Published on July 29, 2015
Taking on an internship in Latin America during their Gap Year will allow a young person to earn professional experience in a field that interests them while also living an unforgettable, multicultural adventure. During their stay, interns will develop an appreciation for Latin America’s vibrant culture and natural beauty with trips to Colombia’s beautiful beaches and breathtaking mountains. During their work days, interns will learn about Latin American office culture, taking on important professional roles at their internships in Medellín.
Interning in Latin America is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Gap Year students to earn real-world office experience abroad and boost their resume. Colombia is under rapid development and is rich with opportunities for young professionals interested in gaining unique, valuable work experience. An internship in Medellín, Colombia offers a Gap Year student the chance to develop professionally and personally, living in a foreign culture and learning a second language.
Some of The Intern Group’s best internship opportunities are based in the rapidly developing Colombian city Medellín. Up-and-coming engineers have benefited from roles at internships at Colombia’s top firms. Meanwhile, international business and entrepreneurship interns have the opportunity to learn about Colombia’s emerging markets and growing economy. To see all the industries The Intern Group Latin America program offers click here.
Gap Year student Dominik worked with FIFA during his Hospitality & Events internship in Latin America. “When I saw this I though it was perfect, what 17 year old can say that he’s had work experience with FIFA! Everything about this place has been perfect, I’m really glad I made the decision to come here and I hope to come back in the future,” Dominik said about his experience.
“Come with an open mind, ready to learn as much about the culture and the language as you want to learn about the subject and the internship itself. Really make the most of your experience here because it’s unlike any other,” said Finance intern Tosca about her experience working at a Colombian investment bank.
“It was really fascinating when I got my first response from a client. It made my experience real, the feeling that I’m doing something for the company; I’m adding value to the company. That was phenomenal,” said Brian, one of the Latin America program’s former IT interns.
Living in Medellín
Interns in Colombia live in the safest part of Medellín. Accommodations are located within the upscale and secure El Poblado district. As part of the Intern Group program, interns have the choice of either living with a Colombian family or rooming in a shared apartment with either program participants or local Colombians.
Gap Year students in Latin America will be sure to walk away from their internship with greatly improved Spanish language skills. Colombians have a reputation for speaking clear, well-enunciated Spanish – the easiest to learn in Latin America. Those interested in learning Spanish during their internship may also take optional Spanish language classes at Universidad EAFIT. The school offers classes for all levels of Spanish in the El Poblado district. Spanish is a useful language to speak for any professional, as there are some 405 million speakers globally.
Colombia on the rise
Colombia has gone through quite a few changes in recent years, with an expanding middle class and growing economy. National, departmental and city governments have been working hard at putting poverty and violence behind it. Though certain sectors remain problematic, major cities like Medellín have been transformed into a safe, beautiful city with tons to offer visitors from around around the world.
Medellín is Colombia's second-largest city and boasts modern and well-planned public transportation systems, social innovation, infrastructure and technological investments. In fact, the Urban Land Institute named Medellín “innovative city of the year” in 2013. The consultancy Indra also called Medellín the best Latin American city to live in, tying with Santiago, Chile.
Medellín sits in the Andes' green Aburrá Valley, surrounded by several hills. Locals often identify themselves as from the Medellín department Antioquia, calling themselves Antioqueños or paisas rather than Medellínenses. The term paisas comes from paisano, or “fellow countryman” and implies a cultural and regional identity encompassing Colombians in the departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío and a few towns of Tolima and Valle del Cauca. Paisas speak a bit faster than Colombians from other regions. They also eat the traditional “bandeja paisa” or the paisa platter, which is a popular regional plate. The typical bandeja paisa includes fried egg, sausage, an arepa, avocado, chicharrón (fried pork belly), white rice, powdered meat, plantain and beans.
No one can complain about the weather in Medellín. Year-long the temperature stays between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This beautiful weather is what inspired Medellín's nickname as “the city of eternal springs”. Interns can enjoy these ideal temperatures by visiting the city's local parks or plazas or dining outside “al fresco”.
Along with its agreeable climate, Medellín is famous for a 10-day flower festival called Feria de las Flores, which attracts tourists from across the globe. In early August, rural farmers make their way to the city from the countryside to display their intricate and awe-inspiring flower designs. Festivities also include an antique car parade, a horse parade, and a flower float parade featuring dancers, singers and performers.
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