Hola a todos from Barranquilla, Colombia!
Traveling to Colombia has been a dream of mine for five years now. In May, that dream became a reality! I’m currently in Barranquilla taking Spanish classes for my minor. We are three weeks in, and we have three weeks left!
First and foremost, to anyone even slightly considering studying abroad, my answer is DO IT! I’ll admit, I wasn’t super excited about not being home with my friends for the summer, but I knew I’d regret not taking the chance to travel even more. And, not once have I regretted my decision! While having the opportunity to complete three classes in six weeks is amazing in itself, what I’m even more thankful for is the opportunity for self-growth. By forcing myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve learned I’m so much more capable of speaking Spanish than I ever thought! What’s more, is that I’m gaining confidence and learning more about who I am and what I love.
The city of Barranquilla is absolutely stunning with so much to do. We play soccer in the neighborhoods we’re living in, walk to the mall, go out to eat, take weekend trips, and go to the clubs! The best part is, the food and Uber rides are incredibly cheap.
But what I’ve enjoyed most is how kind, outgoing, and helpful the people are. The students at the university we’re studying at have accepted us with open arms. They eat lunch with us, play soccer with us, and go out with us. Through all of this, not only are we improving our Spanish, but we’re learning about what’s important to the Colombian people and their culture.
One of the most beautiful aspects of life here is how slow it is. However, this also means our group has had to learn to be patient waiting for food, drinks, and transportation! Everywhere, you’ll see people sitting, walking, and talking while taking in the small moments. You won’t find many people rushing around with their eyes glued to their phone.
If you are someone planning to study abroad, I would advise you to approach your future travels with an open mind. Many students in our group even deleted their social media in order to fully focus on being present. I did this, and I am LOVING it! If you’re someone who’s nervous about studying abroad, I would advise you to trust that it will be an incredible learning experience in more ways than you can imagine!