How do you envision your life while studying abroad? At Colombia Immersion you’ll have a lot of options for how spend your time, and your schedule isn’t planned for you. So, you have some decisions to make.
To make the most of your time at the school, sit down in advance to plan your schedule, reflect on your values, and set realistic goals. A little bit of forethought can go a long way, so here we’ve put together a few questions that you should consider before you arrive in Colombia to study Spanish.
1.What is your goal in the language?
Are you looking to become fluent in Spanish or just learn the basics? There’s no right answer, but you should start thinking about how serious your goals are in order to plan your schedule.
If you are serious about becoming fluent, you’ll want to set aside some study time each day, and choose to spend your free time speaking with locals (see language coaching and the Immersion Challenge listed below).
If you’re wanting to brush up on the basics, or if you’re focus is on learning about the culture and seeing the sights, make time in your schedule for tours, sightseeing, and cultural activities (see field trips and community activities below)
Also, check out this helpful article on study projects to tackle before you arrive.
2. Which extracurricular activities interest you?
Now that you’ve thought a bit about how you want to spend your time, take a look at the specific types of activities that are offered at Colombia Immersion
Language coaching is personalized practice with a native speaker. You’ll chat in Spanish, and have the option to review material you learned in class that day. You can do coaching in the school or outside– go to a coffee shop, a museum, or just take a walk around town.
When can I do it? Coaching is scheduled by the hour, Mondays through Fridays, 9am to 6pm. It costs 35.000 per hour, although 5 hours weekly are included in Full Immersion Program
We do educational field trips about 2x a week to get you out into the field and learn about the history of Medellín. The field trips involve talking to locals, eating local food, and visiting social project that highlights social change. See our full listing of field trips here. Each field trip costs 40.000COP and are included for students in the Full Immersion Program.
Weekly evening activities with other students to highlight the culture of Medellín or see new parts of the city. Examples include Salsa dancing nights, potluck dinners, local concerts, Colombian cooking nights, and a Friday language exchange with neighbors and friends.
When can I do it? Weekdays during the afternoons and evenings. There’s always a welcome night on Monday, and a Language Exchange on Friday, and then at least one other activity on a different night (if not more).
The Immersion Challenge
Many organizations in Medellín have their doors open for folks to participate in weekly activities. We challenge you to join in on activity: whether it’s joining a running group, a drawing group, or an NGO.
You will attend these activities independently. You’ll need to choose the organization to participate in, and make plans to attend. Activities are held most days of the week, at all times of day. Check with the front desk to see the full listings.
3. Which is most important to you: studying, learning about culture, or having fun?
The hardest part of planning your schedule is considering the trade-offs. After class, do you want to spend your afternoon studying, exploring the city, or relaxing for a few hours?
Review the above activities and think about how you’d like to balance your time. Maybe you want to spend your first week out sightseeing, and then buckle down for your second. There is time to do everything- just not at all at once. We’ve put together a few “sample schedules” so you can get a general idea about what your schedule may look like.
Pace yourself: go slow and steady and you’ll get to see Medellín and also study plenty.
4. Do you prefer to spend time with locals or meet other travelers?
Another question to help yourself choose your schedule is deciding whether to spend your time with locals or doing school-run activities.
Students attend Community activities, and we always invite our amigos de la escuela, local Colombian friends that often want to join in. With the Immersion Challenge, however, you’ll be surrounded by locals, out in the community. You can expect a challenging, all-Spanish environment.
5. How do you want to spend your weekends?
This is another big one: do you want to go on weekend trips while you’re in Medellín? Or, do you prefer to stay in town?
If you’re staying in the city, Check out a some of the best sights to see in Medellín. Want to leave for the day? Here’s a list of day trips. Or, if you fancy a weekend-long escape, gather some friends from the school and organize a weekend trip to one of these destinations.
Don’t forget to check in with your student coordinator or comment below with more questions. We’re here to help!
WANT TO KEEP READING? LEARN MORE…
..about Colombia Immersion
… about Medellín
- Top 10 Things to do in Medellín
- Envigado Neighborhood Guide
- Laureles Neighborhood Guide
- Medellín Customs and Culture
- 8 Colombian snacks you need to try