Red Tree Study Participant Reviews
Amazing program with amazing people!
Submitted by Mariana Weiss - Loyola University Chicago | September 11, 2017
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.
Unlike any other academic course
Submitted by Hermione Greenhalgh - University of Bristol | August 23, 2017
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!
Submitted by Oriana - University of Sussex | August 08, 2017
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!
I only wish I could spend more time there
Submitted by Rita - University of Bristol | July 17, 2017
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.
Absolutely amazing program
Submitted by Sabrina Zouein - Durham University | July 15, 2017
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.
Once in a lifetime experience
Submitted by Sophia - University of Southern California | July 11, 2017
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.
Life changing experience
Submitted by Archie Burkinshaw - University of Bristol | June 28, 2017
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!
Submitted by Crystal Moniz - Durham university | June 28, 2017
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
Submitted by Vanessa - University of Southern California | June 26, 2017
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!
Helpful when I booked a Spanish course for my son
Submitted by Laura | March 16, 2017
I found Red tree Studies both helpful and efficient in finding a suitable course for my son to study at for two months in Medallin. I spoke no spanish my self so contact with the university for me was impossible. Their knowledge and advice has ensured that my sons spanish at the university has improved before he starts his politics and spanish degree at Exeter University.
Program: Spanish Courses in Colombia