Teach Colombia: Living the Experience
Julie is a chemistry student who decided to jump at the opportunity to go on an AIESEC internship while she was studying at the University of Ottawa. She ended up finding a teaching opportunity in Bogota, Colombia where she was not only able to personally impact the lives of many young children through education, but also greatly develop her own leadership capabilities.
When we asked Julie to share her story, she was overjoyed! She was very quick to tell us all about the incredible people that she connected with and the unforgettable experience that she had. Beyond that, we also really wanted to know was what it was like to live in Colombia and if there were any challenges that Julie had faced along the way.
Following are some of the things that Julie had to say about the culture in Colombia and what it was like to live there.
“First and foremost, it should be said that Colombia is amazing! It is passion. It is happiness. It is magical. It is real. Actually, I dare you to go and not fall in love!”
Living/ Working Conditions
The living conditions are dependent on where you live in each city/town/area. In contrast to Canada, there is an evident separation between the upper and lower classes. However, Colombia is more modern and developed than what most people expect. In my case (and in most other exchange cases) I’ve had fantastic living conditions. AIESEC in Colombia takes good care in assuring that the trainees are given or are able to find suitable accommodations. You can be sure that regardless of where you are, your host family and/or neighbours will give you a lively welcome and make you feel at home.
There were a couple of cultural differences that made it hard for me to adjust at first. For one, Colombians are very warm and outgoing people whereas in Canada we are more reserved. Living in such an environment forced me to learn to open up, share my thoughts and stop being shy. I cannot thank my experiences in Colombia enough for this. Another cultural difference that I had difficulty getting used to is that Colombians love sarcasm (for the purpose of jokes, I should specify) – I should also specify that not everything is for giggles. Although I struggled at first with this, the solution is to simply lighten up! The lesson to be learned here is that life doesn’t have to be so serious. It’s not for nothing that Colombia has the happiest people on the planet.
Experience with AIESEC in Colombia
My experiences with AIESEC Colombia was great. There was amazing support from the recruitment team until the end of the exchange and everything in between. They do an awesome job! Though my internship was with AIESEC in Colombia, I also have some ties with two different local AIESEC offices in Bogotá, which also have great energy and enthusiasm.
Last Piece of Advice
JUST DO IT! Colombia is an incredible country with a lot to offer; like a diamond in the rough. Help Colombia grow to its full potential! You will have the time of your life (I know I have – 5 trips to Colombia and counting!). I taught over 300 students and now this is YOUR chance to directly impact hundreds of lives. What are you waiting for??
Don’t miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime!
Find out more about teaching abroad at http://aiesec.ca/students/intern-abroad/