Peacebuilding in Colombia Academic Summer Program

Video and Photos

Monserrate
Monserrate
Monserrate
Monserrate
Playing the best and craziest sport ever called Tejo. You throw dynamite and I still don't know the rules.
Night out in Bogotá

About

Apply now to take part in this prestigious program and explore the contemporary history of this fascinating country. 'Armed Conflict, Peace Processes and the challenges of Peacebuilding in Colombia' will be delivered by the Political Science department at Colombia's top university, Universidad de los Andes, in Bogota.

The course is open to undergraduate students from a range of arts and humanities subjects, and has three modules:

1. History of the Colombian Armed Conflict: from the 1960s to today
2. Peace negotiations in Colombia
3. Building a lasting Peace

The program also includes practical and sociocultural activities, such as site visits to cultural, governmental and educational organizations in Colombia, and additional social activities.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 36 reviews
  • Academics 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 16 - 30 of 36
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Maria Camila
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Peacebuilding in Colombia

This program combines unique lectures by world-renowned professors and field excursions with special cultural and social activities. The academics allow you to learn about the history of the conflict in Colombia and the process of obtaining peace in the country. The program is extremely interdisciplinary, allowing you to learn about economics, education, women's studies, all in relation to the Colombian armed conflict. This program has undoubtedly reassured my passion for Foreign Policy and Security and Latin American studies. I recommend this program to anyone who is interested in pursuing Conflict Studies, International Relations, or Political Science.

What would you improve about this program?
Longer program
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saima
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Memorable

The three week armed conflict, peace process and challenges to peacebuilding in Colombia program was intense yet gratifying. The course was split over the three weeks, based on 3 themes; the origins and transformation of the Colombian armed conflict, peace negotiation in Colombia (grasping Colombian history in the making) and challenges for peacebuilding in Colombia. The academic excursions and course content complimented each other well and provided extra support in understanding and contextualising the content in a practical environment. The program itself was taught well and advanced our theoretical, practical and social knowledge on the armed conflict as well as give us the chance to develop ourselves on a personal level, by way of introducing us to different perspectives and allowing us to converse and discuss topics with people from various different backgrounds. Moreover, studying abroad can advance our ability to diverse scenarios whilst being able to problem solve. Most importantly being able to study abroad broadens future career in addition to life opportunities.

What would you improve about this program?
n/a
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Prisilla
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Many Faces of Colombia

The Peace building program in Colombia has proved to be a dynamic course. WE were able to learn about the history of Colombia and how events in the past, still exist today such as the peace process and guerrilla groups. The Red Tree study were also able to adapt our timetable to watch Colombia's live and watch the varying affects it would have on the nation.
Learning about the history of Colombia through academic experts, ex-combatants, the British ambassador and victims of the conflict has been a humbling, yet enlightening experience as all these individuals have had a close link in shaping the peace agreement.
The course it self despite being academically challenging, provided students with effective resources to stay up-to-date with the program in addition to the academics being avail if questioned needed to be asked. The most effective part of the course was being able to talking to speak to both the innocent and guilty of the conflict and get an in-depth understanding how they came to fall into the categories of demobilised or ex-combatants. For example, we spoke with two MA students who were previously members of two opposing armed groups that now study together and both explained how they did not have a choice but to join guerrilla groups as it was the only option for them, when growing up. It was extraordinary to understand where they started and see where they are now.

this first hand and interactive method to learning is a once in a life time opportunity. The program was not just focused of theory and statistics, students were able to visit multiple organisations and individuals who played a direct role in either helping ex-combatants reintegrate or re-cooperate into society or were dedicated to implementing certain aspects of the peace accord.

What would you improve about this program?
Informing Students of Weather Conditions
Letting Students know that Bogota doesn't have heaters/heating in general
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Mariana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What A Wonderful Life Experience!

This program is outstanding! It's jam-packed with academics while also allowing time to immerse oneself in the beautiful country that is Colombia. My one and only complaint is that it wasn't long enough and thus it would have been awesome to get to know the country better! This program allows you to learn soooo much academically while also giving you the opportunity to have amazing social interactions and experiences--it was a great balance and you definitely get your money's worth even if just from the amount of information you are taught. Plus, Red Tree Study (shoutout to Alex Jones!) is super accommodation and responsive which makes you feel very comfortable and safe. I highly recommend this program--it's a great life experience that you get to enjoy with some of the coolest people.

