Tag Archives: Christmas

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Christmas in Bogota – by Laura Blasena. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – Christmas in Bogota – by Laura Blasena. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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While I didn’t spent Christmas or New Years in Colombia, as a teacher of culture and language I unavoidably discussed family holiday traditions with my students, and also learned a little about holiday traditions in Colombia from those in my teaching program that decided to stay in Colombia for the holidays.

What happens in Bogota for Christmas?

Well, before Christmas, there are large displays of holiday lights that go up in the “parks” in downtown Bogota. Being a mainly Catholic country, it isn’t surprising to see light displays of the three wise men bringing gifts to baby Jesus or an actual nativity scene sitting out on public property. Bogota and Medellin are the two cities best known for their Christmas lights and decorations, though Medellin is said to have such a good lights display that people often travel to the city just to see them.

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(Medellin’s Christmas lights feature alligators and hippos.)

I’m not entirely sure if it’s considered a tradition, but from living in Bogota during the days before Christmas I can say that Christmas hats are a very big thing. Many of the street vendors in Bogota switch out their stock based on the season, and for Christmas they invest heavily in crazy Christmas hats that light up and feature little bells at the end. If you walk down the Septima (one of the major streets in Bogota) in the evening, you’ll see families out for a walk with each of the children wearing a long stocking cap striped with red, green, and white, or a hat with a giant waving, light-up snowman.

As for during Christmas, many Colombians I’ve met jokingly say that nothing happens in Bogota for Christmas. The reason? Everybody in Bogota travels wherever else possible during the holidays. Bogota is one of the coldest large cities in Colombia, so warmth and sun is often the goal and huge amounts of families travel to the coast (Cartagena, Cali, Santa Marta, and Barranquilla) during the holiday season. The coast is packed, and prices skyrocket in the December-January season for flights and hotels.

In contrast, prices for Bogota hotels in December are nearly halved. A hotel that is usually 150,000 pesos a night (about $50 USD) will drop to 90,000 pesos (about $30 USD).

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About our special correspondent Laura Blasena: Ever since I was a little Kindergartner I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.

I graduated from St. Scholastica in the summer of 2015 with a double major in Elementary Education and Spanish Education after student teaching as a 5th grade teacher and also as a Spanish teacher at NorthStar in Duluth, Minnesota.

While my future plans before graduation were initially to become a classroom teacher, I decided to wait a year to begin teaching in the United States and have chosen to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bogota, Colombia. In Colombia, I will be working with a university as an assistant in the language department, attending classes, running conversation clubs, and offering the perspective of a native speaker.

I’ve always loved to travel. In college, I participated in several study abroad trips, visiting England, Guatemala, and Mexico. (I loved visiting Mexico so much that I even went back a second time!). I’m looking forward to the travel opportunities that I will have while working and living in Colombia.

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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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