Emily Joyce is in Colombia

Emily Joyce is a junior international studies major studying in Columbia this spring semester.

News from Emily (April 1):

In the past weeks I’ve explored Colombia and nearby regions. I was lost in the mountains of Minca, hiking through coffee farms. I woke up to howler monkeys and toucans on the world’s largest hammock. For spring break, two friends and I took off to Medellin, Guatape, and Bogota, carrying everything we needed on our backs.

Previously known as the most dangerous place in the world (Pablo Escobar, violence between drug cartels...go watch Narcos for more information), is now one of the most efficient and modernized cities in Colombia. Medellin is the city of eternal spring because of it’s perpetually nice weather (sounds like Pittsburgh, right?). The urban sprawl is interwoven with colorful parks, art and food, making it my favorite city thus far in the country. A traditional dish called sancocho (de gallina) is a huge bowl of the best chicken soup you’ll ever have mixed of yucca, corn, and plantains then served with a side of rice and avocado.

It was a relief to travel to the interior of the country. With its mild climate and clearer accent, it was a vacation from my sweaty and confusing life trying to understand the Costeno accent. It was just as nice to return to Barranquilla and have that feeling of coming home to a family and friends who want to hear about your trip.

Of all my experiences in Colombia thus far, my favorites are my interactions with the people: when the grandmother asks me about what we cook in the U.S. for holidays and tells me about the one time she touched snow; when the farm owner takes me around his property, proudly shaking the trees and letting me try fruit I’ve never seen; and most of all when my classmates, running companions, and fellow volunteers finally think of me first as a friend rather than foreigner.

Good luck with the outdoor season Tartans! I was mad impressed by my team’s indoor performance (casually setting records and all). Suerte!