What would you improve about this program?
Longer! Haha but other than that, it's great as is!
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Hermione
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unlike any other academic course!

Such an interesting and dynamic course! The coordinators had even adapted our timetable to account for real time developments in the peace process. To be learning about a history that is still unfolding, in the country that it is happening, is to really experience what Colombia is living.

I feel humbled to have been taught by experts on the subject: professors, heads of government institutions, heads of NGOs, ex-combatants, the President’s communications team, victims of the conflict; all of whom have had a substantive role in shaping how the peace agreement was formed and how it will be implemented. Many of the Los Andes professors have been closely involved in the negotiation process and policy reform.

Equally, the course never felt inaccessible, or that too much prior knowledge was expected. Even the experts who have worked on this process for years were happy to explain the rudimentary aspects of the conflict.

For me the most interesting part of the programme was the opportunity to talk to people who have experienced the conflict first-hand. We spoke with two MA students who were previously members of two opposing armed groups, and “despite their differences”, are now friends. It was fascinating to understand what compelled them to join these groups, what compelled them to leave, and even what their mundane day-to-day lives were like while members.

The approach to learning is also unique in that we only ever spent half the day in the classroom. For the second half of the day we spoke with the multitude of organisations and individuals who focus on one specific aspect of the implementation, which gives insight into the complexity of a successful peace process.

One trip involved going to a demilitirsed zone where the FARC members had handed in their weapons only days earlier. We spoke to UN employees who explained the demobilisation process, and then had the opportunity to chat to several members of the FARC. I don´t know of any other academic course that offers so many different perspectives on one subject.

Finally, I think it´s important to add that the other students on the course make it particularly stimulating. Everyone is there because they have a real interest in the Colombian peace process, and as a result, there was always a lot of energy and inquisitiveness in the classes. It was a really amazing experience!

Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent Program!

Peace-building in Colombia was hands down one of the greatest programs I have ever experienced. I went to Colombia not knowing the political climate, peace negotiations, or even the language, and I can honestly say I feel extremely confident in explaining the topics to anyone who would ask. The class was well organized, with staff members who were very qualified in their areas of expertise. Even topics that I didn't think would be of my interest grabbed my attention. The professors, coordinators, Red Tree Staff, and university student assistants genuinely cared and tried their hardest to make sure we had all our questions answered, were well taken care of, and safe. Besides academics, the country and the people in it are wonderful. I have never seen a country so full of natural beauty, and the people were so welcoming. Also, I can honestly say I have made lifelong friends with the other participants who enrolled in the program. We still talk daily, and I can't wait for a reunion! All I can say is do this program. Everyday was a new adventure, learning new and worldly things, while seeing beautiful sights, and being with lovely people.

Rita
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

great course

Both the academic and non-academic sides of the program were better than I even expected. It was academically challenging, informative, interactive, and, of course, super fun. I barely knew anything about Colombia and the conflict the country has had for decades but thanks to the course I have solid expertise in the field of peacebuilding, especially as applied to Colombia, now. The program included many cultural and social activities and I only wish I could stay in Colombia with Red Tree for longer.

What would you improve about this program?
make the course one week longer
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Jack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Reccommended

To anyone considering taking part in this program, I would say go for it! Every aspect of this course was top notch. The accommodation was great, and Bogotá is an excellent city with lots to see and do. The Red Tree co-ordinators are all incredibly friendly, helpful and professional, as are the Uniandes staff and students who helped run the course. The academic content was very well selected and taught. We had lectures and talks with leading experts in the topics, as well as meetings with those directly involved in the conflict (including ex-combatants and victims) and with the FARC peace agreement. The mix of academic lectures, trips to various agencies involved in peace building, and cultural and social activities like visits to the Botero museum, meant that the course stayed fresh and active. It was a very good introduction to peace building and the Colombian conflict, taught entirely in English with the help of some wonderful translation by Uniandes students and staff. Many of those we spoke to shared their contact details, inviting those who were doing further research into the topic in the future to get in contact with any questions, providing a great resource for anyone doing so.
The social aspect between the participants was amazing also. Spending so much time together, we got to know each other very well, very quickly. In these three weeks, we made great friends with people from all over the world, with a massive variety in perspectives. Many of us have kept in contact, some travelling together to other parts of Colombia after the end of the program.
So if you want an unforgettable experience, with great people and great support in a beautiful country, and want to learn more about Colombia or peace building from experts in both topics, I highly recommend giving Red Tree Study a chance, because you won't regret it for a second.

