Thinking about moving to Medellin

Hi everyone,

My name is Maby.  I am thinking about moving to Medellin at the end of summer 2019.  My daughter would be finished with elementary school and I would like her to do middle school and high school in Colombia which is  what's considered "secundaria". 
My parents are both from Colombian but have lived in the States for over 40 years and are now very Americanized. I do not have family in Medellin, Colombia.    In my heart I've always known that I've wanted to live some time in Colombia.  Now I think it's the right time and I've heard that the schools in Medellin are wonderful. 
So this will be a life change and I think I need help with everything.  Any advice is much appreciated.

Not sure what you need , but I be happy to offer my 2 cents .. serious if you need an ear to listen to. Feel free to contact me. What's app  is best. ***

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Hi Maby,

I'm new to Expats and I currently have been in Cartagena for 2 weeks checking various neighborhoods out. I think the weather and environment maybe more to my liking in Medellin so I'll be heading there later this week. Let me know, and I'll keep you posted on the city if you like. I was a teacher in Texas so I hope to get a job teaching English.

All the Best from Colombia!

Hello, Maby,

I'm from the states and have been here now 3 months. It is the best decision I have ever made! The weather, the mountains, and most of all, the people are so beautiful.

All the best,

Scottie Lee

Hi Maby, it sounds as if you like a Challenge! My one piece of advice would be to come here for a visit first, to get a feel for the place, don't come in holiday mode, come and dig into life here.

Fortunately not everyone likes the same places, and it would be a terrible decision to up sticks move here then find you don't like it. I live just outside Medellin, and have been here six years, nothing would drag me away, lovely people, beautiful area, and great climate, but I still know it's not for everyone, especially if you haven't got family support here.

If you decide to place your daughter in a private school you should start looking into schools ASAP. Private schools are complicated at times. Best of luck

Do you have any recommendation on private schools in Medellin?  Thanks,

I'm trying to go to Medellin this summer for a week.   Going to look at neighborhoods, private schools for my daughter and industry's where I can find work.

Thanks! I would love an update on hows it going for you.

My kids study at the Vermont School it's about a 25 minute drive from our home. In the same area you will find the Columbus School (a really good school). For many in Medellin, Columbus and Vermont are the Harvard and Yale of Medellin for bilingual schools.

Both schools do really well on the national exams. I've employed many former students from the Columbus school. Vermont school first graduating class was in 2013 I think. Columbus has been around for over 50 years I think.

However, you have many other options as well. Cumbres is very good, it's a catholic school and the list is pretty long from there. Different price points, different locations. Also keep in mind some schools work on Colombian calendar (A) which starts the school year in January and ends the school year in December (long December break) short July/June break. The Vermont school works on Calendar (B) long June/July break (normal December break) calendar (B) school year begins in August and ends in June similar to the US.

I wrote about all 3 schools mentioned some time ago. Check it out here. … -location/

Things are great for me, my son has been in the same school since he was 4 years old. So far so good. The classes are small. The kids have plenty of green areas to play with tons of fresh air. It's the countryside of Medellin (Retiro) is the name of the municipio. We like it so much out there we are looking to move up there lol .

Hi! I will be moving there this summer with my 10 year old daughter.  I have have spent months looking for the right bilingual school for my daughter, and I decided The Vermont School as the best option, and started their admissions process.
You really need to start looking into the schools, most bilingual schools are at capacity and aren't taking new students.

If I may asked what are the schools requirements?  What kind of paper work would I need to show for my daughter?  Also why did you choose this particular school for your child.  How far in advanced do I need to visit any school I may be interested in? 

Thank you for reaching out any advice or help in this matter would mean the world to me,

Thanks for this post, I'm looking for the same type of information for both my boys!  I'll be going on a scouting trip to Medellin later this summer and I'll certainly share what I learn...

I hope to be going over there at the end of June.  I will be looking into school options and will post what I find as well.


I have been looking into schools for the past 4 months. My top choices were, The Vermont School, The Columbus School, and Montessori School.
The Columbus School has the nicest campus and it's an international school, it's also the most expensive. This school has a very long waiting list, so it's almost impossible getting into, at the current moment.
The Montessori school has a very nice campus and a good curriculum, they also teach French. I believe it's around 2'800,000 COP a month with transportation and food. Some grades have waiting list, so you would have to call the school and get on the waiting list if there is one. It's a B calendar school year, which is the most similar to the States, but this school goes to 11th grade, like most Colombian schools.
My priority is my daughter's education, I want to try and make this, as smooth as transition, as I can for her. This is going to be a huge change for her, coming from a school in the States.
So after much consideration, I believe the best choice for her is The Vermont School. I really like their curriculum, it's an IB School, they go to 12th grade, so upon graduating their diploma is validated in The States. It's also a B Calendar school, which the new school year starts in August, which os important to me. The campus is very nice, my only complaint is that it's a bit far, but they get fresh air, and the scenery is beautiful. Checkout their website, it's quite informative, I emailed them and they emailed back all the information you need to start the admissions process. The application is long, you have to get your child's report cards for the current school year and the past 3 years, and they must be apostille in your current State.
Whichever school you decide on, my suggest is look at their website and email them or call them and if there's a waiting list at least you can get on it now.

