Dear fellow Duke Engagers. Here are some tips, things to know, and expectations for your trip to Medellín, Colombia:
1. 1. Prepare to wake up EARLY!
2. 2.Try a dish called Mondongo, you’ll LOVE it (just don’t ask what’s in it)>> pure sarcasm if you didn’t catch that.
3. 3. Colombians aren’t the best at making plans, so go with the flow!
4. 4. Not all things can be directly translated from English to Spanish (i.e. keep “That’s what she sais” to your group of Duke Engagers or leave it back in the U.S.)
5. 5. Do NOT, under any circumstance, piss off Jota. Ways to avoid this: answer your phone, do NOT leave the city without his permission, and if you do leave the city, you must call him THREE times a day. (P.S. Parque RV is considered to be outside of the city to Jota).
6. 6. Cabs are cheap here! Forget about an absurd $40 cab trip to Southpoint! Once you split the cab fair amongst your group, you won’t waste more than 5,000 pesos, the equivalence of almost 3 bucks.
7. 7. Don’t assume the compañeros or any Colombians for that matter do not understand what you are saying; they learn a lot from TV, movies, and music!
8. 8. Your home stay families will feed you A LOT!
9. 9. I didn’t know how essential the Facebook group I started would be, but it was VERY useful when our “wonderful” cell phones weren’t working.
10.10. Wearing heels to the gym is commonplace, so don’t freak out if you see Colombian women all dressed to impress without breaking a sweat in the gym.
11. 11. There is this wonderful place called the Hueco……you should go! (My infamous line here in Colombia…..oh you need_____, it is really cheap at the Hueco)
12. 12. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have here because 2 months goes by relatively quickly.
13. 13. You will receive these high tech cell phones that turn off on their own and have occasional network problems. (Suggestion: have people call you—its cheaper)
14. 14. If you have blue eyes and blonde hair, you will be stared at. If not, be prepared for people to be shocked. Americans are seen as monos—fair-skinned, light-haired individuals.
15. 15. Medellín lingo consists of the words: parce (friend), chimba (awesome, but if used wrong can mean a certain lady part), bacano (like really cool), and prepare to hear the words pues, listo, and a la orden A LOT! Also, the phrase que mas pues is real popular here (you should listen to the J.Alvarez song Sexo, Sudor y Calor for reference).
16. 16. Try to speak Spanish in front of the compañeros so they don’t feel left out.
17. 17. Prepare to climb LOTS of stairs on the field.
18. 18. Don’t be alarmed by the random security cops in Carlos E, they are only there for security purposes.
19. 19. Fiera de las Flores is amazing, but it is HOT and you will be waiting around for a while (Suggestion: do NOT go out the night before).
20. 20. Girls: guys will wink, holler, and gawk at you. Do NOT entertain them. Simply walk away and ignore them.
21. 21. Befriend your home stay families and compañeros because they will prove to be very helpful. Your home stay families make you feel at home and the compañeros will make you feel like a true Paisa.
22. 22. Dora the Explorer is actually in Spanish with English sayings. Oh, and the poor children also have Hannah Montana -__-
23. 23. Sevens have a dash on them (they do not look like this: 7). If you don’t dash your sevens, you might loose around 20,000 pesos when charging/recharging your cell phones.
24. 24. Fruit juices are to die for! Oh, and John, the Frutti John owner, has your back.
25. 25. iMovie will give you problems to make sure you write down ALL changes Tam and Jota tell you to make.
26. 26. DO NOT slam the taxicab doors: (1) it will piss them off, and (2) they will know you are a foreigner.
27. 27. Do not be flashy or wear lots of gold/silver jewelry (flip-flops to nice places are also seen as extranjero). Traveling in a pack of 8 Americans already draws attention to you guys.
28. 28: Girls: Do NOT listen to Jota when he says not to bring dresses. You will wish you had! Also, bring flats.
29. 29. Communication with your cogestor(a) is important, especially if Spanish is not your forte. They are really helpful!
30.30. Have fun, but be cautious. Never travel alone!
Don’t take anything for granted. I wish I could join you next summer, but it is your experience to have, and you will have a great time! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at any time (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Chao. Besos XoXo