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EXPAT ASSGMT MEDELLIN: TO GO OR NOT TO GO?

by elgie Online Now Sep 21, 2004 at 3:24 PM

Hi everyone, My company (a large multinational) has offered me an assignment in Medellin. I need an advice from other "corporate junkies" - what is this place like? My major concern is security (have a wife and a little baby). All the bad rap about Colombia and Medellin, specifically, - how far/close is it to the reality? Also - basic necessities: what's the quality of medical services, can you find an English-speaking doctor/dentist, regular shopping, social activities. How much strain will absence of Spanish skills put on you? (I plan to study Spanish, no question about that, but I'm ZERO now). MOST IMPORTANTLY: do you know any other sites (preferably forums) for EXPATS IN MEDELLIN or Colombia (spent a couple of hours on the internet, couldn't find anything even remotely useful). Thanks in advance.

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5 Answers
  • Re: EXPAT ASSGMT MEDELLIN: TO GO OR NOT TO GO?

    by ColombiaBoard Online Now Sep 29, 2004 at 7:43 PM

    HI, I think you´re the same guy who posted these same questions at the poorbuthappy site, aren´t you? Well, if you are then you got lots of answers to your questions, including mine, but you didn´t include one very important question there that I´d like to answer here: quality of medical services. Medellin has some of the most respected and advanced medical facilities in south america. Many foreigners go to Medellin to have their medical procedures done there because of the quality and the lower prices than in the U.S. There are several top level hospitals with excellent medical teams and technology. It´s better if you study spanish before you get there, probably your colleagues are fluent or somewhat fluent in english but besides that you won´t find many people on the street who could have a conversation with you. Shopping? there are five large malls, many supermarkets and shopping areas. I hope this helps.

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    Re: EXPAT ASSGMT MEDELLIN: TO GO OR NOT TO GO?

    by bickerss Online Now Nov 14, 2004 at 4:33 AM

    Medellin is great!!! Poblado area is really nice. Didnt find to many english speaking people, but generally doctors etc do, cause many train in the states.

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  • RE: EXPAT ASSGMT MEDELLIN: TO GO OR NOT TO GO?

    by lfds Online Now Jan 1, 2006 at 11:16 AM

    Well, Medellin is the second biggest city in Colombia, the only one with Metro system, with to Bus Terminals and Two Airports. It is the Medicine, Confection, Sports and Industry capital of Colombia.
    Medellín is world leader in Organ and tissue transplants, we have the best water quality in South America as well as the more advanced technology and communications plataform in the Country.
    There is violence as in other city of the western world, we have the international festivals of: Flowers, Jazz, Poetry, Fashion and Christmas.
    About English, you can easily found place where they speak it, as well as doctors.
    Medellin is in fact a really good place to life.

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  • RE: EXPAT ASSGMT MEDELLIN: TO GO OR NOT TO GO?

    by Actorroute Online Now Jan 2, 2006 at 7:52 AM

    Ok,firstly- the last reply was written by a "paisa", i.e. a person from Medellin. I think you should do listen to what "natives" have to say about their city and the general sitaution. BUT..do consider the fact that like all of us they also tend to turn a blind eye to situations and events that we from Europe or the US would NOT consider as part of our day to day normal lives. I have lived outside my native Western European country for more than ten years now and the normal reponse you get from people from the "southern" hemisphere is that "just like all major cities we have crime" or "like all countries we have poverty". I do not like this response and it is due to local and national pride and the fact that the vast majority of people have not been outside their own country and seen something vastly different. Visit Scandinavia and then tell me if "all countries" have problems with crime and poverty!?

    Ok, depending on where you are from in the states but Medellin have their fair share of problems. Poverty and crime rates are high, eventhough the sitaution have improved a lot (this depends a lot where you live also. In some areas you are never faced with poverty). With a white non-colombian face you will be treated differently. When visiting a market for example, you will pay a different and higher price than locals, that´s a given. Taxi drivers will often screw you over due to this as well. Doctors etc. do speak english will but the general person won´t, so yes do learn spanish. People will also appreciate the effort if you try to speak to them in their native tongue. If you live in the south-east or south-west of the city, you will be living in great comfort and be safe I would say. There are a bunch of malls where you could spend time with your family. There are also some get-aways putside of the city. Small cute villages that are nice to visit for a weekend. Note however that some parts are not that great to visit and don´t drive at night outside of Medellin. Some roads are also closed off at night.

    I am sure you would like Medellin. It is so much nicer than Bogota. The climate, the people, the city is prettier and more green. What you always have to conside here though is that you need to be aware of situations that might arise. Secuirty is an issue, but if you just know what to do to you should be alright. Listen to what the locals do. If they don´t go out walking in some areas at night, neither do you. Just remember my point of local pride and that you with a foreign appearance always will be in the spotlight as there are few foreigners here.

    If you are hesitant, go there and visit first! The bad rep the city has gained is unfair nowadays. It is not a war zone! You just need to know the what-to and the what-not to do´s. Good luck!

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  • RE: RE: EXPAT ASSGMT MEDELLIN: TO GO OR NOT TO GO?

    by katrina1971 Online Now Apr 17, 2006 at 9:29 AM

    This is for the owner to the last replay. I´m a "paisa" woman and I don´t know What the hesitant man did, anyway I´m agree what everything you wrote him, your's is a good picture about our city and situation, and i think he must go to Medellin to discover by him self what the city is.

    Thank you to be honest, i´m sure he´ll appreciate.

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