Living in Colombia

by Ron Graham
(Medellin, Colombia)

Hi!


My name is Ron Graham and I came to Medellin, Colombia in 2006 as a missionary to work in an orphanage. After 3 days here, I fell in love with the place and have no plans of leaving.

I feel that Medellin is the best city in Colombia to live, as it has all the typical attractions of a big city and the climate is warm but never really hot. It is known as 'The city of eternal spring' because the weather is consistent and pleasant all year 'round.

Now before you jump to the media-fed lie about how dangerous Colombia is, you need to realize that the government has confined the rebels to less than 5% of the country, and that is in the remote coca growing regions.

Although Medellin WAS a dangerous place during the 90's, the bad elements have left and now it is a reformed and safe city that (as well as the rest of Colombia)has seen a steady increase in tourism year after year, with more people from around the world discovering this wonderful and diverse country.

There is a huge police presence on the streets and I am safer here than in ANY major city in the U.S. Although it has the same big city problems as anywhere else, most of the violent crime that is here is drug related and in the poorer neighborhoods.

Medellin is one of the most modern cities in South America, with the only rapid transit system (electric train)in the country than runs most of the length of the Aburra' Valley that is home to almost 3 million people. Their are also two sky trams that are part of the Metro system, and will take passengers for a bird's eye view of this wonderful sprawling metropolis.

The Paisas, as the locals are known, are a wonderful, pleasant and friendly group that like foreigners and are quick to show the world the real Colombia, not the one the media keeps falsely portraying. They work hard, long hours, usually for little money and love to have fun. They are very relational and like finding out about life in other places.

It's easy to live here. The pace of life is slow and no one is in a hurry. You can be as lazy or as busy as you want, and no one really cares. One of the things I like is the lack of government interference in your life, and the police have more important things to do than sit at an intersection with a radar gun pointed at you.

The cost of living is about half of that in the U.S., with big ticket items (cars, gasoline, electronics) costing a bit more.
Food is cheap in comparison, with fresh fruit and vegetables always available, and a really good restaurant meal is usually between 5 and 15 dollars.

Medical care is excellent and cheap, with many doctors trained in the U.S. Medellin is also known as THE PLACE for cosmetic surgery in Colombia.

Watch this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgI0-N9ZTa8 to see this wonderful city. (EDs note: The music is Spanish...)

If anyone wants more information about relocating here, please let me know.

Cheers,
Ron

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Aug 13, 2013
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HI!
by: Anonymous

Ron, are you still around? I am thinking of retiring to Colombia in 5-10 years so I am researching now. I have been to Cartagena twice and also Santa Marta. I love Cartagena except for the hot climate. I may ask you some questions from time to time if you are still here. Thanks!

Aug 13, 2013
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HI!
by: Anonymous

Ron, are you still around? I am thinking of retiring to Colombia in 5-10 years so I am researching now. I have been to Cartagena twice and also Santa Marta. I love Cartagena except for the hot climate. I may ask you some questions from time to time if you are still here. Thanks!

Dec 18, 2012
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Hi
by: Bob

Hi Ron,
My wife and I are Christians and we are going to Colombia primarily to bird, hike and rest. We are flying into Medellin. Do you minister in a Christian orphanage? Is there some way we could help?
Bob and Stephanie

Jun 17, 2012
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Family in Medellin
by: Robin Graham

Hey Ron!! How are you? Thinking of heading your way, how much Spanish do I need to know?

Feb 10, 2012
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Catherine
by: Ron

Hi Catherine,

Colombian Spanish is among the purest form spoken in the Americas, and Colombian culture is more advanced than that of the central Andean countries. I think that you will have a better overall experience if you come to Colombia, as you can many different aspects of life here. Bogota is very different than Medellin, the coast is very different than the mountains, etc.
You are wise to come for a visit before you make any long term commitment, but I think that after you arrive, you won't want to leave. You have to lower your expectations a bit, as the pace of life here is slower than what we're used to, and no one is in a hurry. Long waits in line at the bank and some supermarkets are common, but you learn how to time your errands to make them less inconvenient. If you have information you don't want to put in this forum, you can email me at: ronnelini@hotmail.com
It would help to know what kind of budget you're working with and how long you plan to stay. What usually happens with foriegners is that they stay longer than they had originally planned.

Take care,
Ron

Feb 10, 2012
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Catherine
by: Ron

Hi Catherine,

Colombian Spanish is among the purest form spoken in the Americas, and Colombian culture is more advanced than that of the central Andean countries. I think that you will have a better overall experience if you come to Colombia, as you can many different aspects of life here. Bogota is very different than Medellin, the coast is very different than the mountains, etc.
You are wise to come for a visit before you make any long term commitment, but I think that after you arrive, you won't want to leave. You have to lower your expectations a bit, as the pace of life here is slower than what we're used to, and no one is in a hurry. Long waits in line at the bank and some supermarkets are common, but you learn how to time your errands to make them less inconvenient. If you have information you don't want to put in this forum, you can email me at: ronnelini@hotmail.com
It would help to know what kind of budget you're working with and how long you plan to stay. What usually happens with foriegners is that they stay longer than they had originally planned.

Take care,
Ron

Feb 03, 2012
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THANKS...
by: Catherine

Wow! I was very surprised to get such a prompt reply to my post--thank you so much it's very encouraging. I have travelled quite a lot in my time but never been to Central/South America and most of my friends think I'm nuts to be thinking about Colombia. I was looking for somewhere to become fluent in spanish where the quality of spanish is considered good and after some research it boiled down to either Bolivia or Colombia.

As I will be taking a hiatus from working I also need somewhere that is inexpensive to live and not too hot--Medellin seems to fit the bill.

I am considering a short trip there before I commit to an extended time(I am cautious by nature)and would be very grateful if I might perhaps talk to, or communicate otherwise, with you and your wife during that trip.

I am middle aged British chick but I have lived in the USA for the past 20 years. I embarked on a new career path that really needs me to become a spanish speaker in order to further my job prospects.

I offer this information not to bore you to death but just to let you know I am a sound respectable individual with no ulterior motives!

Thanks again for your most welcome note.
Catherine.

Feb 02, 2012
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Response to Catherine
by: Ron Graham

Hi Catherine,

Yes, I'm still in Medellin, married to a wonderful Colombiana and enjoying the lifestyle here.
It's easy to live here as the cost of living is about half the cost in the U.S., except for property. It's a good place to be to experience the best of Colombian culture and to plan trips to other parts of Colombia. There are some Spanish schools here and a lot of places to go out to have a good time. If you decide to come here, let me know and I'll help you with the important things you need to know, like security, where to live, local gyms, do's and don'ts, etc.
Take care,
Ron

Feb 02, 2012
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Hey Ron
by: Catherine

I cant see a date for this post so not sure how current it is. Are you still in Medellin as of February 2012?

I am considering spending at least 6 months there to become fluent in Spanish. As a mature student it is harder to get a feel from some of the postings about the area as most are from 20 somethings who are keen to have nightlife kind of fun.

I just want a quiet place to live in a good neighborhood, to study spanish and somewhere to exercise regularly. Any advice? Thanks.







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