Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Here you can find general information about the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia and an interview with an IRIO student who spend his time abroad here.

“Pontificia Universidad Javeriana promotes comprehensive training of people, human values, development and transmission of science and culture, and contribute to the development, guidance, constructive criticism and transformation of society.”

Dreaming of spending your semester abroad in South America? The Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá is a private higher education institution founded in 1623. It is one of the oldest and most traditional Colombian universities, directed by the Society of Jesus, with its main campus in Bogotá and a sectional division in Cali. It is one of the 31 universities entrusted to the Society of Jesus in Latin America (AUSJAL) and one of 114 worldwide. It is the first higher education institution in the country to be awarded Institutional Accreditation by the Colombian Ministry of Education. Additionally, the University ranks fifth in Colombia for having the largest number of recognized research groups

The University in Bogotá has 18 Schools comprising 193 academic programs providing different areas of knowledge, giving the university its multidisciplinary nature. The Bogotá Campus comprises 18 hectares and 45 buildings in total.

Moreover, there are many students: 18,101 undergraduate students, 3,046 graduate students, 2,911 enrolled in distance learning and over 31,500 participants in continuing education programs.

Any foreign student interested in studying at Javeriana University as a normal academic student with a minimum class hour intensity of 10 hours per week, or in virtue of a Student Exchange Program, must request a Temporary Student Visa (TE) before the Colombian Consulate at Their Country of origin. This is Granted Visa for a maximum term of one year, with multiple entries. The TE Visa does not allow the student to work in Colombia.

Language and additional requirements (such as the TOEFL test):

A Spanish level of CEFR B1 is needed. Moreover, a RUG Language Test needs to be taken.


Javeriana University does not have dormitories, but helps foreign students to get a family home or college dorm that hosts it for the duration of their studies in Colombia. The approximate value of the costs of accommodation, meals included, is between $ 320 and $ 650 per month.

For help in achieving accommodation in Bogotá, students can contact the Student Support Point, sending an email to apoyoaestudiantes@javeriana.edu.co


  • BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2017: 95th
  • World University Rankings 2018:  501-600th

(Abstract taken from:









How did you find where to spend your semester abroad? How did the application go? Was it your first choice?

Already from the beginning of my studies I played with the idea of going to Latin America for my semester abroad in order to improve my Spanish skills. I chose Colombia because a part of my family lives there, I on the other hand have only been there once before. Another thing that played a role in my decision making was that the university in Bogotá offered quite a range of interesting courses within the IR and the Political Science faculty.

What were the requirements for you to go to this place?

One applied as to any other university that is part of the faculty exchange, with a one-page motivation letter, your grades and a preference list. The RUG also asked for a language certificate stating my Spanish proficiency, however when I contacted the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, they did not have any specific requirements from their part and said the RUG language minor in Spanish would suffice.

What was/is your favourite sightseeing spot there?

The entire historical city center is worth a visit and you will be able to spend many of your free time there. You will find lots of history and art museums, most of which are for free (at least on Sundays and Wednesdays), public places with street artists and markets of handcrafted goods, some of the government buildings, and within walking distance you will find the mountain Montserrate with one of Bogotá’s most important churches on top - from here you have a beautiful panoramic view over the city.

What was/is your favourite local food there? Are there any surprising dishes we need to know about?

Due to its geographic location, you will find basically any imaginable kind of fruit and vegetable on the markets in Colombia. Besides this, everywhere in the streets, you will find stands selling local street food called Arepas (corn flatbread), Empanadas (fried stuffed samosas), fried yucca/cassava/manioc or obleas (wafers with a lot of sweet stuff on them). However, my favourite local food is definitely Colombian hot chocolate, which people drink while dropping pieces of cheese and dipping their (slightly too sweet) bread into it;)

Were/are there many green spaces to relax, such as cool parks?

Although Bogotá is a huge city with its more than 8 million people, there are plenty of parks and green spaces to escape the noise and pollution. The biggest one is called Parque de Simón Bolívar and throughout the year various (mostly free) festivals and concerts are hosted there on the weekends.

Did/do you practice any sports or were you active in other associations there?

The university has quite a big gym on campus, which is free for all students as well as exchange students. Besides this I also went to the ciclovía once in a while - every Sunday and Holiday, some of the big streets will be closed in order for the people to ride their bikes or go for a run.

Did/do you go out a lot? Where should we definitely go?

I went out a couple of times and Bogotá is definitely the best place to party in Colombia. You will find a lot of Salsa and Reggeaton bars, however the electro & techno scene is also relatively big within Bogotá. From the bigger clubs I would recommend checking out Theatron, which is a LGBTQ+ bar and dance club that has 13 floors with all kinds of different music and can fit up to 5000 people. But you can always check on https://labitagora.com/ for free concerts, parties and events in Bogota if your budget is running low.

What did/do you think of the university? The location? The campus? The buildings? The teachers? The study programme? Was the university helpful to international students?

