Culture Smart! Colombia will help you to understand the complex and often contradictory nature of the Colombian people – why they think and behave as they do – and will show you how you can blend in with these fun-loving, self-reliant individualists. As a result of the sixteenth-century Spanish conquest, modern Colombia’s multiethnic society is a synthesis of Spanish, indigenous, and African traditions, evident in the music, in the food, and in Barranquilla’s famous Carnival.
Colombia has a spectacular landscape, embracing tropical beaches, highland plateaus, the rugged, snow-capped peaks of the Andes, arid deserts, and dense Amazonian jungle – all home to an extraordinarily rich biodiversity. Colombian society is equally diverse. Stylish, cosmopolitan cities coexist with poverty in the beautiful, if neglected, countryside. The Colombian people are emerging from decades of crushing civil war and lawlessness with their spirits unbroken. Animated, light-hearted, and ever ready to enjoy the moment, they are looking to the future with hope and are eager to share their rich and beautiful country with the outside world.
This pocket-sized book reveals Colombia’s key customs and traditions, examines life at home and at work, and introduces you to some distinct and delicious culinary quirks. You’ll learn what Colombians think about each other, their neighbours, and foreigners. There is also advice on safe travel, vital information on how business is done, and how to communicate effectively across the cultural divide.
“Mas vale viejo conocido que nuevo por conocer”
This Colombian saying reflects how long-term friendship is valued. It means that old friends are more valuable and more important than new ones. So, remember that it may take some time to make friends with Colombians, but once you do you will have friends for life.