In May 2020, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is inviting students to take part in a two-week field school to Colombia’s Calanoa Natural Reserve, an artistic, ecological, and community-focused learning centre located on the shore of the Amazon River. The Amazon makes up a third of Colombia, yet it's one the country's least-explored regions!
It was 9 am and my clothes were already sticking to my skin as we strolled down the cracked streets towards the riverbank. I needed to make one quick stop at the little money exchange kiosk at the end of the block. A man in a white t-shirt and jean shorts sat on a wooden chair with a crate propped up beside him. I needed more pesos, so I plopped down a crisp fifty-dollar American bill and a used looking twenty. He pushed the twenty back and pointed at the folded corner; damaged bills were not accepted. I was told this was a common request among rural exchanges.
Has it really been a year already? I travelled to Colombia last May and immersed myself for two weeks in its brilliant culture. My study abroad trip took me up into the crisp aired mountains of Bogota and down into the sweltering heat of the Amazon. Our days were packed full of excursions, and while I trekked from one wonder to another, I tried to take in as much as I could of my environment. Time flew by so fast. Not only was this my first time on a study abroad program, but it was a chance for me to earn the last credits I needed for graduation.
It is your first day back to school and you are getting acquainted with your new classes. Maybe it’s your first year, maybe you have been doing this for a while. The excitement, nervousness and anticipation of what the semester has in store for you pulses though your veins. You mingle with new classmates and reconnect with the old ones, grab your syllabus and head towards the bookstore. Along the way you notice posters plastered to the walls in the halls. Need a tutor?, Great deal on a suite! and various varsity sport tryouts.