Bogota - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

N/A. Most go to CNG but there’s a broad range (Anglican, French, local Colombian, etc.). - May 2024

There are French, British and American international schools; they are far from the Canadian embassy though - Aug 2023

My kids attend CNG - Colegio Nueva Granada - the American school. Lots of kids also attend the British option CGB North of town. Some kids attend the French school or Gimnasio moderno (boys school in Chico.) There are lots of options but most Embassy kids attend the either CNG or CGB. - Feb 2021

Many options for schools. The most frequently used school does not guarantee admission of Embassy kids. You need to apply early. The commute to CGB is long. Some children attend the French Lycee. - Feb 2020

There are a variety of schools available, none of them perfect. Our kids attend the DOS-supported school, Colegio Nueva Granada, and we have been generally very happy with the large campus, academics, transportation, and after-school activities. Communication is kind of hit-or-miss and seems to depend mostly on the teacher. CNG does the best with accommodating special needs. Other families choose Colegio Gran Bretana (British), Gimnasio Moderno (boys only, and on the South American calendar), British Montessori, French school. Your choice of school will depend on your preferences in terms of language, commute time, calendar, and/or special needs. - Nov 2018

There are actually many, I've found. The two that the embassy families use the most are Colegio Nueva Grenada (CNG) and Colegio Gran Bretaña (CGB), but I know families who send their kids to the French school and some of the others. I've heard some complaints that people came in and didn't realize that there were options other than CNG (the "American" School). Do your research.

My kids attend CGB and I love it! I'm so pleased we chose it. It's farther out than CNG, but because of the small buses they use, the kids get picked up at the same time as the CNG kids in our building. I hear people complain about the commute up to CGB, but it's families who DON'T attend who are complaining that it's too far or that their kids are on the bus for too long. My kids haven't complained about it. (I'll write a School Report soon.) I would say that most of the embassy kids do go to CNG, but embassy kids make up 5% at CGB right now. CGB is a much more international school, and it's much smaller. If your kids have been in in French schools, the French school seems like a great option, and is walking distance from most housing in Chico. - Sep 2018

Lots of international schools. Lots of kids go to Colegio Nueva Granada (CNG) and Colegio Gran Britanica (CGB), but there are other options, too. No personal experience with either, but people seem happy with the school options here. - Aug 2018

Commute times can be over an hour. - May 2018

There are several good private schools to choose from, the vast majority of embassy kids go to CNG due to its close location to housing. Bullying is considered a problem in the higher grades but my kids haven't had a problem in the primary school. Most families who attend CGB are very pleased with the school and experience no bullying; however, it's quite far from our housing which does become an issue for many families. There are also several great private Spanish speaking only schools available to choose from as well, if that is something of interest to your family. - Apr 2016

No experience, although I've heard so-so reports about the Colegio Nueva Granada (CNG), where most of the US Embassy kids go. I've heard better things about the French and British schools. - Aug 2015

The international schools present serious issues for the American kids. I have extensive experience with Colegio Gran Bretana (CGB - The British School). Please know your children will hear regular anti-American comments and criticisms by the teachers on a regular basis and in front of the classroom. They will be questioned in front of the class about why the Americans do this or that or why American policy is what it is. They will be taught America did not really participate in World War II or World War I. The children will be taught many "conspiracy theories" about how the American Government may have known about the attack on Pearl Harbor before it took place but chose to do nothing. These are just a couple of examples. The kids are taught to be ashamed of being American. The regular anti-American comments leave the door wide open for the Americans to be bullied by the Colombian kids who are absolutely favored at the school. There is a great deal of prejudice against children who are not Caucasian or who are not Hispanic with light colored skin. This is coming from a parent of caucasian children who was regularly shocked by comments made to fellow American classmates such as "don't touch me or your black may rub off" or "you'd better get out of the sun you are already so black." These comments are common and no actions are taken to prevent or correct them. Institutional racism is taught in the classroom through the presentation of the "social pyramid." This pyramid shows the white skinned Colombians at the top, and moves all the way down to the black-skinned Colombians who are at the bottom of the pyramid. There are comments made to the class about how it is wrong to mix the races. The 2013-2014 yearbook makes it clear through comments made by the administration that state the idea of the melting pot reminds the administration of -and I quote- "sludge." This can be easily read - just get a copy of the 2013-2014 yearbook and read comments made by school leadership. The British teachers regularly humiliate the children by announcing grades to the class, with an emphasis on those who did the best and those who did the worst. Children hear comments such as "you don't seem to have 2 brain cells." This is coming from a parent whose children were very successful academically. Some teachers will comment on the appearance of your children in negative ways in front of the class to include comments about hairstyles. For example "What did you do to your hair? That seems like a bad choice." The Colombian kids will not/not accept the American kids as friends. It doesn't matter if your children are outgoing or have been socially successful in other posts or in the U.S. Your children will not succeed socially in this environment. Many American kids ended up in private counseling due to the stress of bullying and the overall environment. Children at the age of twelve are permitted by Colombian parents to drink hard liquor. The parents provide the liquor and allow the children to "party" as they are "just having fun." The American parents are just considered uptight as they do not allow the children to party with hard liquor at such young ages. The yearly school trips are very dangerous. For example, kids travel to the Amazon and walk through flooded forests with water up to their chests. They are told to stay together so they don't get bitten by animals in the water. They go on very long hikes in extremely hot temperatures and the guides run out of water halfway through difficult hikes. The kids are not informed to take malaria medication even though malaria is a prevalent in the Amazon. - Aug 2014

