Tips for Studying Abroad in Medellín, Colombia - Medellin Advisors

Tips for Studying Abroad in Medellín, Colombia

Study and graduate in Medellin

Tips for Studying Abroad in Medellín, Colombia

One of the most interesting cities to study abroad in all of South America is the city of Medellín in Colombia. There is a varied academic offering in undergraduate and graduate study programs at recognized institutions in the city. In this article we will tell you all the reasons why you should consider coming to study in Medellín if you are thinking of studying in another country. Medellín is an incredible place to train academically and learn about the Paisa culture.

Study and graduate in Medellin
Thousands of students choose Medellin as a study option

What does Medellín Offer for Foreign Students?

In recent years the enrollment of expatriate students from various countries around the world has increased steadily. Students are often motivated by an environment conducive to learning, research, science and technology. Additionally, a low cost of living in the city and low tuition make it an attractive place to visit.  Let’s now see in more detail each of the most outstanding aspects of this wonderful city:

You can study in Medellin with high quality education programs and lower costs
Foreign students find Medellin a friendly city

An Internationally Recognized Quality Academic Training: Medellín is a very good option for young students who want to do their university studies at really incredible costs. You can learn spanish or do a specialization. The levels of academic excellence are among the best in the country and have been recognized worldwide. There are public and private universities of great prestige – some of which offer a variety of educational programs in undergraduate, graduate and international agreements for exchanges with foreign students. Below we present the most prestigious institutions in Medellín in the ranking of quality according to educational ranking institutional U-Sapiens:

Top of the best universities in Medellin
The top 5 universities in Medellín


1) Universidad de Antioquia: In position number 1, we have this prestigious institution. Founded in 1803, today it is one of the best universities in the country. La Universidad de Antioquia currently has more than 40 agreements with foreign institutions under the modality of academic exchange or research practices. In some careers you can apply to obtain total or partial exemption of tuition costs. It offers more than 130 undergraduate and 184 postgraduate study programs that include specializations, masters and doctorates in fourteen locations throughout the Department of Antioquia. Every year it receives thousands of applicants who take their admission tests, but historically only the best talents are admitted. 

University Campus of the Medicine career in Medellin
Every year the number of exchange students grows due to the quality of these programs

2) Universidad Nacional de Colombia: It is a public and national educational institution founded in 1867. It is also the largest university in the country. In Medellín, it has 3 campuses and 5 faculties and more than 26 majors in priority areas of the region such as: architecture, agri-food, science and mining. It currently offers more than 875 options in international agreements for exchange programs. 

The Universidad Nacional de Colombia has a headquarters in Medellin
La Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellin has specialized in Spanish programs for foreigners

3) Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB): Founded in 1936, it is a private institution directed by the Archdiocese of the Colombian Catholic Church. It offers study programs from the basic preschool level to the doctorate at the university level. It has also been recognized for its educational excellence with more than 75 undergraduate and 200 graduate degrees. The UPB is a member of prestigious international associations promoting student exchanges, including the option of a double degree, extension courses, internships and research with universities in more than 80 countries.  Scholarships are also offered to foreign students with their own resources and in alliances with private institutions. Additionally, there are departments within the UPB that will provide help with immigration advice to properly enter the country. 

Headquarters of the Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellín
The Alma Mater of the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana is one of the most modern in the country

 4) Universidad EAFIT: It was founded in 1960 as a School of Administration, Finance and Technological Institute. It offers 25 undergraduate and 90 postgraduate professional degrees, as well as extension courses for learning spanish as a second language. In the area of international cooperation, it has agreements with national and international institutions for student exchange, double degrees, research and internships with more than 100 countries in the world. As if that were not enough, tt grants three categories of scholarships to outstanding students and applicants from around the world in alliance with private and multilateral organizations.

Expatriate students at the EAFIT University of Medellín
The quality of education is one of the reasons that motivates foreign students to come to Medellin

 5) Universidad de Medellín: It is a private institution founded in 1950. It has 7 Faculties and 29 undergraduate programs. In postgraduate studies, 5 doctorates are offered, along with more than 55 specializations and 25 master’s degrees, for a total of more than 80 postgraduate degrees. It has exchange agreements all over the world and partial scholarships sponsored with resources from the institution and in alliances with companies and public and private entities. 

