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Peacebuilding in Colombia Summer Program
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Peacebuilding in Colombia Summer Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Amazing program with amazing people!

This program is outstanding! It's jam-packed with academics while also allowing time to immerse oneself in the beautiful country that is Colombia. My one and only complaint is that it wasn't long enough and thus it would have been awesome to get to know the country better! This program allows you to learn soooo much academically while also giving you the opportunity to have amazing social interactions and experiences--it was a great balance and you definitely get your money's worth even if just from the amount of information you are taught. Plus, Red Tree Study (shoutout to Alex Jones!) is super accommodation and responsive which makes you feel very comfortable and safe. I highly recommend this program--it's a great life experience that you get to enjoy with some of the coolest people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Unlike any other academic course

Such an interesting and dynamic course! The coordinators had even adapted our timetable to account for real time developments in the peace process. To be learning about a history that is still unfolding, in the country that it is happening, is to really experience what Colombia is living.

I feel humbled to have been taught by experts on the subject: professors, heads of government institutions, heads of NGOs, ex-combatants, the President’s communications team, victims of the conflict; all of whom have had a substantive role in shaping how the peace agreement was formed and how it will be implemented. Many of the Los Andes professors have been closely involved in the negotiation process and policy reform. To be taught by the authors of one of the most sophisticated peace processes in history is a rare opportunity.

Equally, I’d like to stress that the course never felt inaccessible, or that too much prior knowledge was expected. Even the experts who have worked on this process for years were happy to explain the rudimentary aspects of the conflict.

For me the most interesting part of the programme was the opportunity to talk to people who have experienced the conflict first-hand. We spoke with two MA students who were previously members of two opposing armed groups, and “despite their differences”, are now friends. It was fascinating to understand what compelled them to join these groups, what compelled them to leave, and even what their mundane day-to-day lives were like while members.

The approach to learning is also unique in that we only ever spent half the day in the classroom. For the second half of the day we spoke with the multitude of organisations and individuals who focus on one specific aspect of the implementation, which gives insight into the complexity of a successful peace process.

One trip involved going to a demilitirsed zone where the FARC members had handed in their weapons only days earlier. We spoke to UN employees who explained the demobilisation process, and then had the opportunity to chat to several members of the FARC. I don´t know of any other academic course that offers so many different perspectives on one subject.

Finally, I think it´s important to add that the other students on the course make it particularly stimulating. Everyone is there because they have a real interest in the Colombian peace process, and as a result, there was always a lot of energy and inquisitiveness in the classes. It was a really amazing experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Unforgettable

Participating in this program will be an experience which will be difficult to forget! It gave me the opportunity to go to a country I had never been to before and explore it academically in a unique moment in History. Studying the peace process whilst it is ongoing was a historical privilege. The course provides a great mixture and balance of theoretical and empirical knowledge: class with experts in each field in the morning, visits to key institutions or meetings with ex-combattants in the afternoon. Additionally, thanks to the program, I have made 30 new friends for life! Thank you Red Tree and Universidad de los Andes!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

I only wish I could spend more time there

We had wonderful three weeks in Colombia studying the conflict in the country. The academic side of the program offered a multidisciplinary approach with specialists from different fields, numerous field trips and visits to relatable sites, and extensive material to cover. We also took part in a lot of cultural and non-academic activities, travelled a bit around Colombia, and received 24/7 support from Red Tree team. I only wish the course could have been one week longer, since I was incredibly sad to leave such a beautiful country I knew nothing about before I actually came there but thanks to Red Tree I had the best experience possible.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Absolutely amazing program

The Peacebuilding program in Colombia was with no doubt an unforgettable and enriching experience in all possible ways. The course was very well taught by experts in the topic. Lectures were encapsulating that time flew. The course was not only academic but also practical as Colombia is currently living the peace process making it a unique experience. The excursions as well as the social activities were interesting and fun.
Being able to talk to ex-combatants is by far the highlight of the trip as you engage emotionally with individuals who fought during the conflict.
I would highly recommend this program as it is a once in a lifetime experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

Once in a lifetime experience

There was no part of this trip that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. The opportunity to learn so much about every aspect of the Colombian conflict both inside and outside of the classroom was unlike any other experience I've had – whether it be fascinating lectures from experts in the field, or getting to talk to former members of the FARC – this truly was a once in a lifetime experience. In addition to the educational parts of this program, Red Tree Study planned outings that allowed us to immerse ourselves in the culture, bond with our classmates, and have a really great time. The three weeks we spent in Colombia were some of the best I've experienced, and I would do it all over again if I could just to relive some of those moments.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Life changing experience

Having never travelled to South America, this was the perfect opportunity to find out what life was really like in Colombia, especially as it has been painted as a country with a lot of issues by European media. Combined with academic and practical insight into the peace process this peacebuilding program has really opened my eyes about conflict resolution and the many different factors that surround it. Would recommend for anyone keen to combine a cultural and academic South American experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Unforgettable

Peacebuilding in Colombia has been one of my favorite courses that I have taken during undergrad. I have learned so much about Colombia, and the conflicts that it faces. The lectures are taught by very professional and educated professors, and the excursions around town are as academically stimulating. Red Tree does a spectacular job at selecting a really diverse, interesting, and intelligent group of people. My cohort had definitely made this trip one of the best!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Unforgettable three weeks!