I do not have experience with them but there are many options for schooling from pre-school up through high school. Parents seem to be happy with the available options. - Jun 2014

The two main expat schools are CNG and CGB, although kids also go to the British Montessori and a smattering of other international schools. CNG is big: 2000 kids, but it has no cap on the number of locals. So there are a lot of Colombians. CGB caps this at 60%, so there are more expat kids from various countries. Both schools have Special-Needs services, but they are NOT at the level of the US. The other schools (El Camino, etc.) have little-to-no SN services. Despite Bogota's rep as an SN mecca, the services are often not at the depth or or degree of specialization that a US school system might have. So research carefully before bringing a special needs child here. Both campuses are beautiful. Google either school and you'll that see they have extensive web sites with pictures, videos, etc. - May 2013

Most people I know with children use Colegio Gran Bretana and are incredibly happy with it. It is relatively new and more expats than Colombians. The director is from the UK. - Oct 2012

Colegio Nueva Granada (American School) and Colegio Gran Bretana (British School) are the two that seem to be used the most by embassy staff. Our son goes to CGB (British) and we all LOVE it. The school is smaller and incredibly diverse and international, the curriculum has been fantastic, and opportunity for sports and extracurricular activities has been great. We have not regretted this decision for one second. - Jul 2012

CGB is a private school. Although our kids were happy there and did well, it is an environment where money and status rules. Especially in the upper grades, the school rivalry is rampant and dangerous and the allure of money, power, drugs etc. can not be overstated. It is a great social study on the effects of entitlement on youth of all cultures and the training for the viper's nest referred to above. - Apr 2012

No experience. - Dec 2011

We have one child at CNG (colegio nueva granada) which says it is an American-affiliated school (it is - but that does not mean it is an American/int'l school). It has mainly Colombians from families going there for generations. Nice folks, but settled in their communities and not especially inclusive. We had a good experience overall. We have heard that in the older grades there is a bullying problem, but we know many families there with older kids who haven't experienced that. - Jul 2011

CNG and Gran bretana, people in Gran bretana seems to be happier than CNG, I've hear that in the CNG The kids are the rich colombian kids, and all the time are talking about how much coast the vacations, wich car do they have, tags , if your kid doesn't have driver and body guardsHe will not be at their level, and They will not treat him the same, Gran bretana has 15 kids per class, They are lots of diplomats, they have horse ridding and sports, people like it more, the problem is that the kids leave home at 6:00 AM and they come home at 4:00 PM, They are a long time in the school bus. - Nov 2010

We have our children at a very small Christian school that we have been o.k. with it. CNG. I have never heard good things about it, though it is the school the US Embassy backs. They also have a british school some really like. None of the schools have adequate resources to deal with children who have special needs/ learning disabilities. If you have such a child, think long and hard before coming to this post. - Sep 2010

