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Now More Than Ever...

There is a clear and pressing need to engage with our world in an ACTIVE way. The world needs young leaders to fight for social justice and equal rights. Are you up for the challenge? Then be part of COSA™ - the only study abroad program working to create sustainable change though advocacy!

COSA - Community Organizing and Social Activism

Learn the practical skills to be an active agent of change and social justice. Study the many international efforts in history, learn from these efforts and use them to develop a persponal ethic of service, advocacy and civic engagement. COSA will teach you the skills of community organizing and will empower you to create sustainable change in your own communities. 

Experience Colombia like a local...not a tourist.

Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather, it hosts a famous annual Flower Festival. Modern metrocables link the city to surrounding barrios and offer views of the Aburrá Valley below. Sculptures by Fernando Botero decorate downtown's Botero Plaza, while the Museo de Antioquia displays more of the Colombian artist’s work. A guided excursion to the beautiful coastal city of Cartegena is included.


Your spent in the city studying, volunteering and living with a Colombian family is combined with opportunities to explore the sourounding regions of Colombia and neighboring Latin American countries. Students take their Spanish course with students from a variety of countries and receive their transcript from the IPSL school of record, College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York.

The semester and academic year curriculum combines a Spanish Language & Culture course, the IPSL COSA in Colombia - Community Organizing, Social Activism and Service-Learning, a Service Learning Reflections and Practicum course as well as elective courses centered on Race and Racism, Development in Post-Conflict Societies, Afro-Caribbean Studies and more.  Along with these exciting and relevant courses that give a true picture of Colombia, there are substantial opportunities for volunteer service in the community.  Service-Learning placements are organized at various NGOs, schools,  clinics. 

Program Highlights

Language of Instruction: English

Affiliated institution: Centro Catalina, Medellin

Courses and Credits - Semester

Students may take up to 18 credits per semester. Courses are 3 credits each.

Required Courses:

  • Spanish Language (beginning, intermediate and advanced)

  • COSA in Colombia (Community Organizing and Social Activism)

Elective Courses may cover themes of:

  • Development in Post-Conflict Societies

  • Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation

  • Socio-Historical Perspectives on Colombia

Courses and Credits - Summer

Students may take up to 6 credits per semester. Courses are 3 credits each.

Required Courses:

  • Spanish Language (beginning, intermediate and advanced)

  • COSA in Colombia, (Community Organizing and Social Activism)

Service Opportunities

Opportunities for substantive service (approximately 15 hours per week) are generally available in the following areas:

  • Displaced Persons Support

  • Peace and Reconciliation Policy Work

  • Education

  • Environment

  • Medicine/Health

  • Social Service

  • After School Centers


Undergraduate Students will live in a homestay with a Colombian family who lives in Medellin. Bedrooms can be either single or double-occupancy and shared with another same-sex family member or other student.  Full board is included. An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends, gain higher proficiency in the language, and experience the culture from "the inside." All IPSL host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students.  Living with local residents is part of the immersion experience. Instead of being a tourist, an IPSL student gets to know what it's like to be part of a different culture.

Graduate students have a choice of living in a homestay or living in Centro Catalina's single or double dorm rooms.


  • We're really nice and support you in your journey!

  • We're the most experienced group in the field of International Service-Learning

  • You can make a real difference to people in need

  • You can FINALLY learn that language

  • You can dive deep into another culture!

  • To support our service organizations in a SUSTAINABLE way

  • GROW - expand your horizons and challenge your assumptions!

Program Director:  Prof. Luis Carlos Arango


The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential.  TOEFL equivalent 550.  No Spanish language requirement.

What's Included

Tuition and academic fees; academic transcript; on-site and on-line orientation and pre-departure materials; homestay housing; three meals per day, 7 days per week; service placement and supervision; health insurance;  pick-up and drop off at airport upon arrival and departure; academic excursions.

What's NOT Included

Passport; in-country visa; vaccine fees (if required); international airfare; books; personal spending money; local personal transportation; local cell phone; and independent travel.

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