going on an international AIESEC experience, you tend to not only
meet people from the local country, but also other nationalities
also participating in the global exchange programme. This weekend
included Jimmy from Belgium, Julia from Austria and Hana from Czech
Republic as well as a number of Colombians from all over the country
including Cali, Bogotá, Manizales.
the last two years, AIESEC in the United Kingdom has sponsored six
people from across the country to travel to Colombia to work in
Non-Governmental Organisations for two-month placements.
the flower festival...
their names will come up again I thought I would introduce the people
chosen this year:
Sabine, nicknamed Bee, from the London School of Economics,
originally from Germany working in Cali
Jen McLaren, from Strathclyde University in Scotland, based
Juliet Hiner (who I work with) from Sheffield University
Dan Tatnall-Murray (nicknamed Dan Uno)
Me, James Eder, from the University of Birmingham
Dan Evans (nicknamed Dan Dos) from Southampton University
The last four of us are based in Barranquilla.
of us with such individual skills and personalities came together
for the weekend in Medellín for the first time all united
in Colombia, this combined with a truly international mix made for
a great weekend to be had all round.
de las Flores
Famous Flower Festival! On the first full day, we went to the botanical
gardens where there were thousands of exotic flowers displayed and
a load of market stalls selling traditional items and food. All
the tents provided were branded by multinational companies, mainly
Pepsi, which was a shame as it made the day seem so commercialised.
and Laura are mobbed
waiting to get into the gardens, Jen, who I originally flew out
with, as well as Laura, who is also from Strathclyde, were suddenly
surrounded in every direction by local children.
seemed to love it and began speaking basic Spanish and English to
all of them. During her stay in Colombia she is working in Manizales
with children. It was good to see her enjoying it so much.
City of Eternal Spring
stay in Medellín was very refreshing, with a heat that was
warm and not humid while the nights were cooler.
city, compared with Barranquilla, seemed more organised and metropolitan.
There is a comprehensive metro which runs through the city. Previously,
it was one of the more dangerous areas in Colombia, where the majority
of money was gained from the drug trafficking of cocaine.
is one of the major fashion locations with major brands including
Diesel Jeans being available for 70,000 pesos - less than £15.
We spent a good few hours exploring the high street stores.
crowd in Medellin
of the great aspects of AIESEC is that they know where to take you
for a great night. Each evening promised discounted entrance to
clubs, more salsa and Ron (Colombian rum) - it was guaranteed to
AIESEC crowd is generally very lively and always manage to be centre
of the party up on stage if there is one. The nights in Medellín
were no exception.
on stage with the DJ
a singer took to the stage with a number of us (clearly not locals)
standing nearby, the DJ started speaking to Dan Uno who introduced
himself to the crowd, which got a cheer in response. Jen and Laura
continued to represent Scotland - "Escocia".
La Bamba came on, Dan impressed the rest of the club with his singing
talents however when a number of other Spanish songs came on, Dan
was lost and pulled a blank face at the DJ. All in good sprits and
another great night.
takes to the stage - again
following night around 45 minutes away from central Medellín
we visited another club, more Americanised with the DJ booth integrated
into a police car! The toilets had a feature similar to the film
Romeo and Juliet, where a fish tank separated part of the men's
& women's toilets - everyone got a bit of a surprise when seeing
it for the first time.
in the evening, a DJ appeared on stage. It was none other than the
DJ from the night before! He spotted Dan in the crowd, La Bamba
came on again so Dan was summoned to the stage, the centre of attention!
We all joined him because I thought he might need to be rescued
if the DJ started playing Spanish songs again.
James and Jen
crowd cheered as they were told we're from different locations.
The atmospheres in the Clubs are great, really friendly and everyone
generally seems happier. I've got a feeling it has something to
do with the Latin music and the warmer climate.
by James Eder
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