I became fascinated, and to be honest, borderline obsessed with moving to South America about midway through my university studies. After switching my major from communications to international business and traveling abroad as an exchange student in Europe, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I was destined to relocate to South America. Shortly after graduation, much to my parent’s dismay, I quit my rather promising job, packed a couple bags, and flew down to Sao Paulo, Brazil. From the moment I got off the plane, I was completely and utterly enthralled. I spent the next 6 months exploring many of the countries in South America, making friends, and learning more about the culture than I could ever possibly imagine. My love affair with Colombia was immediate and intense, and after travelling back to the states for a brief couple weeks to tie up loose ends, I made what I intended to be a permanent relocation to Bogota.
From when I was young, I always had a healthy sense of adventure, and this experience has truly surpassed all my wildest expectations. By the age of 30, I feel like I have honestly fulfilled almost all of my bucket list items, and I know that I will be able to continue creating and fulfilling so many more dreams the longer I live as an expat in this beautiful country. My three pieces of advice for anyone considering making this same move from America to Colombia (although my tips definitely apply to MOST of South America) are as follows:
- Be Prepared to Try Unique Foods– I have always had an adventurous palate, but some of the areas I have visited have really tested my limits and boundaries. But thank goodness I have opened my mind to all the amazing and “interesting” types of cuisine you can find down here! So eat the bandeja paisa and drink the delicious coffee, and above all, open your mind and enjoy!
- Make Safety a Priority– As with any country, there are safe places and there are unsafe areas, so do not put your life in jeopardy, especially when you are new and unfamiliar with your surroundings. For me, this meant I needed my own transportation, because public transportation is not the most reliable or safe, so I actually had my car shipped down here when I decided to stay (if you need help with that, I had a great experience with these guys). More than anything, exercise good judgment at all times, and it doesn’t hurt to make friends with the locals.
- Enjoy Every Moment– Colombia is by far the most beautiful, exciting, and unique country I have ever visited in all my travels. The culture is rich, the people warm, and it truly feels like my own little piece of paradise. If you dare to seek out this wonderful South America destination, you will not be disappointed, and you may even end up finding a new place to call home, just like I did.