An Introduction to Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB)

Students playing soccer between classes
On the second floor you can find the language office
On the second floor you can find the language office

The Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana also known as the UPB is a private university that has been a fundamental part of Medellín since 1936. Its first location was the Medellin campus but it has since expanded to a total of five campuses throughout Colombia.

It offers classes from preschool through graduate school, with some students starting their education as preschoolers and graduating as PHD students.


The UPB is located in Laureles, on “la 70 and Nutibara”. The campus has a total of 21 main buildings and facilities. The school is so well-known that you can hop into a taxi and they will know exactly where to go because it located in the center of the city.

It has three different entrances, one on la 70, one in front of Unicentro (a mall in the area) and one on Nutibara.


The university is known for having the oldest Industrial Design program in Colombia, one of the first nanotechnology program and the first video game design engineering program in the country.

It is also known for having one of the oldest and best law schools, a top fashion design program, the most popular communication/public relations program and some of the best engineering majors as well.

The UPB has a separate location in Robledo, which is specifically for the Medical school/hospital. The Medical program is also one of the best in all of Colombia.

Language Classes

The language school offers seven languages, English, Italian, German, Portuguese, French, Japanese and Spanish.

The schools Spanish program is one of the few to offer assistance when applying for your TP-3 visa, or student visa as well as your PIP-2 to stay in Colombia for up to 90 days.

Most of the language programs offer up to ten levels and the classes are small and personalized.

Students playing soccer between classes
Students playing soccer between classes

Sports Facilities

The university is known caring about the student’s character development as much as the development of the intellect and this is due to it being a Catholic university.

They are building human beings, not intellectual robots, who actively participate in the world around them.

They have invested a large sum of money into the sports facilities around the campus. It boasts two public soccer fields, a running track, and a pool, a coliseum and tennis courts. The multiple soccer teams, the rugby team and the ultimate Frisbee team all use the soccer field.

The university has a full-sized gym open to adults and teens above the age of fifteen. The gym offers different memberships; you can pay for a day, a month, a fourteen day pass, or longer terms like three months, six months or a year; available for students and tourists.

The coliseum is used for basketball, volleyball, handball, “microsoccer” (indoor soccer in a smaller field) and other sports. The coliseum is also used for concerts and many other events.

The pool is open to the public provided you have a swimsuit and a swim cap.
The pool is open to the public provided you have a swimsuit and a swim cap.

Campus in General

The campus offers bicycle parking zones by almost every building and is becoming pedestrian friendly

Throughout the entire university you can find green areas/path that will lead to a boulevard of little fast food huts. You can choose from the greasy, fried typical Colombian food, to the healthy fruit shack and everything in between.

Right in front of the boulevard is a large seating area commonly known by the students as Comfama because of how full it tends to be.

If you don’t feel like sitting in this crowded area there are places all around campus to sit in the grass or some picnic tables under the shade of the numerous trees all around campus.



The school is very protective of its students and multiple guards can be seen at any time around campus. It is enclosed with a fence and students can only get in with a special school ID.

Visitors must present themselves at the one of the three guard gates within the circular campus with some form of identification to get in.

The university looks forward to foreign students who either want to take a language class or want to proceed to university studies once they have completed the required courses in Spanish.

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  1. Tnanks, Melissa. Very good report on my beloved UPB!! I´m an alumni, now living abroad. Be blessed. Enjoy your life in my beautiful country ! 🙂

    • You’re welcome Maritza! I love the university. Do you have any requests on what I should write about next? Keep in touch.

  2. Thank you so much for this review, Melissa!
    I’m interested in the Spanish course and your post helped me a lot! 🙂
    Best regards,

  3. Not sure if you it was different at time of review, but this no longer holds true:
    “The pool is open to the public provided you have a swimsuit and a swim cap.”

    Whilst you can use the gym (by paying), and gaining entrance to the campus with ID, only students and facility members are permitted to use the pool…as I discovered, much to my disappointment after buying a gym membership.

  4. I’ve been attending Spanish classes for a week. The classes are great, and my instructor is the best I’ve ever had. However, the administration leaves much to be desired. My student ID wouldn’t work the first 4 days I was attending. Finding someone on campus who cared . . . a fruitless search.

  5. Hi I wondered how is best to get in touch with the medical school – I am a medical student from the uk who would be interested in meeting and understanding more about the health care in Colombia
    Many thanks

  6. Soy brasileña y voy a estudiar español por tres meses. A me mi gustaria de rentar una recamera amueblada en Laureles. Pueden indicarme alguno aplicativo donde puedo investigar o conocen alguien que tiene disponible una recamera?