When choosing an intern abroad location, individuals must first consider the availability of internship opportunities, the cost of travel and living expenses, and the general culture of the country. Colombia is a country which ranks favorably in all three of these categories. With a strong, growing economy, the internships in Colombia cover a wide spectrum of fields. In addition to the recent economic success and the affordability of flights, Colombia is also home to one of the most fantastic cuisines in the world, clean and idyllic scenery, and friendly, hospitable people, making internships in Colombia even more desirable.
Internships in Colombia are most prevalently available in the country’s major cities. The capital city of Bogotá, also the nation’s largest city, covers a large range of industries based on its size alone. Bogotá is also the second largest city in South America, so you will certainly find an internship in Bogota that suits your interests, especially in the business sector. The capital is the hub for foreign companies within Colombia and also the center for the emerald trade business as well.
When it comes to innovative business, Medellín is a city which has recently been pushing the envelope towards economic progression. Medellin’s growing economy has sparked jobs in just about every industry, but has most notably created excellent internship opportunities in banking and finance. Medellín is home to Bancolombia, South America’s largest commercial bank, as well as several other large financial companies, such as BTG Pactual. With over thirty universities, Medellín is home to a highly educated and cultured population, contributing to the industrial success of the city.
Though Bogotá and Medellín both offer mild to hot weather year-round, Santiago de Cali’s climate is the city’s main appeal. An average annual temperature of around 77 degrees fahrenheit, and easy accessibility to the Pacific Ocean make Cali one of the most pleasant locations to live and work in Colombia. Like Medellín, Cali is a hot spot for both national and international economic exchange, because of its strong manufacturing industry and agricultural production.
With something to offer in just about any given industry, you cannot go wrong with internships in Colombia based in these three major cities.
Internships in Colombia
Whether you are looking to intern in business, finance, education, medicine, hospitality, or film and media, there will be an internship in Colombia for you. There are also a variety of internships in Colombia related to the field of social welfare and public health, with opportunities to intern with individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or work on development programs. Teaching positions in Colombia are not uncommon either, such as internships teaching English as a second language.
Internships in Colombia can last anywhere from one to three months, and even up to a year or more, depending on the intern abroad program you choose. Once you begin interning in Colombia, you will gain essential skills in your field of interest. For example, marketing internships abroad are known to provide hands on experience, managing client accounts and learning the ins and outs of the field. Many internship programs in Colombia are in affiliation the with top finance and banking companies in Colombia, so these internships are sure to boost the credibility of your resume in the future.
The typical work schedule in Colombia is similar to that of America, in that it consists of a Monday through Friday work week, with one hour lunch breaks. The main distinction between the work week in Colombia and many other “Western” nations, is that it is much less common to work on the weekends, as most businesses close on the weekends.
Salaries & Costs
Salary for internships in Colombia varies based on the field and specific internship program, but most internship programs in Colombia are unpaid, and therefore often limited to volunteer opportunities. Though your internship may be unpaid, the cost of living is relatively affordable in Colombia.
Average monthly rent ranges between $500 to $900. Much like the U.S., rent is going to be cheaper if interns live with roommates, but it is still affordable if intens prefer living alone. Individuals interning abroad in Colombia will be able to rent a one bedroom studio apartment in a highrise of a major city for about $900 a month. Rent can always be reduced by sacrificing the prime location for the more rural areas that surround the cities.
If rent prices pose a financial concern, interns will surely find they can save money on food. Colombia offers some excellent food for an extremely affordable price. Beef is one of Colombia’s greatest resources, making beef products and dishes not only delicious but affordable. Food carts flood major cities, which offer full meals for about $6 to $7 dollars. For a meal consisting of substantial nutrients at such a low price, the food carts are the way to go for interns in Colombia looking for a quick meal.
Accommodations & Visas
If the endless internship opportunities, the enticing cuisine, and the enjoyable weather are what brings you to Colombia, the people are what will make you want to stay. The hospitable nature of the Colombian people will instantly become apparent as they tend to welcome visitors from around the world with open arms.
Many internship programs in Colombia provide living accommodations in program costs, which can include apartments, resident halls with other interns, or homestays with host families. Staying with a host family is a great way to immerse yourself into the culture, and can also save you a lot of money on meals. Most programs offer homestays in addition to the option of sharing an apartment, giving you free range over your choice of housing. If you don’t end up with a host family, you definitely won’t be left out of the cultural aspects, as the major cities offer a bustling nightlife with countless bars, restaurants, clubs, and music venues.
If you’re interning in Colombia for less than 90 days, your tourist visa will be free of charge, but if you intern in Colombia for any longer period of time then you must apply for a work visa online, which can cost about $100 to 200.
Benefits & Challenges
Interning in Colombia will certainly broaden your career horizons, as you will be exposed to a culture much different from your own. Though the cultural difference may come as a shock at first, you will surely become more acquainted as you delve into it.
The biggest cultural barrier is going to lie within the language. Colombia is not nearly as big of an English speaking country as most European countries, so it is not uncommon to encounter people who don’t speak English. Though the cities are full of young and educated people, and servers in restaurants will most likely speak some English, the older generations are typically less fluent. This is especially important to keep in mind with cab drivers, as taxis are the most accessible transportation around the cities, and your driver most likely will not speak English. So, the main preparation you should do before interning in Colombia is to brush up on your Spanish.
If you don’t know any Spanish though, no need to worry, as the Spanish spoken in Colombia is some of the easiest Spanish to learn and understand. It is considered a very pure Spanish, in that it has not been altered with slang or indigenous words. Whether you are fluent, intermediate, or a beginner Spanish speaker, you are sure to expand your Spanish skills and understanding of the language while interning in Colombia.
Colombia’s negative perceptions of organized crime are an issue of the past, so it should not be a problem selling this destination to your parents. Of course, you should still take all of the necessary precautions to avoid danger, as you should when travelling anywhere new and unfamiliar to you. The organization and cleanliness of the cities in Colombia are now on point, making transportation both pleasant and accessible.
Intern in Colombia where you can grab a cup of the world’s best coffee, take in beautiful scenery, and meet some of the most gorgeous and friendly people you will ever encounter.