Barranquilla

Called to Colombia

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Brittany Mettrick is a student at the College of St. Rose and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Barranquilla, Colombia.

For years, I’ve known of my desire to study abroad. Naturally, as someone who loves the Spanish language, I’ve always considered my options in Latin America. Of course there is Spain, but I unmistakably felt summoned to the South.

During the summer leading up to my sophomore year of college, I began to seriously investigate my options abroad. Each of ISA’s Latin America programs piqued my interest, but the one that spoke to me the most was Colombia. I was drawn in by this stunning place full of extraordinary experiences to explore.

Growing up, I had always known a bit about Colombia’s natural beauty and culture, but never in any great depth. Being intrigued by Colombia and eager for more knowledge about it, I chose to research the country for my second semester Spanish project. I am convinced that this virtual exploration of Colombia is what truly sparked my desire to study abroad here.

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When doing my research project, I fell in love with Tayrona. I was so glad we came here for an excursion!

Such investigation, as well as discussions with professors and Colombian-American peers, made me even more conscious of the beauty of Colombia. My eyes became open to the geographic richness of the country, adorned with mountains, jungles, deserts, and beaches. My spirit became awakened to the Colombian culture, with its unique elements of language, food, music, and dance.

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One of our ISA excursions was to La Guajira, where we had the chance to enjoy the striking desert beaches.

 

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The other ISA students and I got to enjoy some Caribbean Cuisine at a popular spot in town known as “Palenque.”

The appeal of the Caribbean coast, home to ISA’s Barranquilla, Colombia program, seemed too alluring to pass up. With beautiful destinations such as Cartagena, Tayrona National Park, and the world’s highest coastal mountain range, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, I knew that a piece of paradise would always be close by. The laid back attitude of the coastal people, known as costeños, also sat well with me. It seemed like a demeanor I could gladly embrace.

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Nestled in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Minca was one of my favorite excursion destinations. I loved the endless amounts of green and cool temperatures.

 

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Our first excursion was to the beautiful city of Cartagena. Seeing streets like this one is very common.

Colombia’s emphasis on music and dance was another enticing element. Music and dance are integral parts of how Colombians celebrate and enjoy life, and I wanted to experience these unique aspects. I hoped to take part in music and dance that I already knew and loved, such as Salsa, but also to become acquainted with styles unique to Colombia, such as Vallenato and Champeta. Of course, knowing that Colombia is home to outstanding artists such as Shakira, Juanes, and Carlos Vives made the option to study here all the more inviting.

With each country I visit, I aim to be as constructive as I can be towards the image of Americans abroad. In Colombia, a country where Americans have only recently started to frequent, I feel especially called to be a positive representation of my country, helping to foster good sentiments of the U.S. within Colombia. All in all, a bit of unofficial diplomacy.

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During our hike down to Arrecifes, some of the other ISA students and I stopped to take in this gorgeous spot.

With all of these reasons, hopes, and desires in mind, I made the clear choice to study abroad in Colombia. I chose to discover the beauty of this country and its people in a more intimate way. In this era of growth and beckoning prosperity for the nation, what better time to choose Colombia?

The world awaits…discover it.

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