Building a Culture of Peace

Witness history in the making as you experience the peacebuilding process in Colombia.

At a Glance




3 semesters Spanish

Language of Study


Courses taught in



Jun 15 ‎– Jul 26

Program Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Peace & Justice

Peace & Justice Icon

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon


Why study peace in Colombia?

Living in Colombia, you will study the country’s 2016 peace accords, which have put an end to its prolonged conflict. You will learn about these accords, which call for reparations, reintegration, and reconciliation, and see how Colombia is constructing a culture of peace. You’ll live with a host family for four weeks in multicultural Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore challenges of cultivating peace. You’ll meet with human rights defenders, victims, community activists, and ex-guerrilla combatants to understand how Colombians view this historic peace process.

During a two-week excursion to Sincelejo, Sucre, you’ll participate in community-based peacebuilding activities at SembrandoPaz, a nongovernmental peacebuilding organization. In addition, you’ll learn about the organization’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of conflict and to rebuild, reconstruct, and revive fractured relations and displaced communities.

You will also develop Spanish language skills to discuss peacebuilding, reconciliation, and community issues through classroom learning, cultural immersion, homestays, and excursions.


  • Learn about the history of Colombia’s conflict and its beleaguered peace accords.
  • Build a theoretical and conceptual understanding of creating a culture of peace.
  • Participate in two weeks of community-based peacebuilding activities.
  • Experience the vibrant, multicultural Caribbean coast city of Cartagena.


Three semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent, and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.



The program’s local, field-based excursions give you additional opportunities to learn about building a culture of peace. Highlights include visits to the Museum of the Inquisition, reconciliation workshops, feminist NGOs, and peace organizations

Sincelejo, Sucre

During this two-week excursion to rural communities around Sincelejo, you will learn about and participate in community-based peacebuilding activities with the nongovernmental organization SembrandoPaz. You will have the unique opportunity to meet with peacemakers, employees at state institutions, human rights defenders, victims, advocates, church workers, community activists, social movement leaders, and guerrilla ex-combatants, among others, and to visit and stay in rural communities that were directly affected by the armed conflict.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.



Access virtual library guide.

This program examines the history of Colombia’s conflict and the current realities of the peace process. Students will learn about efforts to address the conflict by international, national, and community organizations and how the country is working to implement reparations, reintegration, and reconciliation. Through seminars, discussions, lectures, and field visits, students will develop a theoretical and conceptual understanding of the construction of a culture of peace. They will witness the consequences and challenges of recovering from prolonged conflict and apply theories and concepts across world issues.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Conflict and post-conflict issues and society, politics, and culture
  • Theories of peacebuilding
  • Core elements of a culture of peace
  • The Colombian peace accords and the process of implementation
  • Community-based practice and theory
  • The complexities of reparations, reintegration, and reconciliation

Building a Culture of Peace

Building a Culture of Peace – syllabus
(PEAC3000 / 3 credits)

Colombia is recently emerging from decades of conflict and today provides an excellent setting in which to examine the forging of a culture of peace. This course examines the various measures, strategies, programs, and projects that have been put in place by international, national, and community organizations to mitigate the impact of conflict and to rebuild, reconstruct, and revive fractured relations and displaced communities. Students will have an opportunity to learn from and participate with a community-based approach to post-conflict reconciliation and resettlement. Based in the Caribbean Coast city of Cartagena, the course will expose students to the social dynamics of reconciliation and peacebuilding. Students will have opportunities to learn outside the classroom, thus deepening their understanding and analysis of the issues discussed and read about. This course is taught in Spanish and English, with readings, lectures, and discussions happening in either or both languages, depending on the context.

Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies

Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies I – syllabus
(SPAN2503 / 3 credits)

Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies II – syllabus
(SPAN3003 / 3 credits)

Spanish for Social and Cultural Studies III – syllabus
(SPAN3503 / 3 credits)

In this course, students build their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They practice reading as they learn the formal terms and local expressions needed to discuss peacebuilding, reconciliation, and community issues and to interact in settings related to the program themes. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in classes according to their language level and receive further language practice in the homestays and on field visits.



Live with a local family for approximately four weeks over the course of the summer and experience the Caribbean port city of Cartagena. The city is known for its beautiful beaches and its historic Old Town, with cobblestone streets, colorful colonial buildings, and lively squares.

Improve your Spanish skills through daily practice with your host family and gain valuable exposure to Colombia’s traditions and cultures. Most host families are middle-class and live in apartments or small houses in the city.

Sincelejo – Rural Stay

After a few days of orientation in the city of Sincelejo, you’ll move to rural, agricultural communities where you will live with host families or in community centers or dorms.  Sincelejo and surrounding communities were directly impacted by the armed conflict and there is a large population of displaced families. However, since the demobilization and more recently with the peace agreement, the communities of this region have gradually rebuilt their economy, which is mostly based on agricultural productivity, and are creatively confronting the challenges of reconciliation.

Other Accommodations

Shared dorms in program centers, hostels, or small hotels

Faculty & Staff

Colombia: Building a Culture of Peace

Beatriz E. Balanta, PhD
Academic Director
Lillian Hall, MS
Sembrandopaz Team and Rural Excursion Coordinator

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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