Eight million people live their lives closer to the sky here in Bogotá, Colombia. Located 8000 ft above the sea level, this urban city, surrounded by mountains, manages to grow and adapt to the evolving world and the rising demands of today’s global society. Despite having had a difficult past, Bogotá is a place where joy, craziness, and history meet! By studying abroad in this unique metropolis, you will go beyond borders since Bogotá is Colombia’s epicenter for art, politics, economics, culture, tourism, and more. Are you ready to study abroad in Bogotá and practice tu español, gain world perspective, and discover your identity?
What you need to know to study abroad in Bogotá, Colombia
As soon as you land, you will understand why Bogotá is the perfect place for a study abroad program. Not only does it encourage you to explore and embrace the local lifestyle, it also gives you reasons to wonder and get lost in your thoughts. As you genuinely submerge in this society and start broadening your horizontes, you will understand that, here, opportunities are endless.Consider these options as you study abroad in Bogotá:
Popular subjects to study. Español, claramente, is one of them. But, although language is the basis of every culture, the city has more to offer. As Colombia goes through a compassionate and slow process to find national peace, you might find peacebuilding, politics, and history programs interesting and immersing. They are a great introduction to what the city, and ultimately the country, are today. Surely, the major effects this creates are national; nevertheless, it has a global impact. International relations is strongly encouraged as well! It’ll help you accept and respect the country’s constant changes and development, as well as its relationship with the rest of the world.
Attending universities vs. other program types. Some international students will choose to enroll in local institutions like the National University of Colombia or the University of Los Andes; while direct enrollment has it's benefits (it is usually more cost effective), going through a program provider can also benefit you enormously. It can help you find your community of amigos instantly, while providing you with ongoing support before and during the program. Studying is experience, practical education and passion, so, make sure you find the program that better fits your needs.
Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. In a city as big and charming as Bogotá, there’s never enough time to explore every street, every café, every world-class restaurant. The truth is, no matter where you go, you will always find a beautiful, yet very different, scenario to enjoy. But, as complete as it comes, Bogotá can be very overwhelming as well. It can be a little difficult to adapt to this new lifestyle, and it’s up to each student to find the program that meets their needs when it comes to time and subject of study. Good news are, you can find programs all year long! (Yup, you read right. All year long.). Although summer programs and spring break courses are the most popular, most universities offer very good semester and year-long programs as well.
Life in Bogotá for international students
Impulse your creative side and visit the unique museums, and expositions or learn to appreciate street art, it’s everywhere! Stroll around the city and find the perfect spot for a café or té. Find a karaoke, jazz or salsa club and lose yourself to dance! Find the view you’ve been looking for and enjoy the sunset. Movie night maybe? You can find many theatres offering world-known movies or little cozy places showcasing free-lance individual, amazing local movies. Gelato, chocolate, pies? You can enjoy all of the above in Bogotá. Feeling a little more adventurous and local? Try some empanadas, arepa con queso, or pan de yucas! There’s no particular routine when you think about life in Bogotá. It’s a city wrapped in surprises.
GoAbroad's inside scoop for students in Bogotá, Colombia
Despite the charm and uniqueness of Bogotá, you will face some challenges and have several wide opening experiences, since there’s a lot of inequality and differences from the life you might be used to living.
But, let’s be honest. If you choose to study abroad, you want to (and have to) experience this at some point. And this is where most of the magic and uniqueness of your experience takes place. Be open minded and embrace the experience as it comes (just kidding, shape it the way you want it to be.)! Bogotá is an URBAN and mostly chilly environment.
Please don’t be that one gringo who thinks this is a jungle and arrives wearing shorts and flip-flops. Jeans and casual t-shirts are more than welcome. Although, don’t forget to pack them because you can find hot weather (and rafting) less than two hours away by car.
Bogotá is full of amazing experiences and things to do, but as you submerge yourself in the area you will notice that nearby towns are as special and worth visiting. You can find a salt cathedral in Zipaquirá, where you can also buy the typical ruanas and experience a more rural lifestyle. Visit the colonial town of Villa de Leyva where most of it’s buildings haven’t been modified since the sixteenth century and enjoy a casual hike up to wonderful waterfalls, or a relaxed weekend at an Ayurveda retreat. Possibilities are endless, time to start discovering them!
So, prepare your street smarts, communication skills, and adaptability, and come experience the wonders of Bogotá with your own eyes and soul. You will learn and gain so much perspective, you will be ready for life after you visit Bogotá. Bienvenido!
For more information read our comprehensive guide about studying abroad in Colombia.