What would you improve about this program?
More time!
Maxim
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Peacebuilding in Colombia

This program is simply outstanding.

While academically challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding. Lectures are in the morning, while field trips are held in the afternoon. Different professors teach about their area of expertise and I can honestly say that they are all experts in their field, who make their subjects interesting to students with any background, even if it may not be one’s area of expertise. The real highlight of the course are the field trips in the afternoon, which go to places such as the Victims Unit. These visits help you comprehend and put into the context the content of the lectures.

Beside the academic part, Colombia is an amazing country, and the social aspect of this course helps you explore the countries cultural aspects, from Botero to Tejo. The group this year consisted of intelligent, kind and funny people, making the whole experience one which will not be forgotten anytime soon. Some long-lasting friendships have been formed for sure.

I would recommend this program to anyone with an interest in the subject. You will learn so much while also having a fantastic time!

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Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

10/10 Best Program Ever

This was the best experience I have had studying abroad. Not only were the classes and lectures fascinating, but the excursions – both academic and not – expanded my knowledge of the subject and also my perspective of the world in general. Not only did we get to learn about every aspect of the Colombian conflict, but we got the opportunity to talk to former child soldiers, victims of the conflict, and eat lunch with former members of the FARC. The activities outside of class time were also incredible, from experiencing Gringo Tuesday in Zona T, to being taught how to salsa dance by local couples in a bar, to paragliding in Salento, this trip left me with memories that I will never forget. I was able to form friendships with all of the other people on the trip that I know will last forever, and that is something that is so so important and valuable to me. All in all, I wish I could do it all over again because those three weeks were some of the best in my life.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have loved to have an additional week in Bogotá! I feel like there was a lot more to see and do that we just didn't end up having enough time for.
Default avatar
Gareth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Peacebuilding in Colombia, a dynamic and challenging in classroom and field.

Put simply, this program is incredible!

Colombia is a rich and varied country, but the oldest democracy in Latin America has ravaged by conflict for over fifty years.

The country is living through a time of peacebuilding, as the world's oldest guerrilla group FARC-EP lay down their arms and pursue a political avenue.

This program studies that peace process, while giving a broader education on Colombia with the use of leading academics such as Rodrigo Mezu who was a negotiator during peace talks between the goevernment and the FARC and outstanding field visits.

Universidad de los Andes is an incredible institution, its campus nestled in the west of the city, amongst La Candelaria, Bogota's oldest district. Here you engage with the academic side of the course in world class facilities.

Afternoons are dedicated to field visits, as university staff accompany you to a variety of engaging and inspiring locations. These include the Victims Reparations Unit (whose director was a FARC hostage for over 7 years), the Centre for Memory and the Centre for Reintegration.

The finest field visit was the visit to the Demobilized Zone in Icononzo. Here the FARC have laid down their weapons, and the visit consists of meeting the United Nations team who oversee the peace process and the demobilised guerrillas, some of who have served against the state for over thirty years.

Throw in the optional extras of a visit to Salento, a beautiful area famous for its coffee production where you can hike, mountain bike, paraglide or horseride, and you have all the necessary ingredients for the experience of a lifetime.

The program attracts students from across the world, with UK and US universities making up the majority of students, I found myself studying with people from over 15 different nationalities. Not to mention mixing with the incredible Colombian students who are on hand to help out every day.

This course is an incredible opportunity to study the intricacies of peace negotiations, in a country where they are happening, right here, right now. The blend of academic experts from economists, to psychologists and political scientists, and incredible field trips make it one of the finest study abroad options for anybody interested in politics, IR or conflict. All I can say is: "Thank you Red Tree Study and UniAndes, I'll use what I've learnt for the rest of my life!".

