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SIT Study Abroad participant SIT Study Abroad participant

Bolivia: Multiculturalism, Globalization and Social Change

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Amazing experience in Bolivia

I by far had the best abroad experience of all of my friends at my college. I had an amazing host family, who I was placed with by the home stay coordinators, who put a lot of time and effort into matching students with families that will be a good fit for them. All of the program staff are incredibly lovely and helpful and supportive. Particularly Heidi, the Academic Director of the program, is so caring and present and intelligent and leads the program flawlessly. The 3 excursions to other Bolivian cities during the program added so much to my educational experience there as well as to my cultural immersion and understanding of the history and politics of the country. Additionally, the Independent Student Research period for the last 4 weeks of the program allows students to go anywhere in the country and research any topic and then write a paper and present to the rest of the group on it, which is such a unique opportunity that you are unlikely to find anywhere else and gives students to chance to be independent and pursue their interests. I had an absolutely amazing experience overall, and it is because of the program staff, my wonderful host family, and the other students on the program who all became close friends.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    N/A

  • Program Administration

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  • Health and Safety

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  • Social Life

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Great program - I met my partner on the trip

It was great. My partner today is from this trip. A+++.

SIT is great because it's a smaller program. They're great with homestays.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    5

  • Social Life

    6

Through New Eyes: Cultural Beauty and Global Issues in Bolivia

I learned so much about the social movements and social issues, both past and present, that are both unique to Bolivia's complex and interesting history and also apply to many of the global issues we face today. I gained confidence in my ability to speak another language, navigate an unfamiliar place by myself, tackle challenges and face discomfort, grapple with intense and complicated questions about identity and global crises. My eyes were opened to a place in the world that I probably never would've been connected to without SIT Bolivia, and while being in a corner of the world so different from my home I saw the country I come from with much clearer eyes.

The program is well-balanced in terms of homework-load and getting to learn through experiences outside of reading articles or writing essays. The academic assignments are meaningful and worthwhile. Many of the powerful and memorable learning periods come from traveling with the group when the classes go on the road during excursions.

The program staff are amazing. They are extremely loving and are always making sure students are safe and happy. There is an SIT program family in-country and they have incredible connections all around Bolivia. The administration of the program is always concerned about safety, student well-being, and making the experience as powerful as it can be, and making an effort to get to know the students.

I loved my host family!!! They were definitely one of the best parts of the overall experience for me. By the end I really felt like a part of their family and I keep the memories of my time with them close to my heart. SIT staff in Bolivia know how to choose families and make sure students have a good family experience.

There is good food and some not-so-good food. Food is definitely not the highlight during rural community stays for example and there were days during home-stays when I wasn't the biggest fan but once you get in the routine of some of the staple foods such as fried chicken with rice in the cities and lots and lots of potatoes everywhere you grow to appreciate what it means for people to provide meals for you everyday.

I found being a white female challenging in a society that, like many latin american countries, is known to be "machista", but in terms of the program and my host family and many people I met along the way I felt extremely welcomed; especially when my Spanish improved I felt like I had a life there. In terms of cultural immersion, the program does this very well. Through classes, excursions, living with a family, etc, I felt like I really learned a lot about the country and culture. There's a huge difference between being a tourist and living as a student and SIT really captures this and makes sure we experience the latter. I would say to any female (especially light-skinned females) planning to go to any country where "machismo" dominates, to be aware of this challenge before you go. In our group discussions it brought up a lot of meaningful and difficult issues in regards to negotiating identity and being a foreigner and what it means to come from the U.S.

During orientation the program makes it a point to be very upfront and serious about the health concerns they've faced in the past. Bolivia's water system is especially bad and it's easy to get sick from food contamination if not careful. The staff make sure students know how to be careful and avoid illness. During my semester, nothing serious came up, just typical viruses and bacteria from water. The program staff is always ready to help and get us the medical attention we might need. During excursions we traveled as a group and knew we could get medical attention in case of emergency. Yellow Fever vaccine is required in order to enter the country and Typhoid is strongly recommended. We did not go into any malaria regions so no one took any medication for that.

Like most places in Latin America, safety is a concern. During my program there were never any issues. I felt very safe with my host family and when traveling with the program for classes. There is always slight risk being a female foreigner and precautions should be taken to avoid money or items being stolen and in regards to taxi rides. The program goes over safety info in detail and I never had any problems but I always made a conscious effort to be extra careful and aware about safety issues.

In regards to money, it's very easy to live on a student budget. U.S. dollars go a long way in Bolivia and because the program cost covers host family expenses and traveling during the program, there really is very little need for money apart from bus/taxi fare, snacks, coffee, gifts, or item from a market...