We wanted to give you some additional details about the first couple weeks of our trip and the structure of our long homestays in Tiquipaya.
After your group lands in La Paz early morning on February 8th, we will head directly to Coroico in the Yungas, about four hours outside of La Paz, for four days of orientation. (More details about orientation will come when you arrive in country!) You may have noticed that we have switched orientation spots from what was listed on our previous itinerary post. We figured that since we will be spending so much time early in our course in the Cochabamba area, we wanted to give you a chance to see another area of the country during orientation. We know you’re going to love the Yungas!
After orientation we will return to La Paz to transfer to a flota (long-distance bus) for the 7-10 hour ride to Cochabamba. We will drop off some gear there and prepare for trekking, then transfer for the 4-5 hour ride to Toro Toro National Park for our trek. On day 10 of course (February 17) we will enter our (approximately) month-long homestays in Tiquipaya (outside of Cochabamba).
Students often experience some level of antsiness staying for a long time in one place so early in the course, which is totally normal. Many of you are coming on this course looking for big adventure and lots of travel. But, the upside is that you are going to get a ton of language, cultural, and historical knowledge that will be crucial to delve deeply into the rest of the experiences. In addition, there is going to be so much travel and adventure in the second half of our course which will more than satisfy even the most extreme travel & adventure itch.
We instructors (as well as you students) will plan a few weekend getaways during our time in Tiquipaya to step away in order to reflect on the homestay experience as well as boost the group’s excitement and spend time together. More details about that to come.
Here is a tentative schedule for our time in Tiquipaya:
7:30 Group exercise time (30 mins) at the Dragons Program House (which is situated on an organic farm). Everyone should be there to attend at least a few times each week.
8:00 Morning group time and check-in (1 hour 15 mins). This could be a lesson from an instructor, group discussion, and/or yak-writing time.
9:15 Spanish classes (3 hours). There will be 3 or 4 separate “classes” depending on level.
12:15 Return to homestay family for lunch.
Afternoon Independent study projects (ISPs) and Charlas. ISPs with mentors two or three days a week (usually on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). On Tuesday and Thursday there will be a flexible charla schedule on diverse themes/topics. Charlas could be a guest speaker, documentary viewing, or site-visit in Tiquipaya or Cochabamba.
* Your Spanish teachers usually do an interactive lesson in Cochabamba (about a 30 minute trufi ride away) once a week.
** In addition to the above-mentioned structured time, we strongly encourage you to spend as much time as you can with your family. It can be uncomfortable to enter someone else’s home, especially at first, but this is going to be the most meaningful part of your time in Bolivia and Peru and so we want you to nurture this relationship above all else.
*** Two students, Pat and Maddie, are taking Spanish for college credit, so they will likely need to attend additional Spanish classes.
**** For the students with proficient Spanish, there will probably be an opportunity to take classes in Quecha, at least a few times a week.
There will be an educational theme for the charlas each week while we are in Tiquipaya. Some examples of themes could include the following:
P.S. Thank you for all the students introductions! We love getting to know you. We are just waiting on three more: Eliza, Pat, and Sophia.
P.P.S. Us four instructors will be attending an instructor orientation outside Santa Cruz, in eastern Bolivia, from Jan 30 – Feb 6. We should have access to internet if any last minute questions come up so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!