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Spanish Courses & Volunteering
in Bolivia

Volunteering in Bolivia is a unique opportunity to experience the country, the culture and the local population at close range and experience life.

Information

13 projects

1-12+ weeks

From €662

Spanish Courses and Volunteering in Bolivia

This programme combines Spanish lessons and voluntary work in social institutions and national parks. Volunteering in Bolivia is a unique way to experience the country, culture and population from the inside while doing a meaningful job. Volunteers must be independent, open minded and minimum 18 years old. You can of course choose to follow Spanish lessons without volunteering.

Our projects in Bolivia

Volunteering in Bolivia

You can combine a language course in Bolivia with several types of voluntary work, just as with EXIS’ programmes in Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala. You can choose to work at a hospital, nursing home, orphanage, with the handicapped or in the jungle. Work is organized in cooperation with the school and local organizations and institutions.
The language and voluntary work programme consists of a minimum 2 weeks intensive language lessons was described above, followed by volunteer work lasting 4-24 weeks. Four weeks Spanish lessons are compulsory for beginners before starting volunteer work.

During your stay at the school the school coordinator will further introduce you to the different possibilities for volunteer work. You must be at least 18 years old to participate in the volunteer work program, independent and outgoing, with a real desire to volunteer. The work demands flexibility, maturity, initiative and energy.

Volunteering in Bolivia

Nursery home for poor children

This is a day-care centre open Monday through Friday. There are 30 children whose mothers are prostitutes, victims of domestic violence or very poor. These children woukld normally be home alone, locked in while their mothers work.
They are now in the care of the centre and receive breakfast and lunch. The children are from one to 6 years old. You will work directly with the children and the educators, and take part in all the activities; help the children to paint, draw, cut paper, sing and dance, teach them numbers and colours and especially play with them.
The centre closes during summer holiday, from mid-December until mid-February.

Centre with after school activities

This center offers free education to children age 6 to 16, living on the outskirts of Sucre. Their Indian parents have moved from the countryside, hoping for a better life in the city. Most parents survive by selling groceries at the marketplaces of Sucre.

About 40 children visit the centre every morning, in the afternoon and evening 90 to 100.

The center advises the older children about their future educational possibilities or teaches them a trade. There is medical assistance, food and leisure for them all. Volunteers can teach English, geography, mathematics and history and/or assist the staff with cooking, cleaning up the kitchen, painting the building or helping out with leisure activities like sports. This center also closes from the middle of December to the middle of February.

Culture foundation centre

The objectives of this foundation are to develop reading skills from early childhood, make libraries more accessible and provide books to hospitals, prisons and marginal neighborhoods, organize book fairs and other events. The foundation has a Story House, to introduce reading to children and help them meet each other across social barriers and a library open to both students and professionals. Technical workshops are common spacesfor young people who want to learn a trade. Volunteer activities can be:

  • workshops in arts and crafts or ecological awareness for children 4 to 14
  • help in the library with book counting and inventory, re-shelving, book loan and return, cleaning books
  • register new readers with photo ID cards; take the photos, cut and laminate cards
  • homework help for students 7 to 18, especially math, social sciences, natural sciences and language
  • design posters and pamphlets, write newsletters; deliver materials around the city and through the media
  • help in workshops with furniture production, electrical installation and more
  • help in cafeteria, sell candy, prepare drinks and sandwiches.

Kindergarten for indigenous children

Volunteers will work with children, aged 4 to 5 from indigenous families, at a kindergarten near Sucre. The kindergarten functions as a safe haven for these vulnerable children.

There are 8 teachers that prepare the children for primary school, and there is a great need for volunteer help.

Kindergarten for handicapped children

The only kindergarten in Sucre that accepts handicapped children. Volunteer tasks will reflect this. You will help the staff and entertain the children.

Adult Psychiatric Hospital

This hospital offers excellent opportunities to gain experience for all those interested in the field of medicine. There are approx. 400 patients and a team of doctors, nurses, assistants, psychologists, therapists, physiotherapists and Bolivian medical students. Everything in this hospital is very clean and organized. Volunteers work mainly with patients, talking with them, helping with exercises, practicing sports, etc. There is a section for elderly patients who need help with wheelchairs, reading newspapers, eating and personal hygiene.

Hospital/orphanage for handicapped children

This hospital is run by priests. There are about 170 physically and mentally handicapped children age 1 to 17 staying here. They all come from poor families in rural areas. The children cannot live in normal orphanages because of their handicaps.

Volunteers help with physical therapy, play and participate in sports activities, or accompany the children on outings. The home also 2 horses for physical therapy and volunteers who can ride are very welcome. Besides this there is a need for help with homework and other activities at the home. Working hours are morning or afternoon.

