Global Prep — 2020
Jul 12-15, 2020 → Jul 31 - Aug 3, 2020
Colombia’s diverse, vibrant lifestyle is influenced by its indigenous, African, and European heritage. On this two week Global Prep program, you and your group will explore the country’s dynamic culture, starting with the city of Popayan, which offers ornate churches, colorful markets, and fascinating archeological sites. You’ll also have the chance to venture into Colombia’s lush natural landscape and take part in activities like horseback riding and hiking. 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.
Your journey will begin in Miami, where you’ll meet up with the rest of your group and travel together with your Group Leader to Colombia. When you arrive at the Cali airport you’ll be welcomed by AFS staff or volunteers. Before long you’ll head to Popayan, your home for the next two weeks. This small city is known for the chalk-white color of its buildings (giving it the nickname “La Ciudad Blanca” or “The White City”). In Popayan you’ll attend a welcome orientation, where you’ll learn some essential Colombian phrases and customs to help you navigate your adventures abroad.
After you settle in, you’ll take a tour of Popayan, exploring twisty, windy streets and visiting the amazing churches and museums that make the city unique. One of the highlights is sure to be El Morro del Tulcán, a Pre-Colombian pyramid built by the indigenous people of the area. Next you’ll head to the nearby town of Silvia to learn about the indigenous Guambiano people (who still live in the town today) and visit a local market. For one of many hands-on cultural experiences, you and your group will visit Santa Julia to learn how traditional foods like arepas and tortillas are made.
During your two week program, you’ll get an inside look at Colombian culture by living with a local host family. This is a great chance to learn about life in Latin America and maybe even practice some Spanish phrases! Together, you and your host family can visit nearby sites or go shopping for local crafts to bring home to your friends. Whether you eat at home with your host family or go out to local restaurants with your group, you’ll get to enjoy some delicious local foods like ajiato (chicken and potato soup) and tostones (fried plantain slices).
Round out your cultural experience with fun activities like dance lessons, nature walks, and city bike tours. To unwind, you’ll have the chance to go horseback riding and play paintball. You and your group will also spend a few days at the Puracé national park, where you can visit natural wonders like hot springs and towering volcanos. You might even spot a condor (a gigantic bird native to the Andes Mountains) soaring overhead! When you get back to the city, you’ll have some time to see more of the highlights of Popayan, like Parque Caldas. This central plaza is a good place to relax while munching on a light snack and having a long chat with your friends.
This Global Prep experience is led by in-country experts and volunteers, in addition to an AFS-USA staff group leader who will chaperone your group to and from your host country.
"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 feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.