Study or volunteer in two locations: Medellin, the "City of Eternal Spring," in the Andes, and the sunny, historic, colonial city of Cartagena on the edge of the turquoise Caribbean. 

Now you can choose an abroad program or virtual classes taught by local professors and virtual service projects. Customized programs are also available.

Colombia forest.jpg

Experience Colombia like a local...not a tourist

As part of your semester, you will spend an exciting 10 days  on the coast of the Caribbean sea in the colorful city of Cartagena. IPSL offers a rich, excursion-based Afro-Caribbean Culture study course. The course is intensive and you learn from experts about the turbulent history of Cartagena's slave trade. The history, people and culture of this region of the country is diverse and fascinating and forms an integral part of the Colombia of today.

​Your time spent in the city studying, volunteering and living with a Colombian family is combined with opportunities to explore the surrounding regions of Colombia and neighboring Latin American countries. Students take their Spanish course with students from a variety of countries and receive their transcript from the IPSL school of record.


The semester and academic year curriculum combines a Spanish Language & Culture course, the IPSL COSA in Colombia - Community Organizing, Social Activism and Service-Learning, a Service Learning Reflections and Practicum course, and elective courses centered on Race and Racism, Development in Post-Conflict Societies, Afro-Caribbean Studies, and more. Along with these exciting and relevant courses that give a true picture of Colombia, there are substantial opportunities for volunteer service in the community.  Service learning placements are organized at various NGOs, schools,  and clinics.

IPSL students in Colombia may also work with program staff on-site to arrange for independent travel to other areas of Colombia. As with all travel, weather and other travel hindrances can affect the exact destinations of excursions. In such cases, IPSL program staff make every effort to find suitable replacement itineraries.

Degree Programs

Undergraduate study
The Program


Language of Instruction: English

Affiliated institution: Centro Catalina, Medellín and Cartagena


Courses and Credits - Semester

Students may take up to 18 credits per semester. Courses are 3 credits each.


Required courses:

  • Spanish Language (beginning, intermediate and advanced)

  • Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA) in Colombia


Elective courses may cover themes of:

  • Development in Post-Conflict Societies

  • Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation

  • Socio-Historical Perspectives on Colombia

  • Global Education and development

  • Afro-Caribbean culture

  • Advocacy Research Independent Study



Undergraduate students will live in homestays with Colombian families in both Medellín and Cartagena. Bedrooms can be either single or double-occupancy and shared with another family member or other student.  Full board is included.


An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends, gain higher proficiency in the language, and experience the culture from "the inside."


All IPSL host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students.  Living with local residents is part of the immersion experience. Instead of being a tourist, an IPSL student gets to know what it's like to be part of a different culture.

Standard Program Dates & Fees

Please inquire as we can customize to most any schedule and budget!​

What's Included

  • Tuition and academic fees

  • Academic transcript

  • On-site and online orientation and pre-departure materials

  • Homestay housing

  • Full board in homestay

  • Service placement and supervision

  • Health insurance

  • Pick-up and drop off at the airport upon arrival and departure

  • Academic excursions

What's NOT Included

  • Passport

  • In-country visa

  • Vaccine fees (if required)

  • International airfare

  • Airfare between Medellín and Cartagena

  • Books

  • Personal spending money

  • Meals away from homestay

  • Local personal transportation

  • Local cell phone

  • Independent travel

Graduate study and research

IPSL Global Institute at NUNM is offering its graduate programs in a hybrid/online/on-site format. Choose a Master's of Arts in International Development & Service (IDS) or Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA), or do independent research or service that qualifies for academic credit.

Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA)

There is a clear and pressing need to engage with our world in an active way. The world needs young leaders to fight for social justice and equal rights. Are you up for the challenge? Then be part of COSA - the only study abroad program working to create sustainable change through advocacy.

Learn the practical skills to be an active agent of change and social justice. Study the many international efforts in history, learn from these efforts and use them to develop a personal ethic of service, advocacy, and civic engagement. COSA will teach you the skills of community organizing and will empower you to create sustainable change in your own communities. 


First, you'll take an online introduction to COSA course. Then, you'll begin our comparative program on site in Medellín, studying Spanish language and culture and the issues facing a post-conflict society. You'll finish up in Cartagena, continuing with Spanish and focusing on Afro-Caribbean history and culture as well as global education with a development focus.

Elective Course Offerings


  • From Escobar to Santos: Socio - Historical Perspectives on Modern Colombia (Offered Spring Term)

  • Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation: Colombia, South Africa, North Ireland and Rwanda (Offered Fall Term)

Cartagena study excursion

  • Afro-Caribbean Culture and History


Graduate students have a choice of living in a homestay or living in Centro Catalina's single or double dorm rooms or apartments.

Please contact us to discuss graduate study and research opportunities in Colombia.

Courses & Service Abroad with Academic Credit


There are undergraduate and graduate opportunities for credit that are applicable to academic programs outside the IPSL umbrella. You can do research and take elective classes.

Please contact us to discuss the specifics of these opportunities in Colombia.

Beginning to Advanced Spanish Language

IPSL's partner in Colombia is a recognized expert in Spanish language instruction. As part of the IPSL program, students can elect to work toward an internationally recognized certificate of language proficiency. This is a resume-worthy achievement!

DELE - Spanish Test - Colombia
Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language, or DELE (In Spanish: Diplomas de Espanol como Lengua Extranjera) is an official diploma awarded by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Ministry of Spanish Education to candidates who have cleared the Spanish proficiency examination. This examination is conducted in over 900 centers in more than 100 countries.  

Centro Catalina not only teaches students Spanish, but also helps them understand the real Colombia and make a difference.

The DELE examination is internationally accepted in private as well as private higher education institutions, chambers of commerce and corporate world and the diploma does not require recertification!


The semester curriculum combines a Spanish Language & Culture course, COSA in Colombia, and a Reflections and Practicum course with courses relevant and current to issues that Colombia and its people are grappling with.  All content courses are taught in English.  

There are required courses and a choice of electives and students can take up to 18 semester credits. All courses are taught at the 300 level or above (except for beginning Spanish which is at a 100 level), and they are 45 contact hours and 3 semester credits each.  An official  transcript for all courses is issued by IPSL Institute for Global Learning upon successful completion of the program.

Learning by Doing


With our extensive connections in the region, IPSL can facilitate your trip and help make it meaningful.

Learn more about experiences you can choose like:

Opportunities to volunteer (approximately 15 hours per week) are generally available in the following areas:


  • Displaced persons support

  • Social services for peoples affected by the conflict

  • Peace and reconciliation policy work

  • Home and community building projects for low income barrios

  • Education

  • Environment

  • Medicine/health

  • Social service

  • After-school centers