Colombia mountainside agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture & Social Change in Colombia

  1. Program Details

    Discover relationships between sustainable food production and food systems in the diverse landscapes of Colombia.

    Location Cali, Colombia
    Term May Session
    Housing Hotel, Other
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students, Non UofM Students
    Student Year Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  2. About Sustainable Agriculture & Social Change in Colombia

    One of today's greatest challenges is developing sustainable food production systems. During this course, learn about the innovative practices used by farmers, universities and community members to build sustainable agriculture systems in Colombia.

    The Valle de Cauca region in Colombia is a hub of tropical food production, including hundreds of tropical fruits, sugar cane, coffee, and cacao (chocolate). You will explore food production in Colombia from farm to table through visits to organic coffee farms, vegetable and sugar cane farms, and a world-renowned agricultural research center, as well as by participating in student exchanges with the agroecology program at Colombia's top public university, Universidad Nacional.

    For a more detailed overview of this course, see the Academics tab.

    Housing & Meals

    Live in a shared apartment with other students on the program. Apartments are centrally-located and have fully-equipped kitchen. The apartment complex also features a swimming pool and baseketball court.

    Eight group meals, including welcome and farewell meals, are included in the program fee. Students can prepare meals in their apartments or dine out inexpensively. 


    Excursions take place in Cali, Colombia, and surrounding areas. They may include farms, an agricultural research center working to alleviate global food insecurity, and student exchanges with Universidad Nacional. Learn about Latin American culture through the lens of dance and art in Cali, the salsa dance capital of the world.

    Tentative activities and excursions for May 2020 include:

    • Site visit to National Sugar Cane Research Center 
    • Site visit to Finca Vetiver 
    • Site visit to El Hatico Sugar Cane Farm and Nature Reserve 
    • Site visit to tea plantations in the Bitaco River Forest Reserve 
    • Site visit to International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) Colombia 
    • Three salsa lessons
    • One cultural performance
    • Visits to two local markets
    • Two student exchange events with National University of Colombia (Palmira) Agroecology Program 
    • One overnight trip outside of Cali 


    All program participants will be taking the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight, you will receive information from the Learning Abroad Center regarding your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.

    It might be possible to deviate your return flight. Inquire with your program contact if interested.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Develop independence by challenging yourself in a new environment
    • Function as an effective team member by utilizing your personal strengths in a group setting
    • Explore a specific topic through experiential and interdisciplinary approaches

    Faculty & Staff

    This Global Seminar is led by Julie Grossman, Department of Horticultural Science, in the College of Food, Agriculture, & Natural Resource Sciences.

    About the Learning Abroad Center

    Learning Abroad Center programs are:

    • Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
    • Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
    • Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
    • Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.
  3. Program Structure

    Program Type Instructor-Led
    Program Level 3000 level coursework

    One 3-credit course

    Global Seminars are 3-week study abroad programs led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff that feature:

    • Intensive learning in a location that illuminates the topic
    • Small groups of 15–25 students
    • No prerequisites or language requirements
    • Included excursions and cultural activities
    • Instruction in English


    Based in Cali, students experience one of the most important urban centers of Colombia and its role as a hub of tropical food production, including hundreds of tropical fruits, sugar cane, coffee and cacao (chocolate). Students depart the program with an in-depth view of the Colombian food production cycle from farm to table and the ways in Colombia connects to global issues of sustainability and food insecurity. 

    A pre-departure orientation will provide you with introductory information on Colombia and the topics we will discuss during the course. Research a crop produced in Colombia and the food system of which it is a part. Prepare a typical Colombian dish. Participate in academic exchanges and report on your interactions. Participate in excursions to organic sugarcane, vegetable and coffee farms.

    Coursework includes participation, a 3-5 page paper, and a public outreach piece to teach others about Colombia, including a newspaper article, editorial, presentation to a class, video, blog, or YouTube video.

    Receive credit for: CFAN 3500

    Syllabus: Draft Syllabus May 2020

  4. Dates & Deadlines

    Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
    Term Program Dates Priority Application Deadline* Final Application Deadline
    May 15 – Jun 7, 2020 February 1, 2020 March 1, 2020

    Program dates are subject to change.

    If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

    Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 25 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.

    Orientation Dates & Locations

    Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.

    See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.

    Term Abroad Date/Time Location
    May Session TBD TBD
  5. Priority Deadline

    If you apply by the priority deadline and confirm within the allotted time you will receive the published program fee. Applying after the priority deadline and/or not confirming within the allotted time means you may be subject to an airfare increase.

    Fees for Sustainable Agriculture & Social Change in Colombia

    May Session 2020: Cost of Participation

    Program fees can vary widely due to location, cost of living, airfare, and program inclusions. The program fee generally includes tuition, group flight airfare, airport transfers, in-country program related transportation, housing, some meals, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, program administration, and international health insurance. You must also budget for passport and passport photos, some meals, textbooks, independent travel, and miscellaneous living expenses.

    If you do not see a budget estimate for the term you intend to go abroad, the fee has not yet been finalized. We strive to post fees for this program at least 30 days prior to the application deadline. The Learning Abroad Center will delay the posting of some fees until enrollments, inflation and exchange rates are determined. Note the average increase in fees will be 3–10%. Program fees are based on estimates and may change depending on international economic factors.

    Billing & Payments

    Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

    Cancellation Policy

    Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
  6. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term May Session 2020
    Program Name Global Seminar: Sustainable Agriculture & Social Change in Colombia
    Track Name Sustainable Agriculture & Social Change in Colombia
    Country Colombia


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.

    Non-University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Once you submit your application, Learning Abroad Center staff will create a University of Minnesota student internet account for you. You will use this account to access the Education Abroad Application System, and other University of Minnesota services. You will be charged a $50 application fee for this program.

    Our staff will contact you within 2–3 business days with your internet account information, and additional application instructions.


    After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:

    • Application Essay

    Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.

    Next Steps

    After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.
  7. Program Contact

    For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

    Molly Micheels or call at 612.624.3949.

Colombia Info Session

Friday, December 6, 2–3 p.m.
310 Alderman Hall, St. Paul