What would you improve about this program?
The only improvement I could suggest is that I wish the course had been longer! Other than that, it's just outstanding.
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Crystal
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Enriching

I learnt multiple valuable lessons; both academic, salsa and communication. It was an honour being a part of such a varied group in such a beautiful city supported by state-of-the-art university facilities. Even more so considering how pertinent our study was to Colombia's current political situation.

I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in international relations or peace and conflict studies. A fine balance between productive and fun.

What would you improve about this program?
- more relevant field studies

Otherwise it was virtually spot on. Loving it
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Vanessa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AMAZING

Peacebuilding in Colombia has been one of my favorite courses that I have taken during undergrad. I have learned so much about Colombia, and the conflicts that it faces. The lectures are taught by very professional and educated professors, and the excursions around town are as academically stimulating. Red Tree does a spectacular job at selecting a really diverse, interesting, and intelligent group of people. My cohort had definitely made this trip one of the best!

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Jess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What an experience!

The course itself was brilliant and of such a high standard. Each lecturer brought something new to the conversation, covering a variety of fields such as politics, history, economics, law, geography, sociology and my personal favorite- psychology. By the end of the course you felt like you yourself were a specialist in the Colombian conflict and its peace resolution. Of course, we aren't, far from it, but the lecturers made us feel so, and really seemed to value our contributions and conversations about the issues and that's something i really appreciated.

The afternoon field trips gave us opportunities that we would never have experienced otherwise. I was definitely the source of envy for some of my university friends having talked to the Presidents team and met with the UN's development agency. The trip's really brought the whole learning experience to life and was a good reminder that the contents we were covering weren't just of academic interest, but is very real and very current and very important to Colombia as a country.

The social activities were hilarious- i loved the bike ride around Bogota when the city shuts out cars once a week, and watching Colombia beat Peru in the America Football Cup was honestly such an experience when you're surrounded by hundreds of Colombians going wild with every goal. In fact, you'd only have to wander round the city for 20 minutes in your spare time to come across some sort of street celebration, or march, or protest- Colombians seem to find any excuse to celebrate!

The RedTree team were incredible! We all had a great laugh with them and I definitely felt them to be helpful and concerned for our well-being throughout the trip, which I definitely appreciated in a hustling bustling city like Bogota. The co-ordinator Alex was brilliant- from day one of my application she was easy to communicate with and answered all my questions via email within the same day. A few of us decided to go to the coastal city of Cartagena for one of the weekends during the three weekends and I really appreciate her taking the time to help us with our planning despite it not being part of her job. Big up to our day to day facilitators too, Tom and Hannah! They were amazing, so much fun to be around but I always felt very safe with them, and they really helped the sometimes exhausting and intense days pass by easily.

All in all a pretty unforgettable three weeks, with outstanding lecturers and really admirable fellow students. With just 14 of us, it was a small group but i couldn’t have enjoyed their company more, and I’ve got to say I found it very refreshing to be surrounded by genuinely interesting people with noble career ambitions and intentions- and I think the three weeks gave each of us in different ways that extra bit of inspiration and determination needed to achieve these.

What would you improve about this program?
Having access to the course readings earlier would be great- there's a lot of them and all very interesting, but just no time to read them during the three weeks as we were so busy!
Sara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime trip!

I was incredibly apprehensive about going to Colombia with a group of strangers for 3 weeks who were to be the first people take the course. Was met at the airport by a driver which was organised by the program and was driven to the hotel in Candelaria. The location of the hotel was perfect; minutes away from the university and in one of the more interesting districts in Bogota.

The apprehension soon faded away once I met up with one of the program organisers and the rest of the students as they arrived. The group of people this course attracts seem to come from a wide variety of backgrounds and has been one of the best assets to the course. The course itself was very interesting and the field trips provided insight into potential careers in the field of peace-building. It was also a great opportunity to network with other students who had very strong aspirations to enter into this field.

I would recommend to anyone thinking of taking the course to first learn at least a minimal amount of Spanish and also to take advantage of being in such a beautiful country and travel either before or after.

10/10 highly recommend