Intern Insight : Himanshu's Internship Experience in Colombia
Gente Colombiana: A foreigner's perspective It was a regular cloudy Sunday morning in Bogota. I woke up, hungover, and craving a heavy Colombian breakfast that would calm the storm in my body caused by the uncountable shots of Aguardiente from last night’s party. I posted on the MULTINATIONAL FAMILY i.e. the “Interns in Colombia” group on WhatsApp. “Guys, anyone up for a nice breakfast?” My cell phone buzzed instantly with Kimika and Jorge messaging “I’M IN”, and within minutes, we decided to quench our distressed souls at the, “Pastelaria San Fermin”, which has featured multiple times in “7 Panaderias you must try in Bogota”.
Located in the central district, the café is an exclusive ‘All Colombian Café’ in front of the grand Basilica Menor. The café boasts an elite colonial architecture and cultured servers who take immense pride in their job and place of work. We placed our order, and within minutes there arrived the meal that would kick off the day in the most amazing fashion. Tamales, Buñuelos, and the coffee made from the smoothest blend of Arabica beans in the world. Yes, you guessed it right, Colombian coffee.
As we indulged in this delicious meal, Jorge interrupted us in his usual complaining tone, “Tamales in Mexico are much better bro, trust me!!”. As my face had already expressed a sigh towards his statement, Kimika immediately replied, “Dude, Please!!! Did this guy start his Mexico-Colombia comparisons again??!!” and we all burst out laughing.
It was quite some time that we were laughing, joking and chit-chatting over coffee when, an adorable little boy around 7-8 years old approached our table. The three of us were pretty confused as we introduced ourselves to this endearing little man, to which he replied, “Nice to meet you” while he shook our hands timidly; he looked at the table on the other side. There was a middle-aged Colombian couple waving at us, who we assumed to be the child’s parents. They approached our table and greeted us. The mother of the child looked at him and said in a supporting tone, “Habla con ellos en ingles Juanca”. We immediately realized what was happening, the kid’s parents heard a bunch of foreigners across the table and wanted to test their child’s ability in English. We started talking with the child’s parents, David and Angela Rodriguez. David was an established businessman in Bogota while Angela was a Spanish teacher at the National University of Colombia.
We found this family to be genuine and courteous who were curious to know the perspective of foreigners towards their beloved country. We combined our tables and talked for hours, they were just too keen on knowing us and about our respective countries. Little Juanca was now showing off his English skills much more comfortably. Later, Angela proposed, “We all should meet more often, this way Juanca can practise his English and I can help you guys touch up your Spanish.”
Over the next few weeks, we met the Rodriguez family over various occasions, in parks, over coffee and were even invited over for a dinner at their place. A month later, I went on a day trip to Zipaquira (a small town near Bogota) with them. Over time I developed a really special bond with this family, as if they had known me for years. Even though, my stay in Colombia ended shortly, I received wishes from the Rodriguez family on my birthday and still maintain contact with them. Juanca messages me with the most puzzling doubts in English. Apart from this friendship, my Spanish improved dramatically. Just like the Rodriguez family, I made multiple connections across Colombia during my stay. I found the Colombian people to be happy and accommodating, who politely pointed out my errors in Spanish and always motivated my learning abilities. The flora and fauna, the monuments and the beaches of Colombia attract so many tourists every year but the intangible souvenirs which they take back home are the memories, with one of the kindest and most hospitable people in the world.
I don’t have plans on returning Colombia anytime soon, but if I do, it would be definitely for its beautiful people with whom, I felt welcomed and I always felt home.
After all as they say in Colombia; 'Colombia, el riesgo es que te quieras quedar' or 'Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay'. If you would like to know more about Colombia or what it's like to do an international internship in Colombia.
Please contact a member of our team.
This blog post was published by Intern Colombia on September 1 2019 and written by our Intern Colombia Alumna - Himanshu. This post has only been edited for grammatical purposes.