The Program


This is a summary of the prep course that students will take to learn about the history, politics, and culture of Colombia.  We aimed to create a curriculum that is decolonized and highlights the accomplishments of Afro-Colombians.  Along with this, there is an emphasis on self-care as we recognize that deconstructing oppression can be challenging.  Furthermore, we want to help develop self-care methods for dealing with a world that is emotionally, mentally, and physically violent towards black people.

*Last Update, December 2018

Week 1 – Introduction and Program Norms – Establish positive norms so students know they can learn, explore, and question in a supportive environment, free from judgment.  Colombian geography, demographics, and languages.
Week 2 – Pre-European Colombia and the Import of Africans – This class focuses on indigenous cultures pre-European invasion and their subsequent struggles after the arrival of Europeans.  The class will learn about the first Africans to arrive and the difference between American and Latin American slavery.
Week 3 – International Trade –  The journey of Colombian coffee to America and the racial hierarchy among crops.  The class will examine the role of the IMF and World Bank in trade.
Week 4 – Afro-Colombian Women – Learn about Afro-Colombian women who have made significant contributions to Colombian society.  Examine the struggle of women in Colombia and the role of patriarchy.
Week 5 – Organized Labor – Labor organizing has been historically dangerous in Colombia.  What methods of advocacy are used?  What challenges have American companies caused for labor organizers?
Week 6 – Arts and Culture – This class examines the various music styles that come out of Colombia (Salsa, Cumbia, Champeta, Gaita, Hip-Hop).  Students will become familiar with various Colombian artists.
Week 7 – Cocaine and the Drug War – This class will examine the connection between the cocaine trade and New York City.  What impacts did the drug and the subsequent violence have on both cities?  What was the role of the Colombian and United States government?
Week 8 – How to Travel and Your Impact as a Traveler – Learn about the logistics of the trip they are about to take, including budgeting.  Students will have an opportunity to select certain activities on the trip.  They will learn about additional opportunities to travel.  There will be a piece on ethical travel and their impact on environments.
Every class
  • Basic Spanish
  • Self Care While Exploring Racism and Oppression


Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary remains in development.  It is meant to provide our vision for the trip so potential applicants will have a sense of the TYPE of activities they will participate in.


Day 1 – Depart NYC and Arrive in Cartagena, Dinner, Orientation

Day 2 – Graffiti Walking Tour / Meet with a community activist and get a tour of their neighborhood

Day 3 – Visit the Totumo Mud Pits / Take Salsa lessons and put what you’ve learned to the test at a community salsa night in the Plaza

Day 4 – Day Trip to San Basilio de Palenque, the first ever free slave settlement in the Americas.  Meet with local youth and hear about their lives and perspectives.

Day 5 – Day Trip to Playa Blanca – Meet Afro-Colombian communities from the island.  Spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach.

Day 6 – Fly to Medellin /  Learn to play Tejo, a game unique to Colombia, Have dinner with a group of black ex-pats living in Colombia

Day 7 – Tour of Communa 13 and hear about the transformation of this community that was the center of the drug war in the 80’s and 90’s.  Meet with youth from Communa 13.

Day 8 –  Visit a coffee farm and learn how coffee makes its way from plant to a coffee cup in America

Day 9 –  Meet with victims of the drug war and hear their stories

Day 10 –  Breakfast, debrief, depart Medellin for New York City