A country known for its vibrant culture, rich history and world-class coffee, Colombia attracts the attention of many individuals. While some might come for a short vacation, there are those who choose to stay a little longer and get to know Colombia as a place to study.
At the tertiary level, interested individuals are able to apply for undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs. Requirements (such as educational attainment and professional experience) and duration of each program vary, but normally, universities require completion of specific standardized tests or their own entrance examination.
With its bustling cities, lush rainforests and world-class beaches, there will always be reasons to come to Colombia. Students will be able to enjoy and experience nature, nightlife and culture when they take their studies in this vibrant country. Those who would like to explore South America will find it a great starting point from which to visit other countries. That is, if they are not too busy exploring what Colombia has to offer.
In the QS University Rankings for Latin America in 2015, 43 of Colombia’s universities made it to the top 300. These universities offer a wide range of courses and programs that cater to the professional goals of their students. Unlike a few other study abroad destinations, Colombia’s education system uses continuous assessment, meaning students are graded throughout an entire semester based on work and participation other than that in a final examination.
Students interested in studying abroad that are on a tight budget should definitely consider studying in Colombia, where fees are generally more inexpensive compared to traditional top destinations like the US, Australia or Canada. A semester in Colombia can cost anywhere from 970 USD to 5,000 USD in tuition fees, depending on various factors, such as the type of university or institution (public or private) and specialization of the program.
Cost of living is also considered generally lower than that in top destinations, and students can expect to spend around $500 to $1000 a month on rent, utilities, food and entertainment, depending on whether they are set on living comfortably or are determined to survive on the bare minimum.
Individuals who are required to obtain a visa to enter Colombia country may obtain a temporary visa before applying for their long term visa. Those who may enter the country without a visa can apply for the student visa whilst in the country.
Visa applicants must be enrolled in a minimum of 10 hours of classes per week. After enrolling with the school, applicants must complete the relevant visa forms and submit supporting documents, including a notarized registration form. These should be then taken to the Ministry of Immigration or, if using one, an agency. Upon receipt of the study visa, students must then head to the Department of Security to obtain an official card.
The official language of the country is Spanish. Although English is spoken in tourist-heavy areas, most educational programs are delivered in Spanish. Students interested in taking a full study program, but are not confident in their language proficiency, may take language lessons before their program commences, depending on the requirements and schedule of their chosen course. Colombia is often said to be an ideal destination for anyone wishing to perfect their Spanish, as it is spoken widely. One thing to note is that the country does have many local dialects.
As the country’s capital, Bogota is an economically strong city, which is home to a bustling business community. It was once known for its troubled reputation, but today it is home to a several educational institutions, such as Universidad de Los Andes Colombia, Universidedad Nacional de Colombia, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Universidad de la Sabana. It has turned the spotlight on culture, history and art with its museums, galleries, monuments and parks. A busy city, it offers many activities and cultural pastimes to it’s residents and visitors.
Much smaller but not any less pleasant, Medellin is another great choice of a city in which to study. The vibe in Colombia’s second largest city is generally more relaxed, and students are able to appreciate the surrounding natural beauty of the Aburrá Valley. Construction in the city is constant, and in recent years, it has proven to be a hub for development, as well as education, with its numerous libraries and institutions, such as Universidad de Antioquia.
Santiago de Cali or “Cali”, as it is popularly referred to, is a city known for its love of sports and Salsa. So much so that it known as the country’s sports capital. It also hosts its own Summer Salsa Festival and boasts countless clubs and hotspots dedicated to the genre. Like the previously mentioned cities, Cali is a cultural hub where students will find many activities to partake whilst they study at one of the several universities and campuses in the area, which include University of Valle, Universidad Icesi and Pontifical Xavierian University.
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