Spanish Programme at Universidad Jorge Tadeo

15 March 2019

Emma from Laws utilised the long vacation period and funding from the Santander Universities Mobility Bursary scheme to support her participation on a summer programme in Colombia.

universidad jorge tadeo
Emma Ziegler Steen, Law LLB

I had just finished my last exam, when it really occurred to me – I was going to Columbia that very evening! I rushed home, packed my bags, and made my way to Heathrow, whilst the relief of finishing the first year of my law degree slowly sank in. 

I had a month before applied for the Santander Short Term Mobility Bursary, and I had been thrilled to be able to find the partner university, programme and housing myself. As the bursary allowed me to plan my own learning experience, I was able to find a Spanish programme in Cartagena de Indias in Northern Columbia, which fitted my level perfectly and allowed me to emerge myself into the Columbian culture. 


My time in Cartagena de Indias and at Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano flew by. The bursary allowed me to take a lot of private lessons, which combined with conversation, travel, and self-study highly elevated my Spanish level. In this way, the bursary allowed me to discover many aspects of the Columbian culture during my two-week stay in Cartagena, as the Spanish classes combined themes of history, literature, politics and language. Simultaneously, the streets, museums and cafes of the beautiful city allowed me to meet a lot of new people and engage in meaningful encounters. 

At first, I found the private lessons a bit lonely, but through my accommodation and walking around the city with an open mind, I soon found other ways to meet people. However, if I was to do it over, I would have looked into classes in small groups, as that would have allowed me to travel around the country with co-students. However, I was lucky to have an old friend from Columbia, and I very much enjoyed visiting her and her family in the other end of the country. I think such visits and encounters are crucial when undertaking a language course, as you do need opportunities to practice. In fact, I wish I could have stayed in Columbia and South America much longer, to keep improving my Spanish.


With these experiences, my short-term programme in Columbia opened up for gaining new perspectives and challenged me in completely different ways than my daily life at university does. Consequently, the trip also helped me to gain new perspectives on my law degree and made me think of new ways in which I can use my love for languages, international affairs and human rights in my future legal career. 

Therefore, I truly recommend seeking the benefits of the Santander Short Term Mobility Bursary, as it allows you to find personalised programmes, which can give you the challenges you need to enrich your own summer and university experience.