When everything is set and done, who doesn’t want to have an accent like Modern Family’s Gloria? Although a full year or more may be required to nail the Colombian accent, any time spent in Colombia will be memorable. Àndale!

Colombia’s main cities are not as dangerous as they used to be. The fears of rampant crime are misguided. Both city officials and city dwellers have sought to remake their society. Many Colombians have compensated for the negative perceptions by welcoming foreigners with open arms, showing a willingness to change and improve Colombia’s image on the global and regional stages.

Although Colombia is the only South American country to have coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, its main cities are more inland.

Bogota: Colombia’s capital is home to over 7 million people. The city has recently experienced a makeover: the Gold Museum and the Cathedral of Salt have been restructured to preserve and showcase Bogota’s culture and that of Colombia’s. The city is built at the base of Monserrable Hill, which serves as a great resource to temporarily escape the city life.

Cali: Located in the heart of a valley, Santiago de Cali has a tropical savanna climate that enhances the city’s active nightlife and fiestas. Every December, “La Fiesta de Cali” turns the city into a non-stop dance floor. Even the buses of the relatively modern Masivo Integrado de Occidente (MIO) transit system become rolling nightclubs. Salsa music and an artistic culture underpin this city.

Home-stay? Apartment? Language classes? Whether you want to solely study Spanish within the backdrop of a host family or you want to experience Colombian culture while taking engineering classes, there’s a fitting program for you.

Language: Colombia’s official language is Spanish. Thus, most classes are Spanish-instructed. If you’re seeking a true cultural immersion, beginning or linguistically advanced speakers will find that their Spanish skills will rapidly improve.

ISEP offers Spanish-taught classes at Icesi University in Cali in which business, humanities, and engineering programs are available. Contrarily, AmeriSpan’s program in Bogota focuses on intensive Spanish language courses. However, those courses include 10 students or fewer—close professor-student interaction and instruction is encouraged.

Housing: Colombia may not be the safest country, but you will have the freedom to choose a housing option that is most comfortable. NRCSA is one program that offers home-stay, apartment, or hotel living.

Student Visas to Study in Colombia

How do I obtain a Colombian student visa? What do I need (says curious student)? Why, let me tell you.

Applying for a Colombian student visa requires the following:

  • The Colombia Visa Application
  • Official recognition of acceptance from the Colombian university
  • Proof that the Colombian university exists
  • Proof that bank account is not empty and that you have the means to pay
  • For additional información, direct your attention to the Colombian government’s visa checklist.

1 US dollar is the equivalent of nearly 1,776 Colombian pesos but depending on where you live and eat, who knows what state your bank account will end up. There are several resources to help you financially as a Colombian study abroad student.

Contributed by Daniel O'Kelly

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