspiring Course in a must-visit City

I have been to many places in the world but I’ve never felt such a deep understanding and connection with a city as I have in Medellin. Every person you meet has been affected by the city’s extraordinary history and has a fascinating story to tell. Through the Red Tree Study programme, we were able to work and engage with local people to learn first-hand how the area has been transformed. It was amazing to watch as the residents could physically draw out on the map every invisible boundary which was once part of a violent territorial war. They would point to the places which were safe and the places they would never pass through for fear of being shot. They told us that every police officer had a price of a million pesos on his head and that the city lived in fear because of Pablo Escobar and the gangs. Medellin today is a very different place and I felt incredibly safe and welcomed both by the co-ordinators and the local people.

I highly recommend the course to design students; the experience of studying abroad for me has been incredibly valuable because it is simply so different to working on studio projects in the UK. Firstly, it is a collaborative effort between students at different stages of their education, from different backgrounds and fields of study and so by studying the issues of Medellin holistically, we were able to have a much more productive conversation about the urban transformation. It also provides a real challenging perspective on what is actually achievable in urban design on the ground when you have to navigate social-political jigsaws. The city and course have reinvigorated me as a designer and inspired me to provoke more positive change.

What would you improve about this program?
The academic content of the course was diverse and largely engaging, but ultimately it was the interaction with the city itself and the meticulous social calendar which made the two weeks so enriching. There is still some tweaking to be done to the schedule but as a pilot year for the programme, it was greatly successful.
66 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Experience in Medellín!

The Urban Transformation course in Medellín was an unforgettable experience that was not only very influential in my studies but was also an amazing life experience. I will never forget the excursions throughout the city, the positive energy, the tropical climate, the delicious food, and all the amazing people I met along the way.

The weekday mornings consisted of lectures on the university campus, but these were not your normal, boring lectures. Rather, imagine yourself feeling the breeze from outside, gazing out the window view of the city and surrounding mountains, learning from very passionate and engaged local professors, and having an occasional dance party to Colombian music! The weekday afternoons consist of site visits and excursions throughout the city. These included walks through many neighborhoods, discussions with community leaders, visits to various library parks and UVAs, and several trips on the integrated public transportation system. Red Tree Study organized may social activities throughout our stay, which were great ways to experience more of the Medellin culture. These included salsa dancing, playing tejo, fútbol games, walking the city streets, and a fun weekend excursion. There is no shortage of things to do and see in Medellín.

Our two coordinators were with us at all times and were there for us if we ever needed anything at anytime. The Red Tree Study staff and the UPB professors really made us feel welcome and at home. It was also great to be with like-minded students from all over the world who brought worldly perspectives from similar but different backgrounds and studies. We still keep in touch and I feel like some lifelong friendships and connections were made. Our hotel accommodation was very nice and conveniently located in a cool area of the city. I felt completely safe and secure the entire time in Colombia.

I really have nothing negative to say about this course, but one recommendation would be to lengthen the course to 3 weeks rather than such an intensive 2 weeks. I would 100% recommend this program to anyone who is looking for an experience abroad that incorporates innovative projects, urban planning, design, and transportation advancements in the transformation of a city. Medellín, Colombia is a prime example of that!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
One of the most interesting and unique things I saw and learned about in Medellin was the project of UVAs throughout the city. UVAs, or Unidades de Vida Articulada, are water tank sites that were formerly private lots and closed off to the community but have since been opened and converted into public parks and community centers. We visited a few UVAs, and it was amazing to see them now used as community spaces for recreation, education, and pleasure.
80 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Three weeks in Medellín

Studying Urban Transformation in Colombia was a highly valuable experience, both from an academic and personal perspective. The course provided opportunities to explore many avenues of urbanism including housing, transport and community planning through highly granular methods. The course primarily used site visits to explain and engage first-hand with current social, cultural and political events which have occurred as a result of new, careful urban planning. I believe one of the most rewarding projects we were able to engage with was the analysis of the UVA's project. Seeing children and families integrate in such a positive way in areas which have such a recent past of conflict highlighted the undeniable importance of careful urbanism.

I loved the country, the city and the people. A fantastic three weeks which shall not be forgotten. Con gusto Medellín, siempre a la orden!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have loved the opportunity to have seen more of Colombia. Three weeks was not enough time! If I could do it again, I would organise a longer trip.
77 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Urban (and my) Transformation in Medellín

The Urban Transformation course was such a wonderful experience - I went there not knowing what to expect, and after two weeks didn't want to leave Colombia! Red Tree Study definitely fit a huge amount of academic material into two weeks, including internal and external lectures, site visits, as well as social activities basically every night. I really enjoyed how the classes were structured, linking topics in lectures in the morning to afternoon site visits, and also incorporating culture of the city throughout such as trying fruit at the traditional market and meeting a graffiti artist to hear about how he has helped transform his Barrio through art. The co-ordinators especially made us feel welcome, safe and part of a community - I felt that the group became really close, and evidence of that is in how we are all still meeting up around the world and planning future reunions! This course showed me that Medellín is a beautiful city, and the friendliness of the residents from the locals, to comuna leaders, to the lecturers, to the Red Tree Study staff, was what made it particularly special for me. I'd say that the course is great value for money, I would recommend it especially to architecture students but also those looking to learn about how social change is possible at all scales, and those with an interest in understanding positive rapid urban change achieved through a series of micro, meso and macro level interventions on a city-wide scale.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Medellín's answer to the UK cheesy chip and kebab - 'Salchipapas', a combination of chips and sliced fried hotdog, with lots of sauce. Kind of miss it!
80 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable experience in Medellin, Colombia

The course in Medellin was incredible. We were there for only 2 weeks but it felt like months because of all the activities Red Tree Study had organized for us. The academic content and exercises were very interesting and challenging, making us think outside the box and approach our tasks differently. Lectures took place in the beautiful and green eco-friendly campus of UPB and were followed by field trips to various projects around the city every day. The professors gave us a perspective of the city from all sides - social, environmental and political while the community leaders helped us in understanding how the city has improved and how the communities themselves have been the driving force in most cases due to their changed mentality.
The social activities were so much fun and helped us to immerse ourselves in Colombia’s culture - we learned how to dance salsa, we played a fun traditional Colombian game called tejo, we went on a chiva (party) bus and many more.
The hotel we stayed at was nice and conveniently located close to the university, to many shops and places to eat. The Red Tree Study team also lived with us and was always there when we needed support.
On this program I met some amazing people from all over the world as well as some lovely locals who I can’t wait to meet again! I would definitely recommend the program to students wishing to learn about Urban Transformation in Colombia but also to anyone looking for an adventure in a new country.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
One of the most interesting and surprising projects that we saw was a former landfill transformed into a park for and by the community. On our visit we met local people walking around for recreation, children flying kites and young girls maintaining the plants inside a greenhouse, built on the top of the old mountain of trash.
71 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Medellin transformations summer school

I thoroughly enjoyed this program, particularly the various visits to sites and social urbanism projects in the city of Medellin like the memory museum, the social housing sites, the various parks. The academic content was very rich and I liked the use of different methodologies to deliver it. The staff on the program were very friendly and helpful and very happy to share their knowledge and expertise. Additionally there were many social activities to make the most the time outside study and allowed participants to bond. I also made many lifelong friends in the process. I only thought at times the schedule was too congested. Perhaps in the future it could be spread to 3 instead of two weeks. Nonetheless I would recommend this program to future students.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Perhaps the first metro cable ride. It had been a while since I got onto one of those.
75 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers