After spending a semester abroad in Spain I arrived to Bogotá keen to experience a very different culture. Latin America in general is full of incredibly diverse culture with an amazing history and Colombia is at the heart of this. Sometimes overlooked due to it´s violent history, Colombia is emerging as one of the most amazing travel destinations and for me personally having the chance of spending time getting to know this country was a real privilege.

From the historic Caribbean city of Cartegena, to the relaxing islands of San Andres and Providencia, rafting and paragliding in the adventure capital of Santander, to the quaint pueblos of Boyaca. The biggest salsa dancing festival in the world at the feria de Cali, to one of the most diverse ecosystems of the world in the Amazonian town of Letica, these are just some of many amazing surprises I experienced in Colombia.

But it wasn´t all ¨paseos y rumba¨, on a serious note, studying at the Javeriana in Bogotá, one of the most prestigious universities in the country was the most rewarding part of my time in Colombia. The university is located on the hill surrounded by trees smack bang in the middle of this crazy city. With 9 million people it sometimes seems hard to escape the noise and pollution that comes with being one of the biggest cities on the continent, but la Javeriana was a breath of fresh air and felt almost like a little oasis amid the chaos surrounding it.

Colombia still has many problems, many of which revolve around the ongoing civil war, which has already lasted 50 years. For this reason, studying politics here was amazing due to the complex issues that are presented. The standard of education was very high, and having direct access to some of the most influential people in the field of conflict theory was something very special for me.

Many people thinking of going to Colombia on exchange will obviously be worried about the security situation due to it´s past history, however despite it still having it´s problems there is very little danger to tourists in the majority of the country. Obviously as in any place in the world, precautions need to be taken but Bogotá is no more dangerous than London or New York.

Colombian people in general are amazing and will no doubt be one of the memorable experiences of your time there. Their loving nature and hospitality will leave you wanting to return shortly after leaving.

Any issues that arise at the university regarding subjects or general problems will be quickly resolved by the international office with Ana Maria and her team. They are all very helpful and approachable.

An intermediate level of Spanish is advised when going to la Javeriana, but I wouldn´t let that stop anyone from going due to the fact that a lot of the teachers are very understanding and helpful with exchange students.

My experience at the Javeriana was one of the most memorable of my life and the experience that I gained will help me for the rest of my studies. Thanks to the Jan and the team at UQ abroad for this incredible experience.

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