March 18th, 2019

Chiel Tijdink

Every year a lot of Synergy members decide to study abroad. Some of them have returned to Nijmegen the last weeks. I was curious about their adventures and experiences, so I made an appointment to speak with some of them. In the second part of this mini-serie I spoke with Guido Schlechtriem.

Guido is a third year IBA-student and he went to Bogotá (Colombia) last semester. Guido had several reasons to go to Bogotá, but his main reason was that he wanted to learn Spanish. He decided to learn Spanish in Colombia because he heard that Colombian people are very hospitable and kind.  

“University in Colombia is a little bit like high school in The Netherlands.” 

The University is a little bit easier than Guido was used to in the Netherlands: “University in Colombia is a little bit like high school in The Netherlands.” Every college was mandatory, and you were in college with 25 other students and 1 teacher. He also had a lot of homework. Guido went to a private university where he followed 7 courses and he followed Spanish additionally because it was his goal to learn the language.  

Because the university was intensive, Guido didn’t go to parties during the week, but only in the weekend. Instead of having a party, Guido often went to lunch with his international friends. Lunch is a very important thing in the Colombian culture. Even as football: “One day the national football team needed to play a match, all the Colombians were wearing football jerseys the whole day even on their work.”  

Guido studied in Bogotá which is a big massive city, it lies in the middle of Colombia. From Bogotá you can travel to nearly every place in Colombia in 3 hours. Guido made a lot of trips in the weekends. Colombia is the second most bio-divers country in the world: “Colombia has beautiful mountains, beaches, desserts, amazon, cities and even Caribbean islands.” At the end of his study abroad Guido went to a friend in Brazil and made a trip with him in Brazil and Peru.  

“But in general, Colombian people are the kindest people I ever met, they are always helpful.” 

When I asked about big differences between the daily life in Colombia and the daily life in The Netherlands Guido had a fast answer: “The biggest difference is definitely the infrastructure, when you want to hang out with a friend it is normal that you have to travel more than one hour in the same city.” This meant that life is a lot slower in Colombia, after a day of study you often had time left to do only one thing. Hanging out with Colombian people was also very difficult because they are almost always too late. “But in general, Colombian people are the kindest people I ever met, they are always helpful.”  

During his study in Colombia Guido learned a lot, especially on a social level: “I learned to live more in the moment and to enjoy every moment, instead of thinking about your study when you are hanging out with friends.” Colombian people don’t even talk about work when they hang out. 

Guido should recommend studying in Colombia to everyone: “If you like the vibe of people in South-Europe and if you like nature, you definitely should visit Colombia!” I asked Guido about the safety of Colombia and he said: “I heard a lot of bad stories about Colombia before I went to Colombia but afterwards, I can say that I have never experienced robberies or other crazy things.” Guido had also an advice for people who want to study in Colombia: “If you get the chance you need to study in Medellin, it is the best city of Colombia.” 

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