by Alexis Cummings
Studying abroad in Chia, Colombia has been a blessing of a lifetime. Prior to Colombia, I studied three semesters of Spanish at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I am currently enrolled in a Spanish course that consists of three hours per day five days a week at Universidad de la Sabana, where I study grammar and communication. I also take Latin dance lessons and go on weekly cultural outings. This way, I am able to learn more about important cultural dances and touristic sites around the capital of Colombia, Bogotá. This opportunity has been a great experience so far because I have made friends from all over the world and each day I work to improve my Spanish.
While abroad I have many activities planned. Because dance is such an important part of this culture, I am trying to learn traditional dances like salsa and bachata. I also plan to travel to other cities within Colombia. I would like to travel to Medellin, Santa Marta, and Cartagena because these are some of the most important cities within the country. Because I live close to the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, I also plan to visit important monuments and museums within the city. I am looking forward to sharing this beautiful country, my current home, with my friends and family who are coming to visit in April.
Along with studying abroad come things that are sometimes challenging. I currently live with a family who has three sons and one daughter. Although it is an easy challenge, coming from a family with only two children, the house has a lot more energy than I am used to. I also have to be more concerned about my safety because I am living in the suburb of the capital city that has a population of eight million people. With this amount of people in one city also come traffic problems. Although the distance from my house to the capital is not far, it is important for me and my family to plan our timing to and from the city because of busy public transportation, unsuitable roads, and something called “Pico Placa.” Pico Placa is a law within the capital city that only allows certain cars to drive at certain hours of the day. This is supposed to help control the traffic around what we would consider rush hour by rotating odd and even number license plates each day so only half the cars can drive from 3 – 7 pm in the city. For the people of Bogotá, this law is am important part of their lives.
After having been here for one month and two weeks, I have had many wonderful cultural experiences with the people of Colombia. I look forward to learning more about this beautiful language and country I get to call home. After having always dreamed of studying abroad, I am so happy to have this opportunity. I know that this will not be my last time in this country because Colombia will always have a piece of my heart.
Regards from Colombia,