When a country like Colombia is mentioned, people tend to think only of their internal problems. That is why in this text I would like to introduce you to the other side of the country and let its beauty speak for itself. In addition, I will comment on the tools that the university offers us to carry out an exchange semester in Colombia. I assure you that it will be an unforgettable experience.
Colombia is a large country, being three times the size of Germany. It is located in South America and limits to the north with Panama and the Caribbean Sea, to the south with Brazil and Peru, to the east with Venezuela and to the west with Ecuador and the Pacific Ocean. It has a population of close to 50 million inhabitants and its official language is Spanish, a language established during the Spanish colonization of America.
Fauna and Flora
For nature lovers Colombia is the perfect destination. Finding everything from arid deserts in La Guajira to rainy tropical forests in Choco. Thanks to this variety of climates Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, being home to such striking animals as the Pink Dolphin, the Sloth and the Puma. Likewise, southern Colombia is part of the Amazon region, better known as the lung of the world through which the second longest river in the world, the Amazon, crosses.
For those who want to be the soul of the parties, Cali is the city for you. As it is the preferred destination for foreigners to learn to dance salsa. Likewise, if you want to enjoy a world-class event you can choose between the Barranquilla festival, the Cali fair and many other celebrations that give life to this joyful country, because not for nothing is Colombia considered the happiest country in the world.
Despite the variety of gastronomy in Colombia, there is something that each of its dishes has in common and that is the delicious Colombian seasoning. This is why over the years the number of tourists attracted to our cuisine is increasing, in which recipes such as "Arepa de Huevo", "Bandeja Paisa" and our famous coffee stand out. Therefore, if you want to discover the pleasant flavors that those strange names hide do not hesitate to visit Colombia.
If what you have read has caught your attention and you would like to do an exchange semester in Colombia, there are three universities where you could do it. The Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, the Universidad de los Andes and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL). The exchange offer is for Undergraduate and Master's students in all the areas offered, except for the Pontifical Javeriana University, where it is only possible for the areas of Architecture and Engineering.
Considering since 2015, only ten people from the University of Stuttgart have made the exchange in one of these three universities. By understanding that barriers such as language play an important role during decision-making, by requiring a B1 level of Spanish at the time of application.
In my case, I did my undergraduate studies at the Universidad de los Andes, specifically in civil engineering. Likewise, at the moment I am studying the third semester of the WAREM - Water Resources Engineering and Management master's degree at the University of Stuttgart. Based on these two experiences, I will highlight the most notable differences between the two academic systems:
- Assessment method: Although there are exceptions, in general terms the courses that I took in Colombia had three exams, each one representing 33.3% of the final grade, which were taken in the second, fourth and sixth months of the semester. On the contrary, my experience in Germany has been different, where the grade of the courses I have carried is based solely on a final project or an exam taken at the end of the semester.
- Semester times: In this parameter, universities in Colombia tend to vary, but generally the first semester takes place from January to June and the second semester from August to December. On the other hand, in Germany, the summer semester runs from April to September and the winter semester from October to March. It is important to clarify that, in Colombia, since there are no seasons, the semesters are associated with the first and second half of the year.
It is advisable that people interested in doing a semester abroad register as a first step to one of the group consultancies offered by the international office. This advice will provide you with all the information related to planning and preparation, language requirements, application deadlines, and financing associated with these types of applications. Likewise, as a help material the international office has made a detailed schedule in which all the activities necessary to carry out a correct application process are presented. Additionally, for any questions related to this process, you can communicate directly with the International Office of the University of Stuttgart.
I invite people who have been attracted to the treasures of my country to take the opportunity to discover it. Being a nation that, despite its famous problems, has a natural and cultural diversity that will take your breath away. So the real question is, what are they waiting to go? The only risk is that they do not want to leave.
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