Colombia is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in South America, and the second-largest in the world after Mexico. (Yes, more than Spain and Argentina!) Over the last 15 years Colombia has moved from an ostensibly “failed state” to something more positive, although Colombians vehemently disagree about how much and at what cost. This program will look at several interconnected topics that are prominent in Colombia’s past and present while travelling through four very different regions of Colombia.
The program starts in the colonial town of Villa de Leyva. It then moves on to Ibague, a mid-sized city where students will spend several days working with students and faculty at Universidad de Ibague. Next, students will experience rural life in Murillo, where you can still ride horses through the streets instead of cars. The program then travels to Bogota, the vibrant capital city which has been the hub of business and power in Colombia for the past century. Finally, the program ends in Cartagena, a center of colonial art and architecture and the number-one tourist destination in the country. Over the course of the program, students will visit museums, farms, traditional markets, schools, a conservatory, a botanical garden, a waterfall, and more.
Students will learn to understand Colombian current concerns as Colombians do with class discussions and field visits tying back to central themes, including:
Economic development: models, winners, and losers
Violence, peacemaking, and democracy
Migration, education, and opportunity
Urban problems and planning
Gender, race, and ethnicity
By the end of the course, students should be able to relate a wide range of current Colombian issues to Colombian history, to broader Latin American, United States, and global contexts, and to social science concepts introduced in the course.
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis.
All students are required to take INST 494H: Contemporary Colombia for 3 credits.
There are two pre-departure required readings for this program and a final paper due after students have returned from abroad, on August 1. As this is a faculty-led summer study abroad program, grades will be posted according to the Summer 2 deadline.
There are no pre-requisites for this program.
This program is open to all Schreyer Scholars in any major, non-Schreyer students with a high GPA and graduate students in the School of International Affairs.
Housing and Meals
Students will stay in shared hotel rooms with private bathrooms and will have access to laundry services. Meals are not included.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully. Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit theFunding Study Abroadsection of the Global Penn State website.
Schreyer Scholars will receive a $500.00 scholarship towards the program fee.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
For more information, please contact Rich Stoller in Schreyer Honors College. You may also schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the GeoBlogs of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
Education Abroad Questionnaire
One academic recommendation
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.