I just received word yesterday that I’ve been accepted to a volunteer teaching program in Colombia beginning in August. It will be a very different experience for me because I’ll be teaching English to children and assisting their teachers in developing an English curriculum – much different than teaching business English to professionals.
I’m really excited to have the chance to do something like this! It will be a nice change from teaching business professionals and adults. It will also give me a chance to live in and learn the culture of yet another country. I also hope to dispel the myths among my friends in the US that Colombia is a wild, lawless country full of drugs.
I’ll be on the project for nine months with a summer break in December and January. I don’t know exactly where I will be, but I know it will be in coffee country in the Risaralda Department. The program will put me up with a host family that will provide me with meals. This will also give me an opportunity to improve my Spanish.
Risaralda’s capital is Pereira, and is located four to five hours from the cities of Medellín and Cali. Medellín has shaken off it’s label as a drug capital to become a modern and innovative city open for tourism. Cali is the party and salsa capital of Colombia, and supposedly has the most beautiful women in the county. Other than these areas, I probably won’t be doing much traveling between August and the end of November. Once I get into December, I will have plenty of free time to see more of the country.
Before going to Colombia, I decided to spend the month of July in Peru, basing myself in Cusco for three weeks and having a few days in Lima on my way out. I’ve been to Peru before, in 2009, and my original plan for South America was to live in Cusco until opportunities in Santiago came along. I’m also excited to see my friend Katy once again, a native of Cusco.