Julia Haas' Time in Cochabamba
When I arrived to the small airport of Cochabamba, I never could have imagined the lasting relationships that would be built, and the unforgettable memories that would be made. I chose Volunteer Bolivia because it offered everything I wanted: Spanish classes, a homestay, and volunteer placements. I never could have anticipated how these opportunities would impact my life.
My Spanish classes were incredibly helpful. Although I had studied Spanish before arriving to Cochabamba, the classes improved my skills immensely. The professors were wonderful. They are able to teach anyone at any skill level and are very knowledgeable. My professors, Chichi and Martha, worked so patiently with me, and together we built a lifelong friendship. They are not only my close friends now, but they became my new Bolivian mothers. read more . . .
Brian Slusarz´ Volunteer Testimony
After having spent two and a half years working in Corporate America, I decided I wanted a change, and requested a six month leave of absence from my job to do a bit of traveling. I chose Volunteer Bolivia because I didn’t just want to backpack; I wanted to learn a language, volunteer and live with a local family. I began my time in Bolivia with two weeks of Spanish courses. The classes were one on one and the teachers were excellent so I quickly refreshed my skills.
Then I started my volunteer assignment with a prisoner human rights group. As a six foot blond haired American, walking into a Bolivian prison surrounded by inmates who were NOT behind bars was a very interesting experience, and much different from what I was used to, making spreadsheets in an air-conditioned office. But by the end of my time in Bolivia, visiting prisons on my own became part of my daily existence. read more . . .
As a child, in the comfort of my own home and the quiet of a darkroom, mimicking my parents every move, I was unknowingly exposed to a medium that would become a significant part of my future. I spent much of my high school career working and training as a junior docent for the Heckscher Museum of Art and further exploring photography as a medium.
Sophomore year I re-entered the darkroom enrolling in my first formal photography course. The introduction to classroom photography provided me the means to explain exactly what I had been doing in the dark, for nearly a decade. I also began mentoring a group of unmotivated adolescent boys from a nearby high school, many of whom would become partners in a future photography collaboration. My work with these boys opened my eyes to the power of using photography as a means of communication for all children. That same year I became frustrated with my attempts at translating my textbook Spanish knowledge into practical use. The desire to improve my Spanish took me to Bolivia where Volunteer Bolivia gave me the opportunity to take Spanish outside the classroom and into the real world. read more . . .
Heather Tyrer´s Volunteer Testimony
I spent three short months volunteering with Volunteer Bolivia and would not have changed a minute of it. It was at times frustrating, scary and difficult, but also a life-changing, fulfilling and amazing. I had the benefit of a couple of years of school Spanish before I went out, so I had just one week of intensive classes at VB. This helped as we just went over most of the grammar that I had already covered and then spent a lot of time talking about Bolivian culture.
Living with a family also helped my Spanish immensely and I felt immediately like one of their daughters. They were good friends from the beginning of my time and I was looked after very well, whilst still having a lot of independence. The Volunteer Bolivia centre, with its café bar and cultural talks was a meeting place for all the volunteers and I met some wonderful people from all over the world who were doing the same as me – giving something of themselves to a country which needs so much. read more . . .
BENEFIT FROM CUSTOMIZED LANGUAGE CLASSES,
VOLUNTEER WORK, AND A HOMESTAY
article about Volunteer Bolivia in Transitions Abroad
by Sara O'Neill Kohl
During May through July of 2003 I participated in a program located in Cochabamba, Bolivia run by Lee Cridland and Javier Molina. Voluntarios Bolivia is a personalized combination of Spanish language classes, volunteer work, and homestay with a local family. Working with Voluntarios Bolivia gave me the opportunity to learn far more about the culture and people of the country than I could have otherwise.
The language classes at Voluntarios Bolivia are customized to your level and are either small groups (less than four students) or one-on-one. The teachers team-teach; one focuses more on conversation and the other on grammar and structural concepts. read more . . .
From the High Andes to the Jungle…BOLIVIA
article about Volunteer Bolivia in Physiotherapy Today
Pascale Baumann, Pediatric Physiotherapist,
George Jeffrey Children’s Centre, Thunder Bay, Ontario
In September 2006, I left Thunder Bay for Bolivia carrying only a backpack, Reciprocating Gait Orthosis, and other assorted physiotherapy tools. Before leaving, I could count the things I knew about Bolivia on one hand. I knew that it is landlocked, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, and that for the first time its people have recently elected an indigenous president. But Bolivia came to mean so much more to me. Over six months, I learned the language which opened many doors, lived with a Bolivian family, joined the local volleyball and swim teams, and explored the country from the high Andes to the Amazon jungle. The people along the way taught me about the difficulties they are faced with every day – such as having no drinkable water, the regressing jungle resulting in the loss of hunting grounds and the fight to grow coca. At the same time they also showed me their strong family bonds, culture, survival skills, and how to fish for piranhas! I felt privileged to visit and live in little communities that hadn’t seen many ‘white people and blue eyes’. Without a doubt, the six months in Bolivia were a roller coaster, emotionally and physically, and raised more questions than answers.
read more . . .
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