Here’s something useful for people deciding whether or not to do this program, and maybe something interesting for everyone else.
One of the main concerns when going abroad is obviously the dinero. In this program, I’m getting roughly $400/month, and my housing is provided to me. Can you live off $400 a month? Probably not, if you want to take trips or go clubbing every weekend, but if you’re frugal, it’s enough to get by without dipping into your savings too much. Here’s a sample of what a trip to the grocery store cost me here in Armenia. However, it’s worth noting these prices would be higher in a place like Bogota or Cartagena.
1 giant avocado (seriously, they’re huge – .5 kg) = 1335 pesos = $0.66 (based on current exchange rates)
3 granadillas (my friends from Peru may remember these as the alien spawn fruits) = 1436 pesos = $0.71
a dozen eggs = 2880 p = $1.42
1 quart of lactose free milk = 2200 p = $1.08
A bundle of lettuce = 1250 p = $0.62
1 cucumber = 351 p = $0.17
1 pint of cherry tomatoes = 1980 p = $0.98
a bag of granola = 1550 p = $0.76
1 bag of ramen noodles = 800 p = $0.39
A small box of Quaker granola cookes = 3500 p = $1.72
A small bottle of Pantene conditioner = 6950 p = $3.42
A large bottle of drinkable yogurt (not really a thing in the U.S. but similar in size and taste to kefir) = 4900 p = $2.41
All in all I spent a little under $15 for a good amount of groceries. When I went out for a beer the other night, a bottle of domestic beer cost 4000 pesos or about $2. I ate lunch yesterday in a little restaurant near the school, and it cost 5000 pesos (about $2.50) for a lunch that included a glass of guava juice, a bowl of vegetable soup, spaghetti, rice, salad, a piece of fried plantain, and a piece of grilled meat. I was pretty hungry and couldn’t finish it all, because it was so much food. Another nice thing for me is that my apartment is within walking distance from the schools that I teach at, so I don’t have to pay bus fares every day. It’s also a plus, because I walk a lot more than I usually do, and will hopefully break my long tradition of gaining ridiculous amounts of weight after moving to another country. Because buying new pants gets expensive no matter where you are!