Liberty Square in The Universidad de Medellín
The University of Medellin is one of the most recognized in the city

6). Universidad CES: It is a private educational institution founded in 1977, which offers 13 undergraduate and 2 technological degrees in 5 locations in different subject areas. Additionally, it has various specializations, masters, doctorates and postgraduate degrees, particularly outstanding in careers related to health teaching at this university has a focus on research, innovation, language teaching and multiculturalism. To date, there are 177 cooperation agreements for exchange, summer courses and postgraduate studies, ss well as scholarship opportunities for applicants from countries around the world. The institution also provides advice through the “ParCES” program on visa issues and guidance for accommodation and transportation. 

Graduating in Medellin Colombia is an excellent option for expats
CES University offers many opportunities for foreign students


7) Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano (ITM): Founded in 1944, it is a public institution attached to the Mayor’s Office of Medellín whose course offering is oriented towards technological development and innovation. It offers 28 undergraduate and 14 postgraduate study programs in its 4 faculties. It has an agreement with more than 30 educational institutions at the international level, for student exchanges, double degrees and scholarships with coverage of up to 100% of the enrollment costs. The ITM is in the prestigious U Sapiens 2021 Ranking that qualifies the best universities. 

Medellin is a good option for expat students
El Instituto Tecnologico Metropolitano has extensive sports areas on Campus


8) Universidad de San Buenaventura: It was founded in 1708 in Bogotá by Franciscan Catholic monks – which makes it the oldest educational institution in the country. Today, it has centers in several cities. In Medellín it offers double accreditation exchange programs, mobility to foreign students from more than 16 countries in its 6 faculties. For several years it has been distinguished by the accreditation as High Quality Multicampus for its outstanding work: comprehensive training, transmission of knowledge and constant efforts in the development of education in the country.

Medellin is a vibrant city to live as an expat
Competitiveness among Universities has improved the quality of education


9). Universidad Católica Luis Amigó: It is an institution of higher education, founded and directed by the Congregation of Capuchin Religious in 1984. Its academic offer focuses on the area of social sciences, psychopedagogy and technologies in its six faculties. It also has quality accreditation in its educational programs, agreements with foreign institutions for student exchange, extension courses in areas of research, culture, sports and belongs to international associations and networks for the promotion of knowledge in various areas.

Headquarters of the Luis Amigó Catholic University in Medellín
A modern educational infrastructure is part of the advantages of the city

 10). Universidad EIA: Founded as the School of Mines and Engineering in 1978, it offers 15 degrees in the engineering area, in addition to physics, medicine and economics. Additionally it has various alternatives for specializations, masters and a doctorate in engineering. For foreign students there are agreements, networks and alliances that facilitate student exchange, and dual degrees. 

Medellín universities welcome international students
La Universidad EIA has been recognized for its excellence in the area of engineering


*A Modern and Growing City: The city of Medellín in Colombia, has in recent years become a very popular destination for national and foreign students. The incredible thing is that 30 years ago Medellín was infamous in world news. At this time its citizens suffered high levels of violence and impunity in a bloody war between the government and criminal gangs – until the downfall of  the drug trafficker Pablo Escobar Gaviria. Fortunately that time is history. Today Medellín is a modern city, which offers a high quality of life and security to its inhabitants. In 2013 Medellín was internationally recognized as The Most Innovative City in the World compared to such important cities as New York and Tel Aviv, for its initiatives in favor of innovation. In 2021 the city will invest 3% of its Gross Domestic Product in favor of innovation and technology.

Medellin is a modern and innovative city
Medellín has developed in an amazing way in the last 30 years


*An Eternally Perfect Climate: Another favorable aspect to think about coming to study in Medellín is that this city has a very temperate climate. The average temperature is 73.4 degrees Fº (23 ºC approx.), so it is not by chance that it is known as: The City of Eternal Spring. This is very pleasing to foreign students from countries where there are very cold winters and intense summers. Also, you can wear the same kind of clothes all the time, which is also extremely comfortable, cheap and convenient for packing and travelling. Additionally, due to its geographical position in the Aburra Valley and the Andes Mountains, wherever you are in the city you can enjoy a beautiful view and impressive natural landscapes.

