How Many Years Of A Language Is Required U Of.M Colombia – Critical Social Problems Part 1

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Colombia – Critical Social Problems Part 1

Moving to Colombia?

If you watch commercials on one of the local TV stations, listen to sports radio, see the spots on the Travel & Living channel on cable TV, you can easily be prepared to move to Colombia despite its well-deserved reputation for violence, kidnapping and drug traffic This is not to forget the ongoing civil war between the government of Colombia, paramilitary forces such as the AUC and military Guerrilla forces such as the FARC. Let’s not forget the appalling murder and crime rates.

However, after considering the post “20 Reasons Not to Move to Dubai” in an online ELT forum, I thought I’d take a shot at a similarly themed post dealing with different aspects of Colombia. Now don’t get me wrong, I have lived in Colombia for the past 12 years teaching English as a foreign language with my Colombian wife. I pay taxes, health insurance and retirement through the Colombian systems. I have always lived here and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, but it is exactly this familiarity created by many years living and working here that allow me to write about this country.

Here are the top five of my list of 20 items and brief comments:

1. In many areas there are NO or very few government services.

The roads are full of potholes and the highways are often a mess, but drivable.

During peak travel periods, multiple delays, massive traffic jams and overloaded transport systems and facilities are commonplace.

2. The climate, while tropical in most areas, can vary to extremes.

The summer months from June to August can be brutally hot in some areas and unseasonably hot in others. You will need a sweater or jacket in Bogotá and air conditioning in Cali, Cartagena and other cities.

3. There is the constant threat of earthquakes.

Most of Colombia from the Pacific coast to the central highlands and beyond has experienced devastating earthquakes that can occur at any time of the day or night. I lived through serious morning tremors that cracked walls and dropped ceilings to nighttime quakes, rendered buildings uninhabitable and caused seemingly supernatural earthquake lights to appear around the city of Cali.

4. There is the constant threat of volcanic eruptions.

Many volcanoes in Colombia are active or semi-active. The most newsworthy of these is the Galeras volcano, located near the city of Pasto populated by more than 400,000 people, in the southern part of the country. Evacuation warnings and “threats” have become so common that residents barely pay attention to them until ash and gas erupt from the blacktop. The worst catastrophe in Colombia was the destruction of Armero, an entire city of more than 23,000 inhabitants practically all killed in one night – buried under a mudflow caused by volcanic eruptions more than forty meters deep. Other Colombian volcanoes include Nevada Ruiz, also with recent eruptions, and Purace.

5. There are frequent outages of water or energy services.

We went up and looked at the rainwater. This way, when the water supply “fails” or goes out for any reason, we always have some water available for washing, bathing, cleaning and cooking. Sometimes outages are announced. Sometimes they are not – catching the unwary unprepared. These “no water” periods can last for hours or days – sometimes you never know.

In the second part of this multi-part series, we will continue to examine what I feel are the 20 most critical problems with Colombia that keep it a “third world” country. Your comments, opinions and feedback are welcome. See you next episode.

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