Peacebuilding in Colombia, 2016
Teddy studied Politics as an undergraduate at the University of Bristol and went on to do a Masters in International Relations at the LSE. Here he tells us about his experience as one of the first Peacebuilding in Colombia students in 2016.
I was on the Peacebuilding course in 2016 and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. Not only did I get a unique opportunity to study and witness the complexity of Colombia’s armed conflict and its subsequent peace process, but I also had a lot of fun and made great friends.
From visiting the United Nations Development Project in Soacha, to learning about all the external actors involved in the peace process, I have learned so much – not only about Colombia – but of diplomacy, international relations and development more generally. Of course, the programme is full on and intellectually stimulating. This is because after attending lectures on Colombian history, its political system and current affairs, we were lucky enough to go on field trips in order to gain a more practical understanding of the conflict. For instance, we visited and had meetings with many institutions such as the United Nations, the Centre for Historical Memory, the court of Transitional Justice, and President Santos’ PR team. Also, I heard that the year after us travelled into the jungle and met with FARC guerrillas… (so jealous).
While the course is academically unique and enriching, it wouldn’t be what it was without all the fun that came with it. That’s because Red Tree Study ensured that we experience Colombian culture as much as possible. This involved social activities such as cycling the highways of Bogota during the Cyclovia, including evening ones like going to a bar to watch Colombia play football, dining in really cool restaurants, and going on the ‘Party bus’.
So overall, I strongly recommend anybody who is interested in politics, international relations, development, or Latin American studies to go on this course. Not only did I have such a great time, but the experience itself has massively helped me in the future. For example, writing about it in a personal statement helped me get accepted for a Masters programme in International Relations. Also, interviewers are always impressed by this experience when they look at my CV.