Que Hubo Colombia!

Angela Strader, a WorldTeach volunteer in Colombia, shares her thoughts as she settles in to her first few weeks at her site placement upon completing orientation.

"On January 4, 2010 I arrived in Bogotá, Colombia to begin a two-week orientation with 21 other bright eyed, adventurous WorldTeach volunteers. We took TEFL and Spanish classes together; attended special lectures at the IDB, the Ministry of Education and the US Embassy; and even broke a sweat together! We are quite an athletic bunch –we went running, played soccer, and practiced some yoga in the evenings. One morning almost the entire group went hiking at the crack of dawn to a view of the city from above. A group of people with similar reasons for joining WorldTeach Colombia, we soon became friends and I already miss them dearly!"

"Today is my fifth day in my new home in Manizales, Colombia and I’m adjusting quickly to the city. It’s hard not to what with the gorgeous mountain scenery, temperate climate and delicious cafes and pandelerias. I’m living with a couple in their 60s who have ample space in their beautiful apartment and who have welcomed me whole-heartedly. Out of the 23 WorldTeach volunteers in Colombia this year, two of us are in Manizales, and we are the only volunteers not to be living with fellow volunteers. We have our separate home-stays, and are each enjoying them thoroughly so far. I have my own room complete with tv and Marilyn Monroe poster, my own bathroom, and plenty of space to cook and relax. I couldn’t be happier with how my living situation turned out, and I hope Gladys and Gonzalo feel the same as this is their first live-in tenant!

mountain view from my room after the rain

Since being here Neta and I have been trying to explore the city a bit. We’ve had more orientation at the Centro Colombo Americano and will be going there again all week this coming week. This week we will also have introductions to our schools. Neta and I are working within two different branches of the English program in Manizales. Neta is working more with the Ministry of Education and their perspective city project, Manizales Bilingue. She will be working in one school called the San Jorge which is intended to become fully bilingual with subject classes to be taught eventually in English. I on the other hand am working much more closely with the Centro Colombo and their work to put a greater emphasis on English and communication in three public schools which also fall under a teaching methodology called the Escuela Activa Urbana, in which students engage in a higher level of discussion and critical thinking with less teacher lecture. I will be working in these three schools: Escuela Nacional Auxiliares Enfermerias, La Asunción, and Instituto Latinoamericano (formerly pacheli).

The library at the Centro Colombo Americano

3 things I love about Manizales:
- You are never too cold in a tank top
- Fruits are aplenty and fresh juice is the norm
- Anything can happen in Manizales ( I’ve heard this a lot, and it’s true.)"

a Sunday sunset

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