Published on April 2, 2015
From the towering Andes mountains, the loud and lush Amazon rainforest to sandy, warm beaches – Colombia has a diverse array of natural treasures that attract tourists from all over the world. Colombia’s scenic beauty make the country prime for an international internship in hospitality and tourism. The friendly people and warm climate just add to the list of reasons why Colombia is an ideal spot for both a vacation and an internship in hospitality and tourism.
Hospitality and tourism internships in Colombia offer interns a wide variety of professional opportunities in the industry. Former interns have been placed at 4- and 5-star hotels, event planning organizations and in roles publicizing and marketing some of the biggest events in Latin America. Some previous internships have been with Plaza Mayor, the Medellín tourism undersecretary, FGA Fondo de Garantías and Hotel Poblado Alejandría.
Living in Medellín
A hospitality and tourism intern in Colombia will be pleased to be based in the safe, innovative city Medellín. All internships are set in the laid-back city that boasts a spring-like climate year-round. Hospitality and tourism internships in Colombia include housing in the upscale and highly secure El Poblado district. Interns have the choice of either living with a Colombian family or rooming in a shared apartment with other program participants or local Colombians.
Living in Medellín, interns can take advantage of the clear, well-enunciated Spanish spoken in Colombia. For hospitality and tourism internships in Colombia, interns are required to speak some Spanish. The Intern Group program also provides optional Spanish language classes for all levels at Universidad EAFIT, located near accommodations in El Poblado. With some 405 million speakers globally, Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the world. Learning the language will undoubtedly advance a young professional's career prospects in hospitality and tourism.
A country (and city) on the rise
Colombia’s tourism industry has played an increasingly important role in the local economy, especially as security threats have diminished. Once a country characterized by violence, Colombia has cleaned up its act significantly. The country has seen poverty rates decline as the middle class expands and the economy grows.
Medellín is the second-largest city in Colombia and accounts for 11% of the national economy. Once one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Medellín has gone under a rapid and dramatic transformation into a place now characterized by innovation, strong public services and safety. Homicide rates have even dipped lower than those of Washington, D.C. and New Orleans.
Thanks to its modern and well-planned public transportation systems, social innovation, infrastructure and technological investments, Medellín was even awarded the honor of 2013's “innovative city of the year” by the Urban Land Institute in partnership with Citi and the Wall Street Journal. The city has also been called the best Latin American city to live in, tied with Santiago, Chile, according to rankings by the consultancy Indra.
Surrounded by seven hills, Medellín is situated within the Aburrá Valley among the Andes mountains. Rather than calling themselves Medellínenses, locals often refer to themselves as Antioqueños after the province Antioquia or paisas.
During a hospitality and tourism internship in Colombia, interns will begin to understand the importance of the paisa culture. The term paisas comes from paisano, or “fellow countryman” and implies a cultural and regional identity encompassing Colombians in the states of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío and a few towns of Tolima and Valle del Cauca. Paisas speak, dress and live in a distinct way from other Colombians. One example of paisa culture within Medellín’s booming metropolis is the prevalence of buying basic products from small neighborhood stores, rather than purchasing in major supermarkets.
No matter when their hospitality and tourism internship in Colombia begins, interns can rest assured the weather will be fantastic. Nicknamed the city of eternal springs, Medellín’s temperature rests between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. There’s no excuse for a hospitality and tourism intern abroad not to explore the city's numerous parks and plazas and eat their meals outside “al fresco”.
Medellín also hosts a famous flower festival called Feria de flores, which draws in tourists from all over the world. In August, rural farmers come into the city from Antioquia to present intricate flower designs. The festival activities include an antique car parade, a horse parade, and a flower float parade featuring dancers, singers and performers.
Hospitality and tourism internships in Colombia offer budding professionals both a multicultural adventure and real-world work experience. There's no better place to learn about tourism than in beautiful Colombia, where the only risk is wanting to stay. It's the kind of experience that brings about life-long memories while also looking great on a resume.
Apply now and boost your career!
Photo 1. based on Desfile de Silleteros by Guía de Viajes Oficial de Medellín, CC-by-2.0 Photo 2. based on MEDELLIN by Iván Erre Jota, CC-by-2.0 Photo 3. based on Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay by Luz Adriana Villa, CC-by-2.0