Colegia Nueva Granada is the USG-supported school. It's administration has been bitchy about letting U.S. Embassy families in automatically. The present situation is adequate but problematic. There are many issues, including: poor teachers who speak Spanish, not English, in the classroom; and clannish/bullying Colombian kids make up over 80% of the student body. At the beginning of the semester, students do not yet have their schedules, and counselors and administrators seem lost on this point. My son waited two months, and they still could not get him scheduled in the right level of Spanish, AP English, etc. This is a core thing that should be automatic, but it seems to escape them. The school is thin on non-core programs: no music and no athletics to speak of. Drinking and drugs are an issue at the high school, with many Colombian parents hosting teen parties with alcohol. It is much better at the lower levels. It simply is not a good high school. It would be a joke in the States. - Aug 2010

I don't have any first-hand experience, but people seem to love the preschools. - Aug 2010

I do not have children, but I have taught at the English-speaking schools. Colegio Nueva Granada (CNG) and Colegio Gran Britania (CGB) are the two main schools that US Embassy families send their children to. CNG is very close to embassy housing, and most children go there. There is a high percentage of Colombian children that attend CNG, so some expat children have a harder time breaking into friend groups. CGB is located about 40-60 minutes (or more, depending on traffic) from US Embassy housing. The school has lots of kids from all cultures, and the Colombian-to-foreigner ratio is a little lower. It seems as though most embassy children who attend this school love it and adapt well. - Aug 2010

My kids go to preschool, but some people here go to Colegio Nueva Granada and Gran Bretania, and they seem to be happy with them. - Jun 2010

We have a special needs child and so this was a nightmare for us. The so-called American School (Nueva Granada) supposedly takes special needs kids, but in reality they only accept them from diplomat parents. We were very lucky to have our child accepted at the Colegio Anglo-Colombiano, a British system school which is a wonderful school! We couldn't be more pleased with the real dedication to teaching, the quality of education - just everything. I would say this even if we did not have a special needs child. - Jan 2010

The two most popular with embassy families are Colegio Nueva Grenada (CNG) and Colegio Gran Bretana (CGB). Both have serious issues. CNG has almost 2,000 students and is a U.S. school in name only (U.S. curriculum and administrators). The student body is overwhelmingly comprised of rich, and often obnoxious, Colombians to whom the school caters. The administration blatantly lies to parents on a regular basis. Aside from offering a greater amount of activities, the only other advantage is the proximity to embassy housing. CGB is much smaller (approximately 400 students, but growing). The commute time is much greater (40-50 minutes on average). The school follows a British curriculum and has a rule restricting the student body to no more than 50% from any one (read Colombian) nationality. This helps reduce the cliques and bullying found at CNG, but does not eliminate it from CGB. The school does not appear to be coping well with growth. Weak administration, poor communication (they say they're a bilingual school but they don't even have a receptionist who can speak English), an expensive and mandatory food program, and a willingness to pay lip service rather than solve problems are among the complaints about the school. Parents are generally satisfied with the academic standards at both schools (each offers the IB program), but are frustrated with practically all other dealings with them. - Dec 2008

CNG and CGB and I'm sure other as well, but I will focus on those2. First we went with CNG, we could not even register our children, total chaos in the admissions office so we gave up after 3 months, then we went to CGB, British school, smaller, nicer but far, far away from the city, kids commute an hour each time, sometimes 2 hours on the way back, due to rains. This school has many problems too, lunches cost us $US400 american, for 3 children, school does not give an option for packing own lunches. Parents are fighting but the owner of the school does not care, so before you decide to come here do your research!!! or you will be very disappointed and frustrated. Good teachers, that is a plus. - Nov 2008

Good - none. - Nov 2008

There are many good schools here. Unfortunately, the Embassy pushes the main school Colegio Nueva Grenada (CNG) on you the moment you arrive. It's a beautiful school, much like a college campus that sits on acres and acres of beautiful land. But with any large school, comes the distance. You drift off into a sea of other parents. Colegio Gran Bretana (CGB) is a small school, a little further out from housing but beautiful and the school is broken off into 4 different houses (think Harry Potter). The Director of CGB knows your NAME for the most part and your child. Those are the two main schools but there is also a French school and an English speaking religious school I hear alot about. - May 2008

Colegio Nueva Granada is a great school. They are administratively difficult because they are very disorganized in the registrars office, but the curriculum is good and the kids like it very much. Colegio Gran Bretana is also very good, but it is smaller than CNG. - Apr 2008

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