Things That Matter

20 Facts To Know About Colombia Before You Make That Big Trip

Colombia is a country full of surprises, its food, music, festivals and diversity are what make it one of the most authentic and fun places to visit! Here are some facts about it, that you will love.

1. Colombia is a pretty big deal when it comes to size.

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

This ain’t no one week tour kind of country. Colombia’s surface size is equivalent to the sum of France, Spain, and Portugal combined. Patience for those who plan travel off the beaten path is essential. Pro tip; internal flights are cheap, particularly for those who book in advance.

2. Colombia is a land of many neighbors.

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

Colombia’s land borders with five different countries including Venezuela, Brazil, Panamá, Perú and Ecuador. It’s close connection to these countries make it a great hub for international travel.

3. It has the 2nd highest coastal mountain range in the world

CREDIT: oskarconkha / Instagram

Mountain lovers will be excited to learn that Colombia is home to the Sierra Nevada. Still, be prepared to appreciate from afar especially when it comes to Cristobal Colon. For the indigenous of the region, the mountain is considered sacred and access is not open to the public.

4. It has the tallest palm trees in the world

CREDIT: travelmore_tina_fabio / Instagram

One of the coolest fun facts about Colombia is that it is home to the world’s biggest palm trees. Some can measure up to 60 m!

5. El Dorado has a lake full of gold

CREDIT: wanderlustexplorer / Instagram

Fans of Disney and tall tales probably already know all about the legend of El Eldorado. The secret city where gold supposedly paves the streets and lights up water. Treasure hunters have spent centuries in search of the gold-laced city lost in the jungle.

6. The world’s most beloved hips were born here.

CREDIT: shakira_2018_ / Instagram

The famous singer and “The Voice” judge Shakira was born in Colombia. You can even hear a shout out to the country in a lot of her songs.

7. It was a pirate gold mine

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

A Spanish shipwreck worth billions of dollars was found odd of the coast of Colombia by the government.

8. Colombia is just a nickname!

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

The official name of Colombia is the Republic of Colombia. The country declared its independence from Spain in 1810 but wasn’t recognized until 1819.

9. It has the 28th largest population in the world.

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

The country has an estimated population of over 49 million, it’s total area of 44-,831 square miles makes it the 25th largest country by area.

10. The official language is Spanish, but English is official in certain areas

CREDIT: vaovatravel / Instagram

There are other ethnic languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. San Andres Island has English as an official language, as well as Spanish.

11. The flag has meaning.

CREDIT: haptraveler / Instagram

The national flag of Colombia was adopted on November 26, 1861. The flag is known to have triband with horizontal bands of yellow, blue and red. Yellow represents the riches of the country. Blue represents the seas of its shores and red represents blood spilled for its independence.

12. It has the largest Gold Collection in the World.

CREDIT: museo–de-oro.Colomcia.Co.Dec 2012

The Gold Museum is located in Bogotá and has the largest gold collection in the world. The museum displays a selection of Pre Hispanic gold work with approximately 34.000 pieces. It’s a must when visiting the city.

13. It has a whole lot of jungle.

CREDIT: fotografia_butterfly / Instagram

One-third of Colombia is made up of the Amazon rainforest.

14. It has one of the highest cities in the world.

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At 8,530 ft Bogota is the highest city of its size on the world map.

15. Bogota is also one of the world’s smartest.

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

The cities great tech advances have also made it known as one of the smartest cities in the world.

16. It has the Salsa Capital of the World.

CREDIT: Learn to dance Cali .Caledonia Worldwide.Jan 2017

If you are a Salsa lover you need to visit Cali, the Salsa Capital of the World! You won’t stop dancing on your visit.

17. Kids get hyped up on cafe con leche.

CREDIT: blackbeandeli / Instagram

As is true for most Latin American countries it is pretty normal to see children of Colombia sipping on coffee after dinner.

18. Bikers beware.

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

Colombia has one of the largest bike routes in South America. It stretches over 300 kilometers.

19. It has a high life expectancy.

CREDIT: tuecology / Instagram

The overall life expectancy of the average Colombian male at birth is 71.2 years and 78.4 years for females.

20. Is One of the Happiest Countries in the World.

CREDIT: colombia.travel / Instagram

According to different studies Colombia is on of the happiest countries in the world. Main reasons for this are its music, festivals, people and of course food!


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Nicole Chapaval Advocates For More Latinas In Tech Through Teaching App Platzi

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Nicole Chapaval Advocates For More Latinas In Tech Through Teaching App Platzi

The gender disparity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) jobs remains wide in Colombia. As of 2019, Colombian women hold 32.9 percent of all STEM jobs in the country.

Nicole Chapaval, the VP of education at Platzi, wants to get more women into STEM. As someone who found herself in tech, Chapaval understands what it takes for women to break into the industry.

Chapaval’s own passion for computer science started in her youth. Despite wanting her parents’ reservations about her career choice, she went to school to study software engineering.

“I learned how to code with Platzi. I was a student back in 2012 before I worked here,” she told mitú.

Platzi is a professional learning app targeting people ages 22 and older.

Photo courtesy of Apple

Instructors for the app are teaching livestream courses on programming, marketing, design, and business. The classes are available in English and Spanish.

Chapaval took an interest in content optimization practicing her coding on a personal blog while taking online courses. Starting out as a student advocate, the two founders of Platzi noticed her dedication and started to involve her more in the team.

