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Kovner
Mar 22, 2003

He LITERALLY grew wings and ascended to heaven where God blessed him with this God-like defense-burning capability.

OK, so I've been planning for a while to go somewhere in Latin America for a month or two to learn Spanish (I can hold basic conversations, and slightly more complicated ones if I can ask "que significa" and "como se dice", so I feel like 2-4 weeks of and immersion program and another 2-6 weeks of just getting around on my own will get me there).

I've been trying to decide where to go, but over the past week Lima has moved into my top spot and I've been looking at schools there and places to live. Lima seems like a cool city, and that is mostly what I want about where I'm going to go: being able to live relatively comfortable, having cool stuff to do around where I live, nice people, and Internet access (I can make money if I have internet access).

This thread, however, has convinced me to consider Colombia: Medellin or Bogota. Most of you guys talking about Colombia say its awesome to backpack through, but how about just living there for a while (The difference being for backpacking its mostly about how many cool things you can do, while just living there and studying is mostly about how comfortable it would be in and around the area I'd live in, and going on excursions would only be a couple times a week)?
-How's living in these cities in general? How good is internet access (I basically NEED relatively fast, reliable internet)?
-How would you compare these 3 cities: Lima, Medellin, Bogota? What are some advantages of each of the cities?
-People say Medellin is relatively safe now, but how safe is that? Is Bogota far and away safer? (I'm not supported by my parents anymore, but I wouldn't want them worrying about me)

Thanks

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Kovner
Mar 22, 2003

He LITERALLY grew wings and ascended to heaven where God blessed him with this God-like defense-burning capability.

Thanks Dusting. Here are some follow up questions:

-What about Cartagena? Seems like a nice town with a lot of history, plus a beach. One of the language school has a program to learn Spanish and windsurfing (or kitesurfing during their summer) which intrigues me a bit.

-What exactly do you find interesting about Bogotá?

-You said that Medellin is close to a lot of other things to do. Like what?

-How can I convince my mom that Colombia is safe? My parents don't support me anymore, so they'd never tell me that I 'can't' do something, but she's said in the past that Colombia is too dangerous and I'd feel guilty if I was the cause of her losing sleep.

-Edit: one more question: What's the visa situation like in Colombia. Can I easily get a 3month visitor's visa? Is that sufficient if I'm going to be studying Spanish (ie - do I not need a student visa)?

Kovner fucked around with this message at Apr 3, 2009 around 18:52

Kovner
Mar 22, 2003

He LITERALLY grew wings and ascended to heaven where God blessed him with this God-like defense-burning capability.

I don't suppose any of you colombia-goers have ever taken an immersion Spanish program there.
The only one that seems decent in Medellin in nuevalengua (nuevalengua.com), and it doesn't seem as good as a school I found in Lima. Makes sense that the language school wouldn't be great in Colombia considering not many English speakers visited there in years past.
Medellin appeals to me more than Lima, but the primary reason I'm planning on going is to learn Spanish, so I want to go to a good enough school.

Kovner
Mar 22, 2003

He LITERALLY grew wings and ascended to heaven where God blessed him with this God-like defense-burning capability.

DustingDuvet posted:

I think your best option is booking a flight and asking around for a good Spanish program once you get to where you want to learn.

I'm a bit afraid of handling official business in Spanish, so I'd prefer to have a Spanish school lined up and an apartment booked ahead of time. That also allows me to make sure I can get an apartment near the school.

Speaking of which, any advice for finding a short term, furnished apartment in Medellin? nuevalengua said they can set me up with an apartment for 350USD/wk. I don't mind paying that, but is that too high? If I look for an apt by myself, how important do you think it is to find one within walking distance to the school? Or should I just try to find one within walking distance of the metro?

Kovner
Mar 22, 2003

He LITERALLY grew wings and ascended to heaven where God blessed him with this God-like defense-burning capability.

Planning a couple months in Colombia (Medellin for a month and then stay there for the 2nd month or visit somewhere else).

Even though my mom doesn't tell me what to do, she's trying her best to prove to me that its unsafe to go, even though that's only based on her perceptions from the news instead of researching actual travel to the big cities.
I've continually reassured her that all the research I've done suggests I'll be safe.

She just sent me this link though http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_941.html , a US state dept travel warning against going to Colombia. It basically says what I already know which is that you shouldn't travel to small towns in FARC controlled areas, but also says that "it can be" unsafe in the big cities. What do you guys think of this, and do you have any experience dealing with worried family members?

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