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Photo by Ryan Kost, Andes & Amazon Semester.

First Month Itinerary!

Hola estudiantes!

Our first month in Bolivia will undoubtedly be one of our most important. It will be a time for us to learn about ourselves as a community, to learn about the country we will be living in, to set concrete goals, and to gain skills.

Below you will find an outline of the itinerary for our first month. I have also included some links to relevant articles and videos that might give you a better idea of what our first month together will look like. Enjoy!

August 30: Leave Miami on American Airlines flight 922 at 10:30 PM

August 31: Arrive La Paz (LPB) on AA 922 around 5:00 AM. Upon arriving, we will board transportation to our orientation spot, Sol y Luna, in the Yungas in Coroico.

September 1-6: ORIENTATION! (a detailed orientation itinerary will be handed out to students on their first day)

We will have orientation at a beautiful location called Sol y Luna in the Yungas of Bolivia. The spot gives us many spaces to meet both inside and out, is near the center of Coroico, and offers amazing views of the sprawling green hills of the Bolivian cloud forest. Activities during orientation will include things such as…

  • Health and Safety 101
  • Sessions on culture shock and integration
  • Sessions on Bolivian history and current politics
  • Introductions to topics such as coca and Andean cosmovision
  • Creating our group culture and group norms
  • Scavenger hunts and market visits in the local community
  • Hikes, rest, and reflection!

September 6-12: Homestays! Ciudad Satélite is a sprawling community on the outskirts of La Paz, and part of the larger city El Alto. Here we will collaborate with Teatro Trono, an organization that aims to empower youth through the arts, particularly theater. Ciudad Satélite will be an amazing spot to begin to delve deeply into the political history of Bolivia, into ideas of colonization, as well as rural to urban migration, and activism. Afternoons will be filled with talks, lessons, and excursions into the city.

September 12-18: Our first service project! We will relocate to a rural Aymara altiplano community. We will help build a greenhouse and learn about life in a more rural setting. During this time, we will stay and sleep in the community. Here’s a great TED talk by a former Dragon’s instructor about voluntourism and new concepts to ponder about service. (We will definitely be watching this one together, but might be good framing for beginning to formulate your own ideas of making meaning of service.)

September 18-25: A gentle introduction to the mountains! Bolivian culture is intrinsically tied to people’s relationships to the landscape and to the mountains. During these days, we will have the opportunity to explore the high Andes, delving more deeply into ideas of Andean philosophy and spirituatility. We will stay together in a community near Tuni, located about 2 hours outside of La Paz. We will hike up to the pico Austria, nestled in the Cordillera Real!

September 25-29: ORIENTATION…PART DEUX! This will be our orientation to Tiquipaya, Bolivia, our permanent home. Here we will prepare for homestays, situate ourselves in our local community and to the greater city of Cochabamba, and begin learning about our local contacts. We will also have time for talks, excursions, lessons, and planning for our learning objectives as students prepare to enter their volunteer positions. Many interesting global conferences have been held in Tiquipaya, including this one that just recently occurred.

October and onward!: Our work begins! Students will enter homestays and will begin work at their service placements and will engage in language lessons, activities, talks, and excursions. At a certain point, planning will become more student led, so keep watching the yak board for plans as they evolve!