It’s pretty hard to write in a few words anything that justifies our three week experience in Bogota, such was the amount and variety of things we have done.

The course itself was brilliant and was so much more engaging and enriching than anything I’ve come to expect from my own university. What I loved about the lectures was the breadth of different things they covered; we seemed to learn about the conflict through so many different academic fields, some of which i really hadn’t considered relevant previously. My favourite aspect was definitely learning about the psychological affect that the conflict has had on those involved, especially child soldiers.

What really made the course so invaluable though were the field trips that we would go to in the afternoons to facilitate what we had learnt that previous morning in lectures. It gave us all an opportunity to interact with people and institutions we would never ever have otherwise had the chance to do- when else would I have been able to chat with the Presidential team or met the people responsible for creating the transitional justice framework to be used in the peace process!? My personal highlight was going to visit one of the UN’s development projects in the outer slum towns of Bogota. The only downside to the course is that it’s going to make my 7 hour a week lecture schedule back at uni slightly less exciting.

The social activities planned I found actually quite a relief to have at the end of some days after a long and usually intense day; watching Colombian football and playing tejo was hilarious and a good way to see the more light-hearted side of Colombia. The activities were always voluntary so it never felt like forced fun- I feel like I speak for everyone when I say that the social things were genuinely a really good laugh and gave me some of the best memories of the trip.

The RedTree team were incredible! To me it felt like they had the right balance between being approachable and fun to be around whilst also being people that you felt would help you out if ever needed. The coordinator Alex was brilliant- from day one of my application she was easy to communicate with and answered all my questions via email within the same day. A few of us decided to go to the coastal city of Cartagena for one of the weekends during the three weekends and I really appreciate her taking the time to help us with our planning. Big up to our day to day facilitators too, Tom and Hannah! They were amazing, so much fun to be around but I always felt very safe with them, and they really helped the sometimes exhausting and intense days pass by easily.

All in all a pretty unforgettable three weeks, with outstanding lecturers and really admirable fellow students. With just 14 of us, it was a small group but i couldn’t have enjoyed their company more, and I’ve got to say I found it very refreshing to be surrounded by genuinely interesting people with noble career ambitions and intentions- and I think the three weeks gave each of us in different ways that extra bit of inspiration and determination needed to achieve these.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Best summer experience

The course itself is intellectually stimulating and really enjoyable. Not only are the lecturers very inspiring and passionate about what they are teaching us, but we were also taken to so many different places and institutions, which allows us to witness what we are learning and also speak with these people directly. Additionally, I don't speak Spanish, but that really wasn't a problem - both for the course and when I had free time.

Also, Red Tree Study has totally looked after us living in Bogota. They've organise activities and trips and have made sure we have had the best social experience possible - and I really have. I got to see both the cultural and historical sites, but I also the nightlife which was amazing. Because of Red Tree Study I have made the most out of Bogota as I possibly could in 3 weeks. So I definitely recommend this course to anyone considering it, and I especially recommend Red Tree Study!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Peacebuliding in Colombia

An incredible three week course that takes professors from a range of concentrations and majors to adeptly describe the peacekeeping process Colombia is undergoing. Going above and beyond a simple classroom experience plenty of site visits are made in the afternoon to places like Congress, UNDP, and International Center for Transitional Justice.

The classes I believe were amazing because they not only look at the institutional levels that the peace process addresses but also the challenges that very people of the country face. Exploring the psychological impact that the history of the armed conflict.

All in all the time spent in the program and in Colombia were phenomenal. If anything I wish I could have stayed in Colombia longer.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Peacebuilding in Colombia

Peace Building in Colombia is an amazing, intensive, three week program that allows students who have little or no background on Colombia or its conflict to grasp the complexities of the armed conflict and its peace agreement. There are very insightful lectures given by a variety of professors with different backgrounds that are filled with discussions fueled by the students, and field visits where you can see firsthand how many elements talked about in lecture are put into practice. In this program you also get to explore areas in Bogota and learn about the diverse and rich history of Colombia. Overall it was a very worthwhile experience where each day was filled with insightful new experiences and adventures.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Excellent Program

A really excellent program! I came here knowing absolutely nothing about the Colombian conflict but I've learnt so much in the past three weeks. The course schedule is jam packed with classes and field visits. Professors assumed no prior knowledge so everything was explained in detail, very informal classes, most more of a discussion than a lecture.
The course was arranged to be classes in the morning and field visits in the afternoon. Field visits included the Communications Team of the President, UNDP, the Victims' Centre and International Centre for Transitional Justice, all of which expanded our knowledge of the peace process. One particular field visit which stood out was the visit to the UNDP project in Soacha, where we got to see firsthand the work that the UN is doing in the country.