Adoption center

This is a home for children between 0 and 6 years old, all waiting to be adopted. The home has a good reputation and is mainly run by nuns. The home is close to the city centre, about 10 minutes from the language school. Volunteers take care of the children, feed them, play with them and do creative activities.

It is important that you like children, are energetic and ready to give these children the love and attention they lack. You may occasionally have to work during weekends.

Day-care center

This day care center is located in a rural area very close to Sucre. The center was created as a safe haven for children under six years. The center’s budget is too low to cover basic requirements, such as maintenance, infrastructure, playgrounds and equipment. The children come from poor families who have moved from the country to the city in search of better living conditions. Their mothers make souvenirs, which are sold in rural markets and the fathers do any manual work in the city or have emigrated to Argentina in search of work.

The center is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 until about 15:30. The children get 2 meals and a tea snack in the afternoon, and are well cared for and protected. At present there are 25 children from 0 to 6 years old, divided into three groups. Three indigenous women from a rural village take care of the children, feed and entertain them. They get a small salary from the government for their services.

Volunteers work with the staff, doing any odd tasks and creating activities for the children, such as painting, drawing and cutting paper, singing and dancing; also teach them numbers and colors, help them eat.

Hogar Mallorca

Misk’I Wasi (a Quechua phrase meaning “Sweet Home”) was founded in 2005. It is now called Mallorca Home and is a haven for working children and teenagers who, for whatever reason, live in the streets. About 65 boys and young men between the ages of 6 and 17 stay here, get a bed and healthy food as well as a chance to go to school. Many work as mechanical assistants, sell newspapers, wash cars, shine shoes and sell bread. The home provides school supplies but the boys must buy their own toothpaste and brush, soap, shampoo and toilet paper with the goal of teaching them the value of money.

The boys must also keep their rooms clean and neat so they learn to take responsibility for themselves and others.

The home generates income to improve the lives of residents through donations and a small bakery, “Delicious Bread.” The boys take turns selling and promoting the product. As a volunteer you can help the boys with homework and with their personal hygiene. Volunteers can also teach them how to play a musical instrument or to play sports (soccer, basketball, etc.), help with cleaning chores, or help in the bakery and selling the bread.

This work place is close to the language school and volunteer accommodations.

Youth confinement center

This center specializes in socialization of teenage boys, who are homeless and/or have a criminal background. The center is located half an hour from midtown Sucre and can accommodate up to 20 boys. They get help to complete their schooling and receive medical aid and psychotherapy. The purpose of the center is to increase their self-esteem, skills and general education. They follow lessons in different kinds of crafts, baking and agriculture. Skills that can create income in their future lifes. The boys also participate in various sports and creative activities. The center primarily needs male volunteers who act as positive role models, can teach English, crafts, play music or do sports. Especially sport is a well-known tool for socialization. Soccer is extremely popular in Bolivia, so you are welcome to join them in the field.
If you are a beginner in Spanish you will have to follow min. 4 weeks Spanish lessons before volunteering. If you have followed Spanish lessons before a 2 weeks course will probably be sufficient.
Your tasks could be:

  • Teaching English, mechanics, carpentry
  • Assisting in the bakery
  • Gardening
  • Play music
  • Sports activities

Jungle experience

A small indigenous community of 235 inhabitants still lives in the Amazon rain forest on the banks of the Beni River, at the edge of the Madidi National park, best known as one of earth’s greatest habitats of different species. The inhabitants of the village have built an amazing Eco-lodge with the support of international NGOs, a 15-minute walk from the village. The Eco-lodge is owned and operated by the people of San Miguel del Bala. The 7 comfortable cabins are spread around the forest and all have electricity after dark, bathroom and a little terrace. There is also a small restaurant and a traditional roundhouse with a shop selling local handicrafts, a bar and an exhibition about Tacana culture, ancient hunting techniques, production of natural medicine from plants and ecological processes.

As a volunteer you can teach English to adults or children, enabling them to communicate with tourists. You will also process sugar cane juice, maintain paths, register animal, bird and plant species. If you have special skills you will be able to plan your own projects in cooperation with the park staff. You will visit the inhabitants in their cottages made of palm fronds and bamboo, learn traditional Indian cooking, fishing and huntingmethods. In recent years the inhabitants have trained as cooks, artisans and guides for trekking tours through the jungle.

When there are tourists you will live, work and get international food with meat dishes at the Eco-lodge. In the absence of tourists, you will either be accommodated with other volunteers in a dormitory, or live with a host family in a cottage with shared bathroom. You will get 3 meals a day, mainly tropical fruits like bananas, papaya, pineapple, also fresh fish, mandioca or yucca, corn, rice and very little meat. The families eat and serve what they can grow, hunt or fish.
The San Miguel area is warm and humid, but in the winter months of June and July the cold Arctic wind, the Surazo, blows in from the south.

