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Colombia - Worth it?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by mercutio672, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. mercutio672

    mercutio672 New commenter

    Dear All,

    I am mid-way through the application process with a school in Bogota. It is a well-known British school on which teaches the IPC.

    I was wondering if there is anyone out there who can shed some light on living in Bogota? The school itself looks pretty good but I would be going with my wife and two young children. Would we be able to have a worry-free life or would we be looking over our shoulders all the time? I have read a lot of blogs/quora discussions and I know that the city is not the safest but can be managed with usual precautions.

    It would be great if there happens to be a teacher with a family who could help me get some kind of insight into how it is to live there with a young family.

    Thanks In Advance.
  2. 24hours

    24hours New commenter

    From what I have heard Colombia is much safer than it use to be.

    But in all honesty why would you take your family somewhere that is less safe than your current location.

    Ok, if your single and want an adventure or to earn a decent salary.

    Take a look and see the current fco advice

  3. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    No first hand knowledge experience, but I teach with someone from Columbia. When she goes to visit her mother there, she leaves her children behind, and gets in and out as quickly as possible. Take it for what it's worth.

    You might be fine but I can't see how it wouldn't be stressful at times, especially compared to many other places in the world.
  4. amariB

    amariB New commenter

    I lived and worked there. For me as a single person, it was a pretty safe and enjoyable place to live if you took the usual precautions like not flashing your phone/money in the street in a dodgy area. I think I know the school you are referring to. It is in a nice, upper middle class type area with lots of ameneties, safe to walk, many families, etc. You’d probably spend most of your time in that area. My experience doesn’t match with the poster above friend’s experience at all, but we don’t know where they lived or what their situation is, that would affect a lot. Some areas of Colombia still have their issues but in general the biggest issue you’ll face as an expat is pickpocketing and getting ripped off by taxis!

    That said, if I had a family I think I’d think twice. I did have colleagues with families and Colombia is kid friendly, lots of parks and kids are welcome pretty much everywhere. However South East Asia would probably be my pick with a family, I’m in that area now and it does feel safer and just better set up for expat families. Much more of an expat community there.
  5. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    We raised two daughters in Bogota from infancy to adolescence. It was great! Bogota was a very child friendly place. Quite a few restaurants and parks to visit. Indeed, one of our favorite restaurants (Andres Carne de Res) has a special section just for kids with plenty of caregivers. We also had maid which helped immensely. She really loved our daughters. In addition, we found that Colombia pre-school and primary teachers were particularly warm and caring. It was a wonderful and supportive experience for our girls who are now bilingual. Mind you, we were there in a very difficult time for Colombia and had to pay close attention. Nonetheless, we had no security issues whatsoever. Most apartments (not all) are built in a square shape with a park in the middle. I fondly recall taking my first born in her perambulator up and down the park and watching her reaction as she felt rain for the first time. Good memories!
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  6. mercutio672

    mercutio672 New commenter

    Thanks all for the replies. They have been helpful in getting an idea of the situation.

    Where we live at the moment is one of the safest countries in the world so wherever we move next will be less safe than where we are. I think up to a point it's a mindset. I have lived in London and Paris, both excellent cities but both of them are very dangerous if you end up in the wrong area or don't take precautions. I just want to avoid going to somewhere where I fear for my safety every time I leave the house.

    Arepa, were you able to visit the rest of Colombia during your time in Bogota?
  7. 24hours

    24hours New commenter

    Looks like made your mind up but you’re crazy to compare Bogota with Paris or London in terms of safety.
  8. mercutio672

    mercutio672 New commenter

    How so? In Paris and London there have been terrorist attacks. There are neighbourhoods (some of which I have lived in) which I would definitely not walk around in at night. The centres of London and Paris are probably safer overall but the chances of being robbed at knife or gun point are pretty high.

    I haven't made my mind up but I posted this question to see if there were any people who were in a similar situation, not to receive (quite obvious) advice.
  9. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I have lived in some pretty rough countries, and yet the only place i know of where work colleagues have been robbed, mugged etc has been in Spain. But if you looked at theist of places i have been you would never have put Spain first.
  10. taiyah

    taiyah Occasional commenter

    Everywhere is a risk. My first day in London, the street leading to my school was in lock down because they were looking for a man on the run with a gun! Had a friend who got set up by their "agency" and mugged in Costa Rica. I don't have to tell you what the USA is like for teachers. Whether it is gang, drugs or terrorism it's something out of our control. BUT if your own Home Office is telling you to stay away then maybe it is a wise idea to follow their instructions.
  11. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    We travelled widely throughout Colombia: by plane to Cartagena, Medellin, Cali, Armenia, and Bucaramanga. By car we travelled to resorts close to Bogota (Giradot for tropical weather and Villa de Leyva for a high desert experience). Frankly, our trips were rather idyllic as we asked the hotels for babysitters and my wife and I were able to enjoy ourselves while our daughters were well looked after. Colombia is a beautiful country.

    Mind you, there are security concerns and you have to be careful. You should not, I believe, allow your children to ride public transportation unaccompanied. I am presently living in a very safe country and it amazes me to see young children on the buses and subways by themselves. Nonetheless, I believe that Colombia is a great place to raise young children as the lifestyle there allows you to travel widely, gain new experiences, and have the time and energy to enjoy being married.
  12. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    I refuse to believe you genuinely think London and Paris are even on the same scale as parts of South America in terms of safety.

    '"Everywhere is a risk" does not equate to "the risks are equal".
    24hours likes this.
  13. MsOnline

    MsOnline Occasional commenter


    anyone there at the moment or got first hand experience please?

    Arepa and Amari I've PM-ed you. Any others please PM - cost of living, lifestyle etc.

    Thank you.
  14. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    Hi MsOnline: I responded to your PM. Let me know if you have any more questions.
    MsOnline likes this.
  15. MsOnline

    MsOnline Occasional commenter

    Thanks! Sorry for the delay, I'll respond.
  16. reybess

    reybess New commenter

    I lived and taught in Medellin as a single female for 2 1/2 years and it was fantastic. I travelled frequently around Colombia and felt as safe there as when I was living in London. I did take the usual precautions -and there are some areas that are definite no-go areas- but would definitely recommend it and would happily move there with a family. In my experience, being in Central America was far less safe than Colombia.
    MsOnline likes this.
  17. MsOnline

    MsOnline Occasional commenter

    Thanks Reybess - i've sent you a conversation :)

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