Amizade in Bolivia: A Memorable & Eye-opening Experience Past Review

By (Political Science, University of Toronto) for

Amizade: Bolivia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I expanded my Spanish language skills and learned deep insight into Latin American history and culture through hands-on experience and interaction in Bolivia.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I enrolled in Amizade's short-term summer program in Bolivia completed one course with an on-site professor. During the daytime on weekdays, we completed various volunteer hours, working to build new classrooms at a school in the rural Bolivian Andes. In the evenings, we took a course with our professor. The class meetings centred around a diverse range of readings (some provided before our program began, others provided during the course of the time abroad) and included active discussions on political theory and Latin American history. We also had the opportunity to learn from a few guest speakers, including a member of the Cochabamba city council.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everything was well-organized and well-administered. We were accompanied by a U.S. professor throughout the experience. In addition, we regularly were in contact with an on-site director, who is a native of Cochabamba. I always felt that we were well-taken-care-of throughout our experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I regularly used my Spanish when communicating with the property manager and other staff at our hostel in Cochabamba. Everything was comfortable and clean, and meals were good.

* Food:

Meals were always good and I saw that efforts were made to accommodate the dietary needs of individual students.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We made several visits to a local university (Universidad Mayor de San Simon) to meet and interact with local students. Several of the students in my group ended up forming friendships with these locals and met up with them frequently to socialize during our time in Cochabamba. This was yet another opportunity to use our Spanish.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The on-site director provided us with a wealth of information about safety and health. The one time a classmate of mine became ill, the director accompanied her to a local modern clinic to receive care. I never felt unsafe during our time in Bolivia.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

Students' Spanish language abilities varied. I had previously studied a lot of Spanish and so I made use of it on a regular basis on our volunteer site. This is not an immersion program, so previous studies of Spanish was not required. However, this was a great opportunity to expand language abilities. It was basically up to individual students to apply themselves to practice their language abilities.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is an excellent program for someone interested in studying in an off-the-beaten-track location in Latin America. While it is not a full language immersion program, it provided me with a great opportunity to grow my Spanish language skills. I am so glad that I chose to study in Bolivia with Amizade. It opened my eyes to a whole new world.