Manuela Hernandez is a International Studies major at the University of Florida and is focusing on Europe as her concentration. She also is pursuing minors in French, German and EU Studies. Manuela is no stranger to the world of study abroad. She completed her first study abroad experience as a senior in high school where she was selected for a prestigious exchange in Magdeburg, Germany through the Congress Bendestag Youth Exchange program. In addition to this year abroad in Germany, Manuela has traveled frequently to Colombia, where she was born, and has visited many countries including France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Jamaica, Mexico, Haiti and, of course, Germany. This summer, Manuela will return to Colombia to take Latin American studies and Colombian Politics and Development at the University of EAFIT. In her free time, she enjoys watching foreign films (without the subtitles to improve her language abilities) and practicing her foreign language skills as much as possible. She also loves running outdoors, playing soccer, doing yoga and taking cycling classes. Manuela is several weeks into her program and has several posts about her initial experiences on her personal blog that you can read here: http://mhernandez2.wordpress.com/
The second week flew by just as quickly as the first, and I can’t believe that I only have two more days of class before I am finished entirely with the course. I’ve learned so much about Colombia, but most specifically Medellin. The course was divided into three sections, a global perspective, a Colombian view, and applications in Medellin. To further see the implementations of what we learned, the professor organized a field trip last Friday to the city hall in downtown Medellin, so that we could view the city council in progress. The class met up on campus at 8 am and from there we took the metro to the city hall where a colleague of our professor was awaiting us with information about the city council. This is the plaza of the city hall where there are different buildings surrounding an artwork of Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt, a famous Colombian artist.
We walked into the city council and heard the 25 representatives discuss policies on the “metroplus”, a city project that tries to implement more energy efficient and environmentally friendly public bus services surrounding a greater portion of the city. It was a very interesting topic that overlapped the public policy my classmate Daniela and I agreed on for the final project. We both decided to extend the already existing “day with no car” policy in Medellin in honor of Earth day April 22, but every three months, for a total of four days a year instead of just one. We both stayed after the field trip on campus and finished the project for the final, so we could have the long three-day weekend worry-free. The professor had his office hours on Friday and we consulted him for some last minute questions on the project.
We finished the project and parted ways for the weekend! I went home, tired after a long day and rested in my cozy bed as the rain splashed on my window. Saturday my grandparents, a cousin of mine, and I took of for the weekend to “Suroeste”; a southwestern region of Antioquia (the state where Medellin is) that has many wonderful small towns for tourists. We went to “Jardin”, a very pleasant town with chilly weather and a gorgeous church on Saturday and on Sunday we left to Santa fe de Antioquia, a warm weathered city where my grandparents own a small house with an outside built pool. I had a splendid time!