Discovering Colombia

Melody in Jardin Botanico
Melody in Jardin Botanico

Two years ago, I was offered a job working with Colombian students who were going to participate in an English immersion program at my university.

I was just beginning my graduate studies in TESOL and was happy to accept the job, but I was extremely curious about these Colombian students.

First of all, I wasn’t entirely sure where Colombia was (somewhere in South America? Maybe in the jungle?) and all I could remember ever hearing about Colombia were news reports about drugs and Plan Colombia and cartels and paramilitaries and Pablo Escobar and… well, nothing that made me want to jump on a plane and check it out, if you know what I mean.

That summer made me reconsider and reevaluate all of my preconceptions about Colombia. The students (between ages  9 and 14) that I worked with were clever and funny.

They spoke English and played soccer and tried to talk me into taking them to Taco Bell every day.

They certainly didn’t act like children who had been brought up in the middle of conflict and drug violence.

They had iPods and laptops and cameras that were nicer than mine. In fact, within ten minutes of meeting them I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about the real Colombia.

I’ve lived in Colombia now since January of this year, and before that I was here for a lovely 6 week stint as a volunteer teacher last summer.

I may not be Colombian or speak the language perfectly (yet), but I definitely know where the country is, how to cook an arepa, and why jugo de lulo is the best thing you’ve never heard of in Colombia.

Swinging in Salento, a small town in the coffee region.
Swinging in Salento, a small town in the coffee region.

I’m going to help contribute to Medellin Living by writing about traveling opportunities in (and near) Colombia, and I’ll also be writing helpful tips regarding living in Colombia, such as how to laundry at an affordable price.

While I don’t currently live in Medellin, I do live in Pereira, which is also in the “Paisa” region of Colombia. As Pereira is just a quick 35 minute plane ride away from Medellin, I love to visit and will be happy to share my adventures with you.

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