I was mostly satisfied with the academic quality of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and my experience at this university in general. It is a private university and belongs to one of the best in Colombia. It is located in Chapinero, a neighbourhood with a lot of restaurants, affordable housing and nightlife. Getting there is quite easy, since the campus is located at the septima (one of Bogotá’s main streets) and there are a lot of busses passing by. However, if you live close, you can easily walk or take the bike.

All faculties are located on the same campus, which is open so that everybody can enter. Still, you will need your student card to get into certain buildings or facilities. There are two bigger libraries, however, the main library is quite busy most of the times. Throughout the campus you will find various different kiosks and two big cafeterias - yet, if you look for some change, just across the street are lots of cafés and cheap restaurants.

As in any university you will find very qualified teachers and others with which you might have a hard time, however, in general all the university staff (including the international office) are very kind and helpful if one has any questions.

There are many courses to choose from; I took one course about multidimensional security, one about migration, one dealing with the external politics of Colombia, one about environmental issues and another one about the history of Colombia’s internal conflict.

How did/does it go financially? The accommodation (provided by the university or not)? Food? Public transport?

I got the marco polo fund and applied for the Groningen University fund. Accommodation is not provided by the university, but you can rather easily find it on facebook. However, I would recommend to only book something for the first month(s) or without the condition that you have to stay for a certain amount of time, so that you can take another look at different housing options when you are there. Housing prices will vary from 200-350€ depending on the area you will be living. For me it seemed as if Colombians usually do not cook that much, since eating at a restaurant will often be cheaper than buying the ingredients individually. For the public buses you will need a bus card (comparable to the OV-card) and the fare is 2,000-2,200 COP (~ 0,60€). Uber is used a lot in Colombia and especially in Bogotá it is a cheap(er) and saver alternative to taking a taxi.

What did/do you think of the workload (compared to the RUG)?

The amount of literature we had to read was comparable to what I have to read at the RUG, at times it seemed even more because everything was in Spanish. However, since you have to hand in assignments more frequently and the academic standards do not seem as high as in Groningen, the workload was manageable.

Did/do you meet many international students? Was there an international environment or did/do you really need knowledge of the national language?

Yes, there are many International Students from all over the world and the university arranges activities only for exchange students. Many of the Colombian students know English, however since most courses are taught in Spanish one needs to know how to at least communicate in Spanish on a basis level.

What was the most surprising thing about this new culture?

What is the funniest word you learned in the new language?

I was surprised of the size of the country and the diversity of its nature. There are deserts, tropical rain forests, mountains, islands and picturesque beaches due the countries geographic location right at the equator, between the pacific and the Caribbean sea, with the Andes crossing through it and the Amazone River in the South. 

A lot of people call their boyfriends, male friends or sons “papí” and their girlfriends, female friends or daughters “mamí.”

Any last words or quotes that describe your exchange perfectly?

Never gonna drink my hot chocolate any other way ;)

This interview was given by Anne Danker - if you wish to get in contact with her, send an email to info@clio.nl


Grades are given on a scale from 1 - 10.




Points of interest

(not so many <-> lots of museums etc.)


In Bogotá there is always stuff to see or to do. I assure you, you will never get bored! Same counts for the entire country.


(only local food <-> great variety of restaurants)


There is probably the biggest variety of fruit and vegetables I have ever encountered, however, the local cuisine mainly uses rice, platane, beans and always meat. If you are travelling it might be hard to find vegetarian options that are not merely side dishes (should not be a problem in Bogotá though).


(none <-> several natural parks/recreational parks)


You will no where else get more nature in just one country than in Colombia!


(limited <-> many options)


There is a lot of sports, perhaps not everything is offered by the university, but there are many different clubs and other activities that one can do in the city or out in the nature.

Social Activities

(limited <-> many theatres/cinemas/pubs/clubs)


From salsa bars, over alternative cinemas, theatres, to some of the most vibrant clubs in Latin America, Bogotá has everything one desires. Additionally, the Colombian people are known for their ability to dance all night and anybody visiting will assure you that it’s true ;)




Size of the University 

(small <-> big)


Comparable to the RUG, but everything on one campus.

Relationship students-professors

(informal <-> formal)


Depends on the professor, but in general you are advised to show respect towards your professors.

Language requirements

(English suffices <-> other languages are needed)


A certain Spanish proficiency is definitely recommended since most courses are taught in Spanish.

The study programme

(easy <-> difficult/intense)


Workload comparable with the RUG, however, some assignments might seem to demand less academic quality.


(few international students <-> many international students)


We were around 150 exchange students.

Location of the University

(hard to reach <-> close by)


The university is fairly easy to reach with public transport or by bike/foot.





(expensive <-> cheap)


Food in general is super cheap in comparison to the Netherlands (you will get a lunch incl. soup, salad, juice and small desert for ~3€).


(difficult to find & expensive <-> easy & affordable)


Accommodation is rather easy to find, however depending on where one lives the prices are comparable to Groningen.

Our sponsors