Published on March 25, 2015
Enjoy spring temperatures year-round while developing professional skills with an IT internship in Colombia. In Medellín, IT interns learn exactly why the city is referred to as South America’s Silicon Valley. Years past being Pablo Escobar’s stomping grounds, the renovated, innovative city is a safe, secure tech hub tucked in a valley of one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies.
Working at a company alongside established professionals in Medellín will prepare an IT intern in Colombia for their career in a way the classroom can’t. Learning how to adapt to a foreign culture while taking on professional challenges gives interns that crucial real-world, multicultural experience that prepares them for the professional world. And where better to learn about IT work than in Colombia’s expanding tech industry, which grew 177% between 2007 and 2012.
Roles and housing
There are a wide variety of IT internship roles in Colombia. Former IT interns have worked in sectors like website development, systems, telecommunications and app development. Internship roles in the past have been at various established firms like Ruta N, Pratech Group and Enlace Operativo. Some firms in the IT proram have even gone on to hire Intern Group alumni for freelance work after their internship.
Interns in the engineering internship program in Medellín live in the secure, upscale neighborhood, El Poblado. The area is filled with malls, squares and several reputable universities. Many consider El Poblado as the city’s industrial and commercial center.
A city transformed
Once plagued by violence, Medellín has gone under a rapid and dramatic transformation into an innovative, safe city. Thanks to its modern and well-planned public transportation systems, social innovation, infrastructure and technological investments, the city has earned an international recognition. Citi, the Wall Street Journal and the Urban Land Institute ranked Medellín as the “innovative city of the year” in 2013. Today, some 11% of the national economy is produced within Medellín. The city has been called the best Latin American city to live in, tied with Santiago, Chile, according to rankings by consultancy Indra. Instead of violence, Medellín is now characterized by strong public services, security and sustainable development.
Colombia as a whole has gone through several positive changes, with a growing middle class, lowering poverty rate and continued economic expansion, despite the falling oil prices. The country was placed as the 34 in the World Bank’s “doing business” index in 2014, up from 53 in 2013. Mark Zuckbererg even hosted Facebook’s first overseas townhall meeting in Colombia.
No matter what time of year you decide to intern in Medellín, rest assured that the weather will be fantastic. Nicknamed the city of eternal springs, Medellín’s temperature rests between 60 and 90 degrees Farenheit year-round. There’s no excuse for an intern abroad not to explore local parks, eat outside “al fresco” and buy fresh local fruits and vegetables. The green city is never too hot or too cold. It’s just right.
Home of the paisa culture
With a population around 3.5 million in the metropolitan area, Medellín is Colombia’s second-largest city. Surrounded by seven hills, Medellín is located in the Aburrá Valley among the Andes mountains. Rather than "Medellínenses", locals are often called either Antioqueños after their home province Antioquia or paisas.
The word paisas comes from the term paisano, which means “fellow countryman” and implies a cultural and regional identity encompassing Colombians in the states of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio 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.
Exploring the city and beyond
IT interns in Colombia are encouraged to venture outside of Medellín to take advantage of the ideal climate and diverse wildlife. The nearby town Guatapé has a quaint, small-town culture, very distinct from bustling Medellín. The Río Claro reserve is also a short trip away and an excellent place to spend the weekend communing with nature. The reserve’s crystal clear river and manifold bird life attracts many local and international visitors.
There's also plenty of ways for interns to enjoy Medellin’s beautiful weather without needing to leave the city. The Explora Park in central Medellín is a zoo, aquarium and botanical gardens that features much of Colombia’s natural life. Meanwhile, the Medellín metrocable is an important element of local public transportation and tourism and is considered the first cable propelled transit system in South America. Line L of the system offers scenic views of the city and transportation to Arví Park, which is both an an ecological nature preserve and archeological site.
Participants in IT internships in Colombia are not required to speak Spanish in their roles. However, those who would like to learn Spanish or practice will have many opportunities in the program. The Intern Group program provides optional Spanish language classes for all levels at Universidad EAFIT in El Poblado, Medellín. Colombians speak a notoriously clear, easy-to-understand Spanish, making the country a formidable place to pick up the language. IT interns will be able to practice their Spanish during their internship in Colombia and maybe even help their coworkers perfect their English. Spanish boasts some 405 million speakers globally. Why not embrace the cultural exchange and pick up the second most commonly spoken language in the world?
Be part of South America’s Silicon Valley with an IT internship in Colombia. The forever spring Medellín will provide a warm, vibrant setting for interns looking for a South American adventure while also preparing for their careers in IT.
Apply now and boost your career!
Photo 1. based on MEDELLÍN – 2014 by Iván Erre Jota, CC-BY-2.0
Photo 2. based on Orquideas, pajaros y flores . Medellin – 2009 by Luz Adriana Villa, CC-BY-20
Photo 3. based on Monumento a Bachué por Luís Horacio Betancur, Medellín (Colombia). by Iván Erre Jota, CC-BY-2.0