Foreigners who are moving to Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, can now count on professional assistance to help newcomers get settled.
A new company, Medellin Executive Relocation, was founded in the city earlier this year by local Gloria Zuluaga, who spent 18 years of her life in Europe before returning to her home town.
After her return, she noticed that a lot of foreigners making the same move did not have access to services that included common expat needs such as locating language schools, sourcing homes and apartments, renting or buying a car, opening a bank account, etc.
“Because I speak several languages and know what relocation is like, a lot of friends would ask me to help out when foreigners came to Medellin,” Zuluaga told Colombia Reports.
” Living in Europe for the majority of my adult and professional life thought me the cultural traits associated with life in a 1st world country. The level of customer service necessary to accommodate clients who expect a higher level of attention to details that is not normally associated with a 3rd world country is paramount to making a successful transition when you are moving to Colombia.”
Since then, Zuluaga created a vast network of real estate companies, schools, language institutes, attorneys, interior designers as well as other professionals to help her cover the necessities that newcomers to Medellin have.
“It is not easy to settle in a new country especially when you don’t speak the language,” said Zuluaga. “But aside from this, there’s a world of peculiarities that come with every individual country. Almost everything is different from home.”
The Medellin native’s company aims to tackle exactly these issues. “We try to make the move to Medellin go as smooth as possible. Sometimes this begins even before a foreigner has booked a ticket and needs to find out things about the cost of living, what kind of housing is available, what the education possibilities are for children, etc.”
Zuluaga helps the potential foreigner find a place to stay, either temporary or permanent, making sure her client has adequate housing on the first day of arrival.
“We then pick our clients up from the airport, making sure they arrive at their new accommodations smoothly, without the typical airport hassle.”
After that, Gloria insures her clients are connected to whatever and whomever they need; “Spanish teachers, dance classes, private education for children, soccer practice, attorneys, the chamber of commerce, etc.”
The service she provides is not just for expats, explained Zuluaga.
“Sometimes someone is in town for business for a month or two. These people need entirely different services than those who come to stay permanently,” she said.
To make sure she can fit the needs of temporary visitors and expats alike, Zuluaga offers several packages aimed at fulfilling the needs of each individual.
“The basic package consists of an airport pick-up, assistance in finding accommodations and basic orientation of the city. This package can be expanded to include professional help with registering a company, getting the right health insurance and help with visas as well as other individual needs.”
According to Zuluaga, Medellin Executive Relocation began offering the service right on time.
“Nobody was offering comprehensive services the way we are now,” she said. “The service simply didn’t exist” while the need proved evident as Zuluaga has been busy ever since she began.
Zuluaga is optimistic about the future of her city, and subsequently her company.
“It is heartwarming to see how my city increasingly is recognized. The way things are going, I can only be optimistic Medellin will draw more and more foreigners. You have to admit it’s a very attractive city,” said the entrepreneur.
- Interview with Gloria Zuluaga
- Medellin Executive Relocation
- Moving to Medellin? Hire a Relocation Service to Help You (Medellin Living)