There are 2 seasons, the rainy season from December to April and the dry season from May to November. There is no electricity or telephone service in the village. You will find telephone, an internet café and ATM cash machines in Rurrenabaque.

Transport to the village will be organised by the school coordinator, while you follow Spanish lessons in Sucre. A village member will pick you up at a local airport and the last part of your trip with will be by boat, 40 minutes upstream from Rurrenabaque.

Internships

Most of these projects mentioned here accept internships. Send an e-mail to [email protected], explaining your wishes and the requirements of your school counselor and we will find out, where you fit in best.

Note

Due to “summer holiday” from the end of December until the start of February, no teaching related placements are available for volunteers during this period.

The program fee includes a sponsorship fee of 60 US dollars, so each participant in volunteer work is also a personal sponsor for the institution or project chosen.

Accommodation
During Spanish lessons is with host families, with half board (see page 3). Volunteers can choose to stay on with their host family during volunteering, or stay in a self-catering apartment. This apartment for volunteers has 3 bedrooms, shared bathroom and kitchen, living and dining room with cable TV. The cost of accommodation in the apartment is lower than with host families, as food is not included.

There is a small patio and a large garden. Bedding and towels will be changed once a week, although cleaning is not included. Alcohol, parties and overnight guests will not be tolerated

For accommodation in national parks, see description of the national park and Jungle Experience volunteer possibilities.

Language Courses in Bolivia

The international language school

The school is right in the heart of Sucre, only a few blocks from the city centre. There are seven classrooms, kitchen and video lounge in a 2-story building with colonial balconies, an interior patio, a small area reserved for sunning, entertainment room and a beautiful cafeteria, “El Café Quito.

The school has a capacity for 40 students. About half come from Europe and half from North America.

All teachers are qualified and have experience in teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Some have Ph.D. or Masters Degrees in Spanish and literature, history or Latin American culture. They renew their teaching skills with special courses every year.
Students have classes 4 hours a day, from 8.00 to 12.30. Each lesson lasts 60 minutes. Four is the maximum number of students in a class and average class size is 2.

The school in Bolivia is one of 3 internationally recognized schools under the same leadership. The 2 other schools are in Ecuador and Peru. You can switch from the one to the other at any time. After your study course in one of the 3 countries you can choose to volunteer in Bolivia, Ecuador or Peru.

See also the information about volunteering in Ecuador and Peru.

Course start

A new course starts every Monday all year round with arrival at your host family’s home Sunday. You will be met at the airport and taken to your host family. Your family will take you to school the first day and you will be welcomed with an orientation about the school, your stay with your host family and Bolivian culture. After a placement test and a talk with the school’s student counsellor you will be placed in a class at exactly your level of skill in Spanish and the language lessons begin.

Language Course programme

The following Spanish courses are available:

  • Standard course:
    20 group lessons per week. Classes consist of maximum 5 students with a similar Spanish level. Lessons consist of grammar, interactive activities, conversation and written exercises. You should expect some homework.
  • Super intensive course
    If you want to make rapid progress, you can choose to supplement the 20 group lessons with 10 individual lessons. Group classes consist of max. 5 students with a similar Spanish level. Lessons consist of grammar, interactive activities, conversation and written exercises. The individual lessons focus on personal progress.
  • One to one course
    Chose 20 or 30 individual lessons per week. This course is for students who want a “partial or total brainwashing”

Holidays
The school is closed on the following official holidays:

2019: 22/1, 4/3, 19/4, 1/5, 20/6, 21/6, 6/8 and 25/12 2019 – 5/1 2020.

Spanish Courses

Standard Course with 20 lessons/week

Course Weeks Fees
2 €920
3 €1273
4 €1625
5 €1978
6 €2331
7 €2684
8 €3036
9 €3389
10 €3742
11 €4095
12 €4447

Super Intensive Course with 20+10 lessons/week

Course Weeks Fees
2 €1197
3 €1689
4 €2180
5 €2672
6 €3136
7 €3655
8 €4146
9 €4637
10 €5129
11 €5620
12 €6112

One-on-One Course with 20 lessons/week

Course Weeks Fees
1 €662
2 €1109
3 €1556
4 €2003
5 €2451
6 €2898
7 €3345
8 €3792

One-on-One Course with 30 lessons/week

Course Weeks Fees
1 €799
2 €1384
3 €1969
4 €2554
5 €3139
6 €3724
7 €4309
8 €4894

Voluntary work and Spanish Courses

Work + Standard Course. Accomodation at Host Family (single room/half board)

Course Weeks Work Weeks Fees
2 2 €1584
2 4 €1921
2 8 €2597
4 4 €2451
4 8 €3126
6 4 €2980
8 4 €3509

Work + Standard Course. Accomodation at Host Family during classes/apartment during work

Course Weeks Work Weeks Fees
2 2 €1429
2 4 €1612
2 8 €1978
4 4 €2141
4 8 €2507
6 4 €2670
8 4 €3199

Jungle Experience Work + Standard Course. Accomodation at Host Family during classes/apartment during work

Course Weeks Work Weeks Fees
2 4 €2402
2 8 €3471
4 4 €2931
4 8 €4000
6 4 €3460
8 8 €3989

 

Detaljer
Kontakt venligst [email protected] for oplysninger om priser på længerevarige ophold.