Thank you so much I really appreciate the information.   Would you mind telling me the cost of the school, meals and transportation?  Im trying to go to Medellin at the end of June. I'm willing to meet with you if you would like.  2 expats lol . you said 2'800,000 COP for the most expensive school ? so that looks like $980? US Dollars?  is that correct? that seems like a lot of money? That's more than renting a 2 bedroom apt in Medellin.

The Columbus school is the most expensive it's 2'800,000 COP not including food nor transportation. Comes out to be around 3'500,000(+/-) per month.
Vermont School I think with tuition, meals and transportation it's around 2'600(+/-)  I can't remember the exact number. You also need to invest 9'000,000 COP, they claim to use the money towards school improvements, it will be returned upon graduation or withdrawl from the school. Good international schools are very expensive! 
There's a bilingual school called The New School and the tuition is a bit less expensive compared to other schools.  Cumbres will be going up in price and will be over 3'000,000 per month. 
I'm always up to making new friends, I will DM you my info, so we can keep in touch.

Maybe the German School  / Deutsche Schule would be an interesting option, is located in Itagüi  or the Marymount in El Poblado. at the end it would depend on where would you like to live. I would suggest living as close as posible to your work or your daugthers school. In Itagüi you cand find projects like this:  the same project in El poblado, would be twice as much, for sale of rent.

I wouldnt be exposing yourself and your daighter to the air in Medellin.

Its like smoking several cigarettes a day.

Many healthier places in Colombia.

Quechimba :

I wouldnt be exposing yourself and your daighter to the air in Medellin.

Its like smoking several cigarettes a day.

Many healthier places in Colombia.

Traffic and pollution are the biggest concerns for Expats in Medellín, according to a 2016 poll of Expats by Medellín Living.

64 percent of Expats said traffic is a major concern.

59 percent said pollution is a major concern.


The air pollution in Medellín has only gotten worse in the past two years .. and going forward, as well.  The city's growing attraction to foreigners as a permanent Expat location, including perceived safety improvement, continually draws more and more people into the city .. and some of the newcomers buy cars, vans or trucks.

As is discussed in the Medellín Living survey article .. and well-known to local Expats .. the Paisa capital sits in a valley with hills and mountains around it, hampering the dispersion of air pollutants.

google:  medellinliving pollution in medellin

@Quechimba.......You must have meant 2 PACKS of ciggies a day right?  2 ciggies wouldnt be such a big deal..........I couldnt live in Medellin for that reason alone, even tho I like it and appreciate it for its many good qualities........But I could see myself living relatively close to Medellin but definately up and out of the bad air........Are any of these private schools up and out of the inversion layer?

Whether Q meant two packs or two cigarettes a day, the idea that smoking two cigarettes a day is not a health problem is incorrect.

Easily googled, multiple sites and studies show that there is no safe level of smoking.

Common sense says that smoking two packs is worse than two unidades.

But remember .. two cigarettes a day is over 700 cigarettes a year.

Commons sense also says that smoking 700 cigarettes is bad for your heart, your lungs, your life.


I said several not 2.

It is irrelevant. Bit is bad air . And I wouldnt expose myself to it long tern let alone a child.

In the metro Medellín valley, the worst air pollution is found in El Centro of Medellín, in Itagui and in La Estrella.  (Medellín Living)

For Expats who like being around Medellín but don't need to live daily inside the polluted valley itself, a suburban or exurban location within easy driving distance of the Paisa capital .. may be a viable solution.  "Up and out of the bad air" is how Dumluk put it.

Another possible plan is moving to the Coffee Zone, which has cities that can be seen as similar in offerings on a smaller scale.  Historically, the area's streets and central zones have been safer than Medellín.  Vehicle traffic is much less than in major cities. 

Minga House and other projects developed by our member Glen Galindo, now of Chinchiná near Manizales, may provide a way to ease into Coffee Zone life with some English speakers around.  Lately, Glen has been focusing on providing housing in a "mansion" with a swimming pool for USA military veterans.


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