Online and In-Country Program!

Online Application
Course Offerings
Beginning to Advanced Spanish Language
  • COSA in Colombia (Community Organizing and Social Activism)
  •  Introduction to COSA (Course Offered Online)
Elective Course Offerings
Medellin -
  • 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 
* Some courses may not be offered during a given term. Please inquire. 

Travel and Excursions that Broaden Your Perspective
Travel is an essential part of studying abroad. Taking knowledge from the classroom and applying it through direct observation allows for greater classroom comprehension and cultural understanding. Medellin's natural beauty and surrounding environment is perfect for adventures in hiking, horseback riding and travels through lush jungles.


Excursions MAY include SOME of the following:

Medellin City Tour
A guided tour of this dynamic city in the mountains of Colombia will start off your experience in Colombia. Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather, it hosts a famous annual Flower Festival. Modern metrocables link the city to surrounding barrios and offer views of the Aburrá Valley below. Sculptures by Fernando Botero decorate downtown's Botero Plaza, while the Museo de Antioquia displays more of the Colombian artist’s work.


Excursions in Cartagena MAY include:

  • City tour with an official guide of local history

  • visit of historical sites of Cartagena de Indias Route of Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Prize for literature in 1985

  • Museum of the Inquisition and Gold

  • Visit to San Felipe Castle


Students may opt to explore the region on horseback or take boats to one of the many local islands for a day of snorkeling in warm tropical waters exploring the protected coral beds and many tropical fish. Bring your bathing suit!


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.


Academic Immersion Focused on Real Cultural Understanding 

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.  


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.

Required Courses

Beginning to Advanced Spanish Language - Undergraduate Only

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3 - 6

COSA in Colombia (Community Organizing and Social Activism) - UG and GRAD Course

The focus of this course is to explore community organizing and social activism in Colombia with the goal of learning how to effecitively translate these ideas and techniques into a concrete knowledge of social activism (including a practical tool set and the development of a personal ethic of advocacy) that can be applied across cultures, countries, and efforts. The course starts with an overview of social change institutions, explores the history and ethics of international service and moves to the examination of past and current political and social movements and advocacy efforts in Colombia. Students will learn the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning in a Colombian context. This course complements IPSL community service placements and helps students make sense of their international experience in order to develop thier intercultural competence. Topics are examined through the prism of hands-on community service in Colombian NGOs and other non-profits and include intercultural communication, the mechanics of Colombian non-profits/NGOs, citizenship in Colombia, local civic engagement/advocacy efforts and the exploration of civil society.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Introduction to COSA - Undergraduate Course

This course is delivered virtually and begins before departure and completes after returning. The content includes both pre-departure and post departure information, discussion and reflection and serves to compliment the IPSL COSA in Colombia Course. The course explores the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning to help make sense of the international experience and to develop intercultural competence. One credit will be awarded for 15 hours of academic reflections work and 2 credits for the hands-on service-learning volunteering.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Elective Courses 
Students may take 2-3 electives 

*Please note that depending on enrollment elective courses may not run.

From Escobar to Santos: Socio-Historical Perspectives on Modern Colombia

It is impossible to talk about Modern Colombia without an examination of the impact of the decades-long “narco-tráfico” – the narcotics trade that was at the center of Colombia’s political, economic, and social structures. The socio-political core of Colombia is what it is today, in part, because of the illegal drug trade. By the same token, Colombia is not the same country it was one generation ago, which is when Pablo Escobar, the head of the Medellín Drug Cartel, died.  At the time one of the wealthiest men in the world, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria continues to engender strong opinions on all sides and all spectrums. Some of the nation’s poorest people praise Escobar’s attention to the plight of the poor. Other Colombians – and foreigners – rightfully bring attention to the violence – and the tens of thousands of dead - that were part of the drug trade and the accompanying terrorism. The years of “narco-tráfico” affected countless Colombians, and many others, during those years, and the history is only starting to be discussed and researched. The first part of the course provides an overview. We then investigate drug production in the Americas and the organizations that engage in these activities.  After that, we will look at the costs of narcopolitics in the developing world, in terms of corruption and violence.  Next, we will shift our attention to the U.S. and examine both drug trafficking counternarcotic efforts and the impact of the so-called “War on Drugs.”  The final part of the class will examine the effect of recent and proposed reforms to drug policies and, of course, the reconciliation and peace processes that have brought stability, peace and economic growth to Colombia.  

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation: Comparative Peace Processes in Colombia, South Africa, North Ireland and Rwanda

The course syllabus provides a framework for exploring the comparative peace and reconciliation processes in four different regions: Northern Ireland, South Africa, Rwanda, and Colombia.

This course explores the meaning of political reconciliation, the role of forgiveness in politics and the debates surrounding the creation of War Crime Tribunals, Truth Commissions and Administrative Purges. Since we are in a post-conflict society (Colombia), this  course will transcend theory. Through a series of meetings with researchers, policy makers, and diplomats, we will see how different countries have confronted legacies of violence and abuse of their citizenry. Examples include paths to peace in South Africa’s struggle after Apartheid, Northern Ireland’s attempt to end decades of sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants, Rwanda’s ethnic-centered violence, and Colombia’s return to peace after years of violence and intimidation as a result of the international narcotics trade.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Afro-Caribbean History and Culture

This intensive study course is part of the Cartagena portion of the program and is Taught by experts in the field. It  is an interdisciplinary examination of the history, politics, race, class, gender and cultural expression of the African descendants in the Caribbean region with special focus on Afro Colombians. Special attention will be given to issues in the creation of a multicultural society, such as the dynamics of cultural identity, social and political issues. We will approach this course from a holistic perspective within a framework of African Caribbean Studies. We situate multidisciplinary interpretations of history and culture within their socio-historic contexts, and assess these interpretations, especially from less privileged and less represented perspectives. In the case of the Caribbean, this means reading between the lines of European and American history and finding the voices and cultural expressions of the people of Indigenous, African, and Afro-Mestizo ancestry and culture. 

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3