Service and Development Semester in the Andes

Travel Dates:
January 15 - April 26, 2019
Program Fees:
$14,350
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Program Overview

Spend a semester living with a family in Cochabamba, Bolivia (Bolivia’s third largest city, encircled by the breathtaking Andes Mountains); study Spanish and contemporary Latin American history and politics; serve 12+ hours per week for a local nonprofit organization; and explore the country and culture through field trips and community events.

You will have a number of service opportunities relating to human needs. Amizade has long-term relationships with several organizations that work with children and youth with disabilities. You will be placed with the organization of your choice taking into account your experience and the needs of the organizations.

Academic Courses

SOCA 393: Power and Protest in Latin America (3 credits)
SPAN 260 or 360: Introductory/ Advanced Spanish in Latin America (6 credits)
INTS 499: Amizade: Grassroots Social Justice in the Andes (3 credits)

Most instruction will occur online with 1-week visits by WVU Faculty. Lectures and course discussions will be held over Skype. Spanish language instruction will additionally be provided on site daily. Several lectures/tours will be provided by local professors.

Academic Courses
Bolivia semester students enroll in 3 classes to earn a total of 12 credits during the term. Six credits are dedicated to Spanish language courses. Students are accommodated at all levels of language learning, from introductory to advanced. The remaining courses are SOCA, and The Amizade Seminar. Together, these courses are designed to provide theoretical and historical perspectives on civil society and political concerns. The Amizade Seminar course: Grassroots Social Justice in the Andes focuses on the relationship between individual ethics, local social service efforts, and international dilemmas. The lectures and tours are given in English by local and expatriate instructors.

Integrated Community Service
You will have a number of service opportunities relating to human needs. Amizade has long-term relationships with several organizations that work with children and youth with disabilities. You will be placed with the organization of your choice taking into account your experience and the needs of the  organizations.

Service Opportunities: Working with children at a local school, working with children with disabilities, working with birds, plants, and other animals at a environmental conservation and education park. Field trips may include opportunities to support ongoing Amizade building projects in the towns outside of Cochabamba City.

Community Partners

You will have a number of service opportunities relating to human needs. Amizade has long-term relationships with several organizations that work with children and youth with disabilities. You will be placed with the organization of your choice taking into account your experience and the needs of the organizations.

For more than twenty years, Amizade has partnered with several effective community-based organizations, each working specifically to improve the well-being of people in the region. We try to match volunteers’ interests with community needs.Volunteer group in Bolivia

Ceoli: Ceoli provides education and healthcare to low-income children with disabilities and works with those children to develop self-sufficiency as well as with the larger community to help change the societal perception of people with disabilities. Many Ceoli employees speak some English, so students may begin serving immediately after training. Students serve in a number of areas, including advocacy programs, school administration, and student art projects.
OESER: OESER (Organization for the education and service to the community) has been working in the Villa Candelaria neighborhood of Cochabamba for many years. Focussed on education and the well being of children, OESER runs a pre-school and elementary school. In addition, OESER works to provide job opportunities and skill training for community members through a project that develops natural, healthy, high quality snacks and energy bars made with Andean ingredients such as quinoa. Volunteers at OESER have assisted in English language classes, worked with pre-school children, and worked in the kitchen to help prepare school meals.
Parque de las Aves Agroflori: Amizade’s newest community partner in Bolivia,
Agroflori, is a bird refuge focused on the care, rescue, and recovery of birds that have been trafficked and abused. Visits to the park offer participants the opportunity to learn about trafficking and conservation efforts in the region.

Location

Amizade has maintained partnerships with community organizations in Cochabamba, Bolivia for more than twenty years. Cochabamba is located in a highland plateau and boasts of a perfect climate with a daytime seasonal average of 72 F with no humidity. Cochabamba is a bustling city of more than 600,000 people, home to many beautiful plazas, fountains, churches, and the largest open-air market in the Americas. Despite the beautiful scenery and perfect climate, Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in all of the Americas and faces a variety of social and economic challenges.

As a Bolivia semester student, you will have opportunities to experience both the urban and rural aspects of the region with field trips and excursions to regional cities, Inca ruins, and local festivals. Your homestay accommodations with local families will allow for deeper language learning and understanding about local life and culture. You’ll improve your Spanish, and you’ll learn about regional civil society . You’ll enjoy Cochabamba’s famously pleasant and sunny environment, where residents regularly gather under palms to discuss politics and life in plazas ringed by sixteenth century Spanish buildings.

Alumni Testimonial

“My time in Bolivia with West Virginia University and Amizade was so much more than just a fun time in an amazing new place; it changed my perspective of myself as a member of a global society. My generous and loving host family truly made me part of the daily rhythm of their lives, letting me understand the culture, language, politics, and economics of cochabambinos on a personal level. In addition, the incredible kindness and dedication of the people with whom I volunteered at non-profits have inspired me to be a more active citizen in my own community here in the states. The conversations that I had with my professor and fellow students helped me to connect my experiences within a larger geopolitical picture. Trips to ancient Incan ruins, sixteenth-century cathedrals, Lago Titicaca, and countless other places let me explore another side of Bolivia- its history as a cradle of human civilization is present everywhere, if you know where to look.”

~Mary

Program Fees

Tuition & Fees Includes:

  • Course delivery and instruction accredited through West Virginia University
  • Arranged home stay with a local family and housing during field trips
  • Two meals per day at home stay families (Breakfast and lunch, the large family meal in Bolivia)
  • 3 meals per day during field trips
  • Multiple field trips during semester and scheduled educational, cultural and service activities
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance
  • Airfare to Cochabamba, Bolivia and travel related expenses

Additional Program Related Expenses:

  • Course textbooks, course packet and materials
  • Transcript fees
  • Applicable passport or visa fees
  • Supplemental meals
  • Daily transportation around Cochabamba
  • Personal spending money