Social life in Colombia is not very different from the way it is here. I mean, most of the activities I do back home with my friends and family are pretty much the same I can do here except for a couple of things. Among other differences, I would say the schedules for the food vary a little bit, we rely a lot more on public transportation, and regarding nightly life, I think people do not throw parties very often, except for special occasions or the piñatas for children… but we love going out.
These are generalizations of course; this is what I know the average middle-class people, like me and my friends, would do.
So yes, to start, the way we eat is different. Lunch is usually the heaviest meal of the day, not dinner. And we eat it around one in the afternoon. Dinner comes around seven or eight. I know this is early for the standards in Spain, but still there is a little difference. I am not hungry at five or six, Goudy!
As expected, the food is not the same, especially for breakfast, but I guess I’ll have the chance to tell you about it later.
Now, regarding life as a student, most people who go to university do it in their own cities. In Medellín, which is a city of almost three million people, there are at least twelve large institutions, the biggest with over thirty thousand undergraduates. So students only travel if they come from a small town.
This means that we normally live with our families until we graduate, get a good job, and reach some kind of economic independence. This also means that we do not know what it is like to have dorms, fraternities or sororities. But this experience creates a stronger family bond, I think. And it also happens with friends from high school, or even from your childhood; you can really stay in touch even if you take different paths.
Regarding leisure, I prefer outdoor activities, here are some evidences:
First of all: dogs. I love them! So every month I join a group of people to go hiking with our beloved friends. Mine is the cutest mutty ever, Emma. And of course, since we do not have cars (less than ten percent of Colombians do; there is a similar proportion of motorcycles), like in a clown show, we fit twelve people and eight dogs in a van, and after a one or two hour ride we enjoy streams, mountains… the nature!
Also, every month I have a day of picnic and live music at Días del Aire, an event for families and their pets. And every once in a while I go to an animal shelter to volunteer and help with the grooming, feeding, cleaning…
So almost every weekend I somehow end up covered in dirt, grass, dog hair and saliva, and sometimes popi, but I just love it!
My boyfriend, on the other hand, likes doing bungee, paragliding, rappel… I just watch and support.
Others are not as enthusiastic in the same way, and they prefer going out at night. As I said before, I think people do not throw parties very often, except for some occasions like Christmas. But we do have many big malls, restaurants, discotheques, pubs… some open until four in the morning! Another good thing to do is to go to small towns and spend the night there. Oh, and of course soccer is a huge event for many on Sundays.
Most students enjoy independence once they finish high school. Well, it is also because you are not a minor anymore when you are eighteen. Then you can vote, drink, drive, and many parents seem to accept that their kids are growing and can have their own lives.
There are plans for every type of budget, I would say. People in Medellín are really happy these days, for example, because for less than a dollar and in less than 20 minutes, we just have to take the Metrocable to go from the middle of the valley to a natural reserve we did not have access before: El Parque Arví. I did not even know it was there!
Also, most museums are free for people with lower income (they just have to take any bill that proves where they live to get free access), and there are parks and sports utilities everywhere.
There are many things to do in Medellín and the other big cities in Colombia, and of course I think here it is the same. I just wish buses here in Salem would run on weekends so I could explore a lot more 😉 !