Luminous sunrise in Medellin
In Medellin you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views

High Quality of Life at Low Costs

If we compare the cost of studying at any institution in the United States or Europe versus Medellín, you’ll be surprised at the amount of money you can save annually. For example, if you choose to study at a cheap university in North America you should have an estimated annual budget of $35,000 – $50,000 dollars. But if instead you choose one of the best universities in Medellín, you could expect to spend far less. See the table below for tuition rates (listed in Colombian Pesos COP). 

Medellín is an ideal place to study as a foreigner
The table lists the approximate tuition rates of various Colombia Universities.

The degrees most in demand by students in the country are engineering; tuition for this type of degree has an average monthly cost of $ 274. Next is Psychology and Architecture whose monthly payments range from $ 235-257 per month. For a bachelor’s degree in international business you could expect to pay just $ 79 a month, while law averages $ 165, business administration $ 163, accounting $ 134 and education $ 116. Each of these values is significantly lower than tuition tends to be in USA or Canada and with a scholarship these costs could be even lower. 

Low cost of living in Medellín
The costs of studying are considerably low in Medellin

Visa Options for Foreign Students

If you want to study in Medellín. You should know that Colombia has entry visa exemption agreements with more than 80 countries around the world. So based on the principle of international reciprocity, nationals of these countries are allowed to come to Colombia without problems – up to 180 days per year. This means that citizens of North America, Europe and most Latin American countries can come to study only with a valid passport, air ticket, admission letter or enrollment in a local educational institution and sufficient financial solvency to cover your expenses in the country. 

Example of Stamped Visa in Colombia
Colombia has visa exemption agreements for more than 80 countries

180 days isn’t enough? If you want to stay longer and reside legally as an expatriate student, you can apply for a long-stay visa online through the web portal of the Foreign Ministry or at the nearest Colombian Consulate. For more information you can consult the following  link: These will allow you to be in the country for the duration of your studies. There are 2 types of this kind of Visa. The so-called TP1 is a visa for students with scholarships from an institution and the TP3 that applies to undergraduate students or who carry out studies for a double degree.

Student visas can be applied for online

Housing Rental for Expatriate Students

After you are clear about the type of study program that you are going to do in Medellín and you have obtained the visa information, you should next find the place where you want to live.

This is usually pretty straightforward. Often, the University where you do your degree will have private student housing available in the areas immediately surrounding the school. A typically room might cost $200-300 per month and comes with utilities and internet included. 

Apartamento amoblado
Renting a student room is the cheapest option

Another slightly more comfortable alternative is to rent a furnished apartment with 2 to 3 bedrooms in a residential area near the study place. There are options from $ 400 onwards. The cost will depend on the place and some amenities such as gym, swimming pool and social areas, among others. Currently some foreign students prefer this option and share expenses with 2 or more students.

Elegant apartment in the City of Eternal Spring
The real estate market offers many options for apartment rental in Medellin
A beautiful view of Medellin
Medellin is an great place to live as a student

A City that Invests in Education and Competitiveness

In Medellín, education is one of the most important aspects that has made it possible to measure the well-being of society. Government initiatives have tried to provide access to study opportunities in the poorest sectors of the city and at all levels from early childhood, basic education, and secondary education. Thus in recent years the government has continuously increased educational investment and more than any other item given the importance of education to reduce inequality. Today, Medellin allocates more than 2% of the budget on the education of its inhabitants and estimates to expand the coverage of the system in 2030 to 100% of the total population of school age. Thus the transformation of the city has not only been physical – but also in the academic aspect and curricular design of the study programs.

Start of post covid19 classes in Medellín
The city has increased the education budget in the last twenty years

Work Practice Options for your Graduates

Most of the educational institutions of Medellín offer students who graduate the possibility of doing internships in local companies after obtaining their respective degrees. The best practitioners can insert themselves more easily into the labor field after successfully completing their studies.

If you want more information about all the attractions that the City of Eternal Spring has for international students, contact us and we will gladly provide more information. 

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