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Johannes Jordan kneels on a hiking trail in the jungle of Colombia (c) private
03.05.2024 from 
Study + Teaching
A semester in Colombia

Johannes Jordan is actually studying Digital Engineering on the campus of the University of Magdeburg in his 3rd master's semester. However, the 25-year-old is currently living in a shared flat just five minutes' walk from the EAFIT University in Medellín, Colombia. This is where the Master's student is currently spending his semester abroad. Why Colombia in particular? He is often asked this question, says Johannes Jordan. The country, which is characterised by the Andes at over 6,961 metres above sea level and vast rainforests, has long appealed to him: ‘South America has always fascinated me, especially because of the culture and its different view of the world. Colombia has therefore been at the top of my list for several years. He had been planning a semester abroad since the start of his studies: ‘I love travelling the world and am fascinated by new cultures and experiences,’ enthuses the Master's student.

Now, shortly before completing his engineering degree, he is finally venturing to South America. The International Office at the University of Magdeburg advised and supported him in organising his stay. The entire application process was carefully explained to him in a personal interview. After all, a stay abroad needs to be well planned. And especially in the long term. Johannes recommends that you should start planning at least a year before you start.

Everyday life very different from Germany

However, he quickly realises that precise travel planning seems to be a rather German phenomenon: ‘Germany and Colombia are extremely different in this respect. Here in South America, it's often more a case of 'what happens, happens'. But that's also the exciting thing for me.’ At first glance, his daily routine also seems to take some getting used to. It starts in Medellin at 7 a.m., when he teleworks in his part-time job as a project manager at a company in Germany. Around midday, he goes to the nearby university campus. There are lots of restaurants, cafés and sports facilities here, which he uses regularly during the day. This is because Johannes doesn't go to university until 6 p.m. most days. As his degree programme in Colombia is normally completed part-time, his timetable regularly shifts into the late evening. It is not only the seemingly reversed daily routine that is a change for him, the language barrier also plays a role. His courses are taught in English, but outside of university, a little knowledge of Spanish is a good idea.

So far, he hasn't had any personal problems with Colombia's crime rate: ‘It's pretty safe in my neighbourhood’. Overall, Johannes Jordan is more than satisfied with his semester abroad: ‘It was definitely the right decision for me. I was pleasantly surprised by Colombia's diversity and the experience was very enriching. I would do it again and again.’ In principle, he would recommend a stay abroad to anyone during their studies. ‘Especially if you feel intimidated when things don't go according to plan. You definitely learn to be more flexible and to embrace it,’ explains Johannes Jordan.

A whole week of information about the semester abroad

In the current academic year 2023/24, there are currently 170 international students studying in Magdeburg and 190 students spending a semester abroad in other European or international countries.

Anyone studying at the University of Magdeburg who is also thinking about spending a semester abroad will soon have the opportunity to find out all about working, teaching and studying abroad at first hand. Under the motto ‘Discover the world’, the International Office's information days will take place at the University of Magdeburg from 6 to 8 May 2024. Interested parties can find out about studying abroad, talk to staff and find out about various programmes.