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Study abroad for high school in Colombia to discover its diverse cultural influences and natural beauty. Colombia has a variety of environments to explore, ranging from the snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to desert zones in La Guajira. Or, you can appreciate colorful and historic architecture in La Candelaria, the charming old heart of Bogotá. By living with a local host family, you’ll truly become a part of Colombian daily life as you share conversations and cultural insights around the dinner table.

Dancing and music are also important elements of Colombian cultures. Colombia has a huge variety of types of music from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s socially important to dance, but don’t worry—there’s no shortage of Colombians willing to teach you!

The Colombian perception of time is quite relaxed; in general, they are not very punctual. “Hora Tipica” – Colombian time – means that the person will arrive 20 or 30 minutes late. This also goes for deadlines. Being on time for a party or social gathering usually means that you’ll have to wait a while for the other guests to start arriving!

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated high school prior to the start of the program
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range
15yrs, 0 months
18yrs, 0 months at start of program
Language Skills Preferred, but not required
COVID-19 Vaccine Required

By going to a local Colombian high school, you’ll be immersed in the Spanish language and Colombian traditions. What you learn at school will sink in at night when you bond with your host family. This is your year to break out of your comfort zone and join in Colombia’s ever-evolving cultures!


Your High School

High schools in Colombia will offer an amazing opportunity for you to make friends, learn Spanish, and exchange cultures. While living in Colombia with native speakers, you will develop the ability to communicate effectively in Spanish. You’ll learn to produce and understand oral and written Spanish language as you gain intercultural and global awareness.

In Colombia, you can expect to wear a school uniform. You will be placed in either a public or private school. Some schools may also be religious. Like your school in the U.S., you can expect to take math, English, history, and geography. In most of our hosting cities, students go to school by school bus. The bus will pick you up between 6-7 am and school is usually from 8 to 3 pm. Schools are more traditional and conservative in Colombia, though in bigger Colombian cities, schools may be more open-minded. Many schools offer extracurriculars, but it can depend on schools and towns.

Global Prep Colombia 2017 – 3

Your Accommodations While Studying Abroad in Colombia

Like anywhere in the world, families come in different shapes and sizes in Colombia. But, here’s what you can expect of you host family and community, in general:

Family life is extremely important in Colombian society (as it is in many Latin American cultures due to the influence of the Catholic religion). For most Colombians, family is the basic element of community and social order. Families are very close, and they stay close. Colombian families can be conservative and protective of their children, no matter how old they are! It is not unusual to find grandparents living at home and many young people continue living with their family throughout their time at university and even beyond, when they are financially independent.


Don’t be surprised to find that you have ten uncles and ten aunts, never mind all the cousins! They will tend to be very friendly; your host family may hope that you’ll spend as much time as possible with them, especially on weekends. Expect to attend plenty of celebrations with your host family, like weddings, birthday parties, and christenings.

Students can be placed with host families in bigger cities like Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Barranquilla, Cucuta and Bucaramanga, or more traditional towns in the south of Colombia.

Available Scholarships

AFS-USA scholarships are made possible by the generosity of numerous donors who all have a deep connection with AFS and value intercultural exchanges as necessary for the promotion of peace and justice in the world. Upon submission, applications will be reviewed and matched with the most applicable scholarship, if available. All scholarships are partial, and scholarship award amounts will be determined based on program length. For additional funding resources, check out our Fundraising page. You can view all available national and local scholarships on our Scholarships page. 

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Columbia? YES. Visa
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) In-person
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Average
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Colombia.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.