All “Spanish Course” fees include

Accommodation with carefully chosen Bolivian host families and half-board (breakfast and lunch) plus laundry service once a week

Intensive language lessons with well-trained, competent and very motivated teachers

Local coordinator during your stay

Books and teaching material

N

Initial test and weekly evaluation

A certificate and level assessment at the end of the course

Excursions and special activities at cost price

E-mail access, safe keeping for baggage and valuables

All “Voluntary work and Spanish Courses” fees include

Voluntary work

Intensive language lessons with well-trained, competent and very motivated teachers

Accommodation during language course is with carefully chosen Bolivian host families and includes breakfast, lunch and laundry once a week. During social work accommodation is either with host families as during language course, or in an apartment for volunteers with access to kitchen

Airport pick-up on arrival

Assistance during your volunteer work

Books and teaching material

N

Placement test on arrival

A certificate and level assessment at the end of the course

Welcome orientation and Sucre city tour

Free access to e-mail services and all school facilities during language course

Volunteer work mediation by the work coordinator

Personal donation to your work place

Access to the school’s activity program during language course

Handbook on Bolivia

Plane ticket La Paz – Rurrenabaque – La Paz for work in the Jungle Experience

Fantastic service and atmosphere!

The following is not included in the fees:

  • Flight to & from Sucre
  • Insurance
  • In case you want to work at two different work places, an extra fee of 140 USD is charged
  • Administration fee for Internships (250 USD)

Please note

If you follow Spanish lessons in Ecuador or Peru before volunteering in Bolivia, you should expect a fee for accommodation and 115 Euro for job mediation.

The country

Bolivia is located at the center of the Andes Mountains and borders Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. It is the highest and most isolated of the Andean nations. There are still areas almost untouched by the western lifestyle. Because of its size – twice that of Spain – nearly every possible climate and terrain is represented, from snow-capped peaks over 21,000 feet to the semi-tropical lowlands and steaming jungles of the Bolivian Amazon basin.

Unfortunately, the country became landlocked in 1880 when it lost its coastline to Chile in the Pacific War. Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable inland lake in the world, compensates for this loss with its crystal blue water and handmade boats sailing between lake islands dotted with pre-Colombian ruins.

 

Sucre

In 1987 Sucre was designated by UNESCO as “Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad”, a World Heritage site.
The town is known as “The “White City” due to its numerous colonial buildings, all of which are painted white and topped with shiny red tile roofs. Sucre is a relatively small city with about 130,000 inhabitants.

Sucre is one of Bolivia’s most important university towns, known as the centre of learning and progressive thought.

Sucre and the nearby villages have a sizable indigenous population who maintain their customs and colourful dresses. Locals and visitors alike are attracted to the markets where food, textiles and other products are sold after lengthy discussions of price.

Low prices on domestic flights make Sucre a good base for exploring the rest of Bolivia.

Religion

Although 95% of the Bolivian people profess to be Roman Catholic, more than half of the population clings to traditional Indian values and beliefs.
Visitors will meet wonderful people and lifestyles full of intriguing doctrines, rites and superstitions.

Bolivia is also one of the best places on the continent to see South American wildlife including the rare spectacled bear, jaguar, llama, anteater, chinchilla and condor.

Host families

During the language course you will live with a Bolivian host family. Families belong to Bolivia’s middle class, but do not expect a living standard comparable to the European middle class. You will have your own room, unless you ask for something else.

You will normally share the bathroom with the rest of the family. Family homes are located in neighbourhoods usually no more than a 20 to 30 minute walk from school. Most live only 5 to 15 minutes away.

Activities

Organized activities or tours are offered 2 or 3 times a week. The school organizes both short tours around Sucre and excursions to areas outside of town. The longer tours cost 10-25 US dollars per person and usually include bus transportation, meals and more.
There are also activities at the school, such as short lectures, tourist information, parties, cooking classes, card games, Spanish language videos and more.
Note: You may have to pay a small fee for bus tickets, entrance to museums, dance lessons and such.

Ready to go?

Reserve a spot to one of our projects in Bolivia