GTGA is proud to offer a challenging and rewarding Study Abroad Colombia program in Manizales.
This program includes:
- Homestay with a local family, private room, full room and board
- Spanish language immersion and culture classes
- Audit two university classes per semester (or attend local high school)
- Internship/service work
- Backpacking trips & local excursions
Spanish Language and Culture Classes
Primary goal is to provide some formal language training and guidance to ensure Spanish language development. Total of about 6 hrs/week. Additional language learning can be accommodated.
- Small group language lessons designed to develop fluency
- Non academic in nature, no pressure, learn at your own pace
- 6 hrs/week, half language learning, half culture and excursions
- Typical schedule might include Spanish language and culture class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-12. First 90 minutes (9-10:30) are spent working on language skills, second half of the morning (10:30-12) might be spent in a cafe practicing conversation skills.
University classes (option to attend local high school instead)
Primary goal is to have students meet their peers. Secondary goal is to provide weekly structure and a taste of university life. Total of about 8 hrs/week
- Attend two classes at a local university.
- Get a taste of what university life is all about minus the academic pressure.
- Classes will likely be in Spanish and not for academic credit.
- Students will have a choice in terms of which classes they audit after consulting with GTGA staff.
- Typical schedule might include a morning and afternoon university class on Mondays and Wednesdays, ie: from 11-1 and again from 3-5.
Internship and Service Opportunities
Primary goal is to explore a potential university major, career track, or just to do something productive and different from the normal routine. Secondary goal is to provide weekly structure. Total of about 10 hrs/week.
This is a valuable piece of the program so as to provide students with opportunities for career exploration, service, and gratitude for being in a position to do so. A typical schedule might include internship or service work on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2-5, and again on Fridays from 9-1; generally a few afternoons per week with Friday being a flexible half day.
Possible internship placements include: teach English (all ages), work with children, work in a restaurant, hostel, marketing, local store, art gallery, coffee farm, or for local professional sports team.
Salento-small town in the coffee region, home of iconic “wax palm” trees
- Pereira-university city in the coffee region, 1 hr from Manizales
- Medellin-cosmopolitan city, 4 hrs from Manizales
- Armenia-university city in the coffee region, 1.5 hr from Manizales
- Manizales hot springs (2)
- Ruiz Volcano- right outside Manizales
- Coffee tour
- Antonio’s ranch house just outside Manizales
- Lost City of Colombia- 5-day jungle/mountain trek, Caribbean coast
Host Families / Homestay
Through years of experience in Spain and Latin America we understand what makes for successful homestays. We carefully vet host families, while responding immediately to any concerns, up to and including quickly moving the student to another home in the unlikely event of a poor fit. We adhere by a strict code of conduct for both host families and students/clients. GTGA maintains local law enforcement/political contacts in program site cities.
Homestay is the lynchpin of the gap year experience.
A homestay can provide the sort of personal connection that makes for an unforgettable experience, and there is tremendous value in it. Students will always have someone to practice their Spanish with, and will improve just by listening to it being spoken around the home. It is one thing to visit or live in a foreign city, but quite another to live in a foreign city with a local family. This is the full immersion experience where you see how they cook, how they eat, to hear their views on things, to watch the news together, and even watch a favorite television show. This is the best way to understand the culture of a place.
A homestay can also help you navigate the city and understand and partake in local festivals and customs. There is also a built-in security element to the homestay as there is a family keeping an eye out for you. GTGA requires gap year participants under 21 years old to live with a host family. Gap year participants under 21 may be granted an exemption on a case by case basis.