SIT Study Abroad Bolivia: Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change
Major topics of study include:
- Bolivia’s complex history and current realities
- Systems of knowledge and indigenous cosmovisión
- Themes of community well-being (“vivir bien”) and resilience
- Globalization and Bolivia’s contemporary sociopolitical struggles
Explore how concepts of community well-being and cultural identity are being creatively redefined in Bolivia, a country with 36 ethnic groups and the first indigenous president in South America.
The program is based in Cochabamba, located in the heart of Bolivia, surrounded by the Andes mountain range.
Study why some communities seem to be depressed and at risk, while others find resilience.
Consider what it means to “help” as an outsider.
Engage with academic, professional, and community experts: meet indigenous community members, NGO workers and aid experts, spiritual leaders, feminist activists, artists, and others.
During the Independent Study Project choose to produce a research paper, or choose a nontraditional format, such as documentary, dance, theater, photography, or a bilingual children's book.
Classroom instruction and field study are incorporated into each course. Course content is delivered by SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, NGOs, and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.
All students are enrolled in the following courses (syllabi available on the SIT website):
- Historical and Contemporary Social Change in Bolivia (3 semester credits)
- Vivir Bien: Well-Being and Resilience in Andean and Amazonian Communities (3 semester credits)
- Spanish for the Social Sciences (3 semester credits) (note: students already fluent in Spanish may choose either to study Quechua or to participate in one of two Guided Self-Instruction courses)
- Research Methods and Ethics (3 semester credits)
- Independent Study Project (4 semester credits)
Excursions are integrated into the curriculum; throughout each excursion, students are engaged in learning as part of the academic program. Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
- La Paz, Altiplano, and Lake Titicaca
- Potosí and Sucre
- The Tropical Lowlands
- Carnival in Oruro (spring semester only)
During their time in Bolivia, students have the opportunity to live with three different homestay families:
- Urban homestay in Cochabamba (six weeks)
- Rural homestay with an Ayamara family (three days)
- Amazonian homestay (two days)
Other accommodations during the program include hostels, private homes, or small hotels.
There is no "typical day" on an SIT program, activities may take place on any day of the week and at any time of day according to local norms and to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities. Thus the schedule and structure of the program are very different from what students are used to on their home campuses. The semester progresses in phases:
- The program begins with a thorough orientation.
- During the first two and half months of the program, students are engaged in foundational coursework,
- For the last month of the program, students conduct an Independent Study Project (ISP) on an approved topic of their choosing.
- Finally, students present their project, participate in program evaluation, and prepare to return home.
What Makes SIT Unique:
- SIT Study Abroad offers a field-based, experiential approach to learning.
- Each program has a small group of students (typically 10–35).
- On an SIT program, you gain high levels of access to many different stakeholders and experts relevant to the issues your program is examining.
- While some learning will be conducted at the SIT program center, extensive learning is done outside the classroom — in host communities, field stations, NGO headquarters, ecological sites, health clinics, and art studios.
- Many students go on to use their Independent Study Projects as a basis for senior theses on their home campuses. Others use their undergraduate research and overall study abroad experience to successfully apply to fellowships such as Fulbrights and Watsons.
Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.
SIT tuition, room and board fees include:
- All educational costs, including educational excursions.
- All accommodations and meals for the full program duration.
- Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions.
- Health and accident insurance.
- SIT awards nearly $1.3 million in scholarships and grants annually.
- All scholarships and grants are need-based.
- Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.
- The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program.
- Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants, and federal and state aid programs, can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.
Contact SIT Study Abroad: