-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Online Application
Terms & Dates​
  • WINTER 2021
    • Dates: 01/20/21​ to 04/04/21
  • SPRING 2021
    • ​Dates: 04/19/21​ to 06/27/21
  • SUMMER 2021 
    • Dates: 06/27/21 to 09/15/21
  • FALL 2021 
    • Dates:  09/19/21 to 12/10/21

* Dates are Approximate

“Any study abroad program is an unforgettable chapter of life.  However, I have heard that a ‘typical’ study abroad program usually places students in a residence hall or other student housing along with other students doing the program, and there isn’t much immersion because you are surrounded by others who speak your own language and come from a similar background.  If I am going to study abroad, I want to get as much out of it as I possibly can, and the IPSL program seems to perfectly integrate everything that can be included in a study abroad experience.  I think that staying with a host family and volunteering within the community is a fantastic way to work on language skills, and increasing fluency in Spanish is one of my primary goals for studying abroad.”

CLICK here to see vibrant Medellín!

Meet the IPSL Academic Director
Prof. Clara Isabel López

Bio to come.

New to the Colombia Program - study, serve and live in two regions of the country - the Andes and the Caribbean!

We just could not decide, so get ready to experience both the vibrant, modern energy of Medellín, the "City of the Eternal Spring" AND the beautiful, historic, colonial city of Cartagena on the edge of the turquoise Caribbean. Our Comparative program in Colombia begins in Medellín, studying Spanish language and culture and the issues facing a post-conflict society. It ends in Cartagena, continuing with Spanish and focusing on Afro-Caribbean history and Culture as well as Global Education with a development focus.


Now More Than Ever...

There is a clear and pressing need to engage with our world in an ACTIVE way. The world needs leaders (this means YOU!) to fight for social justice and equal rights. Are you up for the challenge? Then be a part of IPSL - the only study abroad program working to create sustainable change though social justice advocacy!


COSA - Community Organizing and Social Activism

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, the IPSL Service-Learning Reflections course, will teach you the skills of community organizing and will empower you to create sustainable change in your own communities. 


Experience Colombia like a local...not a tourist.

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.


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 as forms and integral part of the Colombia of today.


Soak up the sun, blue waters, vibrant flowers and historic architecture of the old walled city. Reachable by boat are Isla de Barú, with white-sand beaches and palm trees, and the Islas del Rosario, known for their coral reefs for snorkeling.


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 as well as 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,  clinics. 


Program Highlights

Language of Instruction: English

Affiliated institution: Centro Catalina, Medellín and Cartagena


Courses and Credits

Graduate students generally take 2-3 classes per term. Courses are 4.5 Quarter  credits each.


Required Courses:

  • COSA in Colombia (Community Organizing and Social Activism)


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

  • Spanish Language opportunities


Service Opportunities

Opportunities for substantive service (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



Graduate students have a choice of living in a homestay or living in Centro Catalina's single or double dorm rooms or apartments. Bedrooms can be either single or double-occupancy and shared with another same-sex family member or other student.  Full board is included. An integral part of the program, IPSL encourages students to choose the homestay because it 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.



  • We're really nice and support you in your journey!

  • We're the most experienced group in the field of International Service-Learning

  • You can make a real difference to people in need

  • You can FINALLY learn that language

  • You can dive deep into another culture!

  • To support our service organizations in a SUSTAINABLE way

  • GROW - expand your horizons and challenge your assumptions!


The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential.  TOEFL equivalent 550.  No Spanish language requirement.


What's Included

Tuition and academic fees; academic transcript; airfare to Medellín (restrictions apply); on-site and on-line orientation and pre-departure materials; homestay housing, dorms or apartments; partial board in homestay only; 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); airfare between Medellín and Cartagena; some meals; books; personal spending money; additional meals not included in homestay; local personal transportation; local cell phone; and independent travel.