I am the first exchange student that this university has ever had, and
I would like to tell people in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere,
that Colombia is a safe place to visit, work, and study.
Before leaving, I was warned by many people that Colombia was a very
dangerous country, that I was crazy to go there, and that I should pick
another country to study in, but I have felt as safe here as I have in
any other Latin American country I have visited (Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua,
The International Exchange program at Concordia University is very well
organized, and any student willing to meet the requirements and undergo
the process of submitting an application to study abroad can do it very
Youre probably wondering how much money I needed to do this. Did
you know that the Quebec ministry of education will actually give you
money to study abroad? They are supplying me with $750 a month to cover
all of my costs.
Remember that Colombia is a developing country, and you can easily get
by on this monthly amount and still have a bit left over. It will cover
everything: a furnished apartment, your groceries, transportation costs,
and other minor expenses. Quebec will give you $1,000 a month if youre
heading to Europe. There is also no barrier to getting a student loan
(you are still considered to be studying full-time in a Quebec institution).
The application process to get involved with the exchange program is
a lengthy one, so dont be shocked. First, you need to meet the GPA
requirements for your program and have at least 24 credits completed of
Then I had to pick three schools (in order of preference), research their
course plans and select courses which were transferrable for credit to
my degree at Concordia. My actual letter of application to each school
had to be in the language of study (Spanish) and I had to pass an online
test from the Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics
to demonstrate my proficiency in the language.
I also needed to procure two letters of reference (teachers and/or employers),
and I had to show adequate financial resources to support myself (this
needs to be certified). For the MEQ bursary, I had to write a letter explaining
what my reason was for choosing the exchange program and what I intended
to do with the money.
It took me about five days of 24 hours to complete my application (it
involved a lot of legwork and long hours on the telephone and at the computer).