lunes, 15 de septiembre de 2014

Living in Colombia: Risky?

Colombia has been a country which many people refer to only for bad things. For many decades now, Colombia has been fighting against its reputation for being the greatest producer and exporter of cocaine and marihuana. Also, Colombia is known because of its endless military conflict. Therefore, in South America Colombia would be probably the last country you would hear of when you say you want to go to there. However, Colombia is a really good place to live and the image that people abroad have from this country is not always accurate.
The first reason of why to Colombia is a good place to live is the Diversity the country has. And, Diversity could be understood in many ways. For example, if we talk in the biodiversity side we could say Colombia has two coast (The pacific Oceans and the Caribbean Sea), also there are probably more animal and plant species there than in any other country on the planet regardless of size (Colombia: Biodiversity Synonym), so if you are a person who enjoys nature you should go to Colombia. Also, the biodiversity permits you to have a variety of options in terms of food. In Colombia you can find any fruit you want to a price you would never expected – comparing with other countries (Living in Colombia). Meat is really cheap, it is not surprise why for a Colombian when the meal has no meat on it, “It is not considered meal” Colombians eat meat almost every day in almost every meal.
Colombia does not have seasons like many European or Asian countries but, in each region of the country you would find a different weather during the whole year. The country has almost every natural environment in the world: Forest, Desert, Mountains, Savannahs, Beaches, etc. Thus, you would never be upset about changing your clothes style for every season. Moreover, if you are tired of someplace you might visit another one and find a complete different view without even leaving the country.
Diversity in terms of people also exists. Colombia has Mestizos (58% of the population), Mulatos (14% of the population), White (20% of the population), 4% are black; 3% are zambo (black–Indian); and 1% are pure Amerindian (Among these we can find Carib, the Chibcha, Muizca, Buriticá. and the Arawak), thus you would find almost non racism in the country (Ethnic Groups- Colombia). Because Colombians are just a mix of ethnics, people do not tend to have any prejudice about you.
Speaking about people and this is the second reason of why Colombia is a good place to live; we could say Colombians are the best host with foreigners. They will welcome you in such a way that after just a little time you won’t feel as a foreigner anymore (Colombia, the Only Risk Is Wanting to stay).  Colombians are described as friendly, happy (This year Colombia is considered as the happiest country in the world), creative, Soccer Fanatics, Coffee Lovers, Polite and very proud of their country (10 ways to describe Colombians). In Colombia you would never feel as an outsider, people will be willing to help you if you need it.
Furthermore of being welcome, people would just make you feel as comfortable as they can. They will invite you to stay in their houses or have dinner with their families. One example of this I experienced myself: One of my friends from Bogota call me one day telling me one of her friends was coming from the States and that person was going to go to Medellin, Bogota, Cartagena and Barranquilla. She already had a person to pick her friend up in Medellin and she needed someone near the coast because she did not want her friend to go around by himself. I could not offer my help because I was working but instead, I just contact one of my friends and ask her the favor. She was pleased to help me and my friend, a person she have never met before. This American guy had a great experienced traveling for two weeks always being accompanied by someone in every city he went. I remember my friend told me at the end that he had such a good time that was thinking on going back to Colombia to stay longer.
At last but not least, Colombia is a truly cheap country. Rent, food and transportation are totally inexpensive (Why Medellin Colombia Is a Super City). The cost of a living for a month would be around 1000 USD. Of course this depends where you come from too. Some prices are:
·         Transportation:  0.7 - 1 USD
·         Lunch (Rise, Meat, Soup, Salad, Juice) – 3,5 – 4,5 USD
·         Rent (Depending on the city and the place inside the city where you live): 350 – 600 USD
·         Health Insurance: 50 - 80 USD

People would still say bad things about Colombia and how is it possible for someone even think about living there. They will still say that it is not safe, you could be kidnapped, robbed, rape, you would find drugs on the street, the guerrilla is going to kill you  and many other things but, most conflict-related problems occur in the countryside. While this can make intercity travel risky at times, residents inside the major cities of Bogota, Cali, and Medellin, feels little impact from most skirmishes. These larger cities and mid-sized population centers like Pasto, Popayan, Manizales, and Armenia, are reasonably well policed and usually not unsafe if you’re careful. Most of the drug production is actually for export, so except for warring drug factions in the Coca-growing areas of the country, there’s little everyday impact (Lynch, Larry M).  Colombia is as safe as any other place in South America, people just need to be careful where they go and how they behave on the streets. I will not say that Colombia is a safe country, like South Korea, but I can assure you it is not the country that Hollywood movie such as, Miss and Ms Smith and Collateral Damage showed. 
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