A knowledge of Spanish could prove very useful, however not essential since there is always someone around to translate during field visits etc. I speak no Spanish and have managed quite well.

I've made some really great friends here. The number of students on the course is relatively small so everyone gets the chance to bond with the whole group.

The social activities are extremely fun, knowing exactly what to do and where to go. Social activities included tejo, a traditional Colombian sport, a party bus and a hike to Colombia's tallest waterfall. The Red Tree Study team are organised and very helpful.

Overall an excellent program and Bogota is an amazing city to do this. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

RedTree study program

It has been a very busy two weeks but incredibly entertaining. Bogota is a fantastic city even despite the high altitude and weather, which seems to me to be incredibly reminiscent of back home in the UK!

Our program has been incredibly engaging and we have had many field trips that are not only relevant but add greater meaning to the lectures. My favourite had to be when we were given a tour of the Presidential Palace and invited to listen and question the Communications team of the President, allowing us to actively discuss the issues facing the current Santos administration of ensuring that the upcoming referendum on the peace process will have the public support needed to ensure it passes.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Excellent course in a stunning country

This would be an excellent course for anyone who is interested in conflict studies, politics, development or any social sciences. The academic staff were up to date with the constantly changing situation and always eager to discuss any questions the students had. Subjects covered varied from child soldiers’ rehabilitation to legal challenges of the transitional justice, and from political rivalry to class conflict. It would have been interesting to hear a bit more of the environmental impacts in the context (fumigation, illegal mining, palm plantations etc.), but otherwise we got a pretty good picture of the various aspects to be considered in the rebuilding of the country.
In most afternoons we also visited an institution, one or another way involved in the peace process, such as the International Centre for Transitional Justice, Victims’ Reparation Unit, UN and more. In the remaining time we visited museums, restaurants, pubs, and even had a couple of sporty activities, such as a traditional dance class and a cycle tour around Bogota. The activities were interesting and fun and pretty well coordinated, save some time keeping issues.
Overall, I was really impressed by the programme, both the academic and the social side.
There are two things I would recommend to anybody who considers taking part of the course:
1) If you can, ask for the course materials early on and come prepared, as due to the busy academic and social calendar you won’t have time to do it here.
2) Please, please, please leave yourself a little bit of time to explore the country and meet the locals before or after the course. Colombia is a stunning country with one of the richest biodiversities in the world. It’s full of opportunities to do adventure sports in the mountains, chill on the beach, hike in the jungle, or explore its rich multi-ethnic history and culture. And a lot of it is doable on a shoestring!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Peace building programme at Uniandes

Having just completed the Peace building programme at Uniandes, I can truly say that it is one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. The dept of knowledge the course enables has gone far beyond my expectations and I will be leaving with a renewed appreciation of the intricacies that a peace process entails. Whether being taught by leading professors in the field, touring round the cities graffiti or watching the football with thousands of Colombians the overall experience has been fantastic and eye opening.

For me, the visit to the Transitional Justice centre was a particular highlight as it changed my previously resolute ideals about what exactly justice encompassed. The ability of the course to challenge and change my political and ethical standpoints has surprised me the most. This I had not previously experienced within my studies at university and is something I feel anyone with a keen interest in politics would benefit from.

Studying a peace process in the country of implementation has been a unique experience and the fact that the peace agreement was signed during the course, made my academic work real in a way that I have not previously experienced.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in politics and will be sad to leave this beautiful country.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Great Program!!

Peacebuilding in Colombia through Red Tree Study was a fantastic three weeks. We were located very centrally in Bogota which allowed us to get to Universidad de los Andes with ease as well as to explore the city on our own time. The professors were extremely knowledgable and engaging and the support staff was always helpful and professional. I look forward to keeping in touch with many whom I met along the way. The field visits as well allowed the group to experience all aspects of Colombian life and different perspectives on the conflict. My experience in Bogota was unique and enriching, and I would absolutely recommend this course.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Explosive

My mind was blown away by the incredible lessons I learnt; both as part of the academic course as well as culturally and socially. The group of people selected to participate want I was surrounded by intellectual and opinionated individuals who made the lessons I learnt an unforgettable. We also got to explore more cultural activities and different areas of he country outside Bogota during the long weekends. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in politics, foreign policy and travelling. There wouldn't be a more appropriate period in history to come and study such a pertinent topic in so ideal a location. All amidst the best company

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    7

Good opportunity

This was an overall great program. The teachers were very knowledgeable on the topics they discussed and welcomed discussion. They all offer so much to learn from them. Knowing the basics of spanish is essential, since staff is not always with you and communicating within the country is strictly spanish.
There were multiple activities to do and the city of Bogota gives you so much to explore. Definitely recommend the program for any interested.