A mix of Spanish and Indigenous heritage, acting as a natural bridge connