10 tips you should know before living in Colombia
This article is written by Whee Institute ™ Team, due to the little information about Colombia available in other languages different to Spanish, Intended to help foreigners that are planning to start living in Colombia and mainly, those that want to learn Spanish in Colombia.
- Don’t be afraid: Colombia has lots of things to discover, you can find amazing places where you can’t even imagine. There is nice people to meet everywhere, there are lots of foods to taste, there are plenty of different dances, so don’t be shy and DANCE.
One of the greatest thing about this country is that in every city and region there is a different culture, accent, dances, food, architecture, to name a few, That’s why, traveling around Colombia is like traveling to many different countries.
- Learn some Spanish: Sadly, Colombia is not a friendly place for people who don’t speak Spanish, this is because people don’t use to know other languages.
It doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a good Spanish level you cannot live in Colombia, it means that probably it will be harder. But don’t worry, basic Spanish is easy, an “HOLA”(Hello), “Gracias” (thanks) and a Big Smile will help you a lot. If you want to be more independent and discover more things about Colombia, we recommend you to Study Spanish. Don’t be afraid about speaking spanish, people love foreigner trying to learn spanish, and most of colombiand are willing to help you in the process. We have a free Spanish course for travelers, check it out!
- Make friends: Colombia is full of nice people willing to help, to teach you and learn from you. Everybody knows that in every place in the world you can find good and bad people, so Make friends with nice people, this can help you a lot, not just to make your life easier but also improving how fast you learn Spanish, the culture and meeting new places.
- Find a safe place to stay: This is an advice that applies no just when you want to travel to Colombia but to any country you want to go. Find a safe place to stay, and we don’t mean that safe places are just the expensive places, but it is something you have to care about before you decide to move to a specific neighborhood in Colombian cities. Don’t worry it is not hard, in fact, most places are safe.
- Live cheap and have fun: Colombia is a really cheap place to live in, and you can make it as cheap as you need. Try to see what Colombians do when they want to buy something (bargain). I met a girl that with the sentence “¿Cuánto menos?” (Not correct in Spanish) used to get a better price for everything than all the Colombians. Learn how to take public transportation because you can expend a considerable amount of money just taking taxis. If you don’t care about money, just have fun!
- Learn how to help: when you come to Colombia you will probably find poor people and homeless in the streets, and yes, they need help, but learn how to help is important, you have to learn who you can approach and who you can’t approach, it is related to your safety. This is not a beauty contest, and probably you will do more if you work for an NGO than giving away money in the streets. There are many ways to help people, just try to find more information about it.
- Play safe: This sounds funny, but it’s important. Colombia is a really safe place if you take precautions. Avoid trying to show in the streets how much money you have, Avoid showing the streets the new technologic device you bought, and try not to carry expensive clothes and cameras if you are going to a poor neighborhood to make volunteering work. Those are simple tips that will make this country a really safe place for you and your family.
- Get a Colombian ID: Getting your “Cédula de Extranjería” will allow you to apply for a bank account, health insurance and will make your life easier in the country.
- Try not to compare Colombia to your country: Colombia is a great place, but you have to give it the opportunity to show you. If you concentrate on the bad things of any place you are visiting you are not going to have a good time; try to see the many good things this country has, and then you will have a wonderful time here.
- Bring things you cannot live without: Now Colombia is globalized country, or at least we are going there, but as we are still not a super globalized country, there will be quite lot things you cannot find here. So, if there a specific food, clothes, etc. you cannot live without, try to search on internet if you can find them in Colombia, otherwise learn how to make them or bring them here.
- Don’t take drugs: Colombia is famous for the drugs are produced here, but those drugs finance the war in our country. Every time you buy drugs from Colombia you are financing Colombians death and forced displacement. Find more information on internet!
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