As Platzi expanded, so did Chapaval’s job description.

Chapaval has been successful in her career. Yet, despite the success, she has seen the gender disparity firsthand. It has only further inspired Chavapal to work to get more women in their tech careers.

“One of my first jobs was in a company that was doing mobile applications and in this company there were 15 male developers and myself,” she says.

Wanting to engage with her male colleagues, Chapaval admitted to feeling weird when her enthusiasm was not reciprocated.

“I was always very extroverted and wanted to meet everyone [but] they didn’t want to talk with me,” she says.

Chapaval teaches 60 percent of computer sciences courses hoping to attract more women to the field.

Photo courtesy of Apple

“I think that representation is very important. So I try to be very vocal and very present with everything that we do in social media and in content creation,” she says.

Whether it be attending company livestreams or podcasts, it is imperative for Chapaval to have women witness others in the field to show the possibilities they can achieve.

Prideful, she also amplifies the achievements of other Latinas in STEM, like that of Diana Trujillo. Yet, she still expresses a need for more women to get managerial roles.

“I am very proud of Trujillo,” she says. “She’s from my hometown and she was in the NASA project that launched the Perseverance Rover. These kinds of things are great!”

Thirty-six percent of Platzi‘s more than 1 million students are women and it is growing.

Photo courtesy of Apple

“That’s very low,” she says, “but we doubled that percentage from 2018 so we still have a long way to go.”

A key step needed to attract more students is accessibility, both financially and in content. Platzi, Chapaval mentions, offers free programming courses that aim to be accessible to those with low internet connection in all parts of Colombia and Latin America.

It’s not just about what you are learning as an individual, but also as a team or a group,” she says. “That also adds to the working ecosystem of Latin America.”

Regardless of gender, age, or background, Chapaval believes “education is very important if we want to break these blockers.”

In fact, two crucial skills she believes everyone should know is programming and English. “I like to say that both skills have to do with communications; communication with machines and with other people in the world,” she says.

In a time when remote jobs are pertinent due to the pandemic, having communication skills is a valuable asset for STEM careers in any country.

“Programming should be a basic skill that schools teach as well because it’s not only [beneficial] to be a developer,” Chapaval says. “It helps you understand how to solve problems in a logical way.”

Chapaval is grateful for her personal growth in STEM and hopes that Platzi can help others grow.

Photo courtesy of Apple

“I hope [students] can create what they dream of with the coding skills that they can get with us and can show it to the world,” she says.

“Latin America is a lovely region and a lot is happening here,” she says. “I hope that if this community can get to know each other and create the next big companies and big solutions for problems that we have right now, I would [be] fulfilled.”

As the gender disparity in STEM slowly expands, Chapaval continues to vouch for women to speak up and push through in the field.

Proudly Chapaval says, “Latinas are very extroverted, and the tech and software engineering world needs more extroverted people [like us] to add to their ecosystem.”

The App Store featured Platzi for Women’s History Month.

Read: She Came As A Teen From Colombia With Only $300 To Her Name, Now She’s a Director For NASA

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Americans Are So Fed Up With The Pandemic They’re Willing To Give Up Sex To Travel

Things That Matter

Americans Are So Fed Up With The Pandemic They’re Willing To Give Up Sex To Travel

What do you miss most about pre-COVID life? Is it eating out at restaurants? Going to the club to perrear? Or is it traveling? For many Americans, it seems like the number one answer would be traveling. In fact, a huge number of Americans miss traveling so much that they would be willing to give up sex just to be able to go on a trip right now. 

So just how many people are willing to give up sex for a trip right now?

According to an informal survey conducted by travel site Trivago, a whopping 38% of Americans say they’d give up sex for an entire year to go on a trip right now. And that’s a poll of 2,000 people! 

“After a year that changed everything, it’s clear that modern travel has been profoundly altered, perhaps forever. As the vaccine rollout continues and restrictions begin to lift in parts of the globe, eager travelers everywhere wait patiently for the clear signal to be able to get away and adventure once again,” Trivago shared in a statement alongside its survey results. “The results reveal significant desires to travel, including what consumers would give up, what they’d like to do and where they’d like to go, as well as why they’d like to get back on the road.”

But it wasn’t just sex…Americans are willing to give up a lot that they care about for a trip.

Beyond finding out that more than one-third of Americans would give up sex for a year, Trivago also found that one in five people would give up their partner to travel now, and one in four said they’d give up all their savings. Additionally, nearly 50% of respondents in the U.S. said they’d happily give up their job to hit the road again.

Why are people so willing to give it all up for a few vacations?

“More than 80% of those surveyed somewhat or strongly agree that travel is a part of a well-rounded life,” Trivago added. “The concept of travel as a form of self-care/wellness and to expand one’s perspective is one that continues to grow.”

It noted, in both the U.S. and the UK, a substantial majority of respondents said that being prevented from traveling freely is one of the worst aspects of the pandemic and that because of the pandemic this is the most they’ve ever felt like traveling.

But hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer. Although international travel is still largely discouraged by governments around the world, some level of travel is starting to return to normal. But until we have the COVID-19 pandemic under control, it’s important we do our part to keep everyone safe. Things like staycations, domestic trips, and even taking a virtual vacation. While it may not be entirely the same thing, at least you won’t have to give up all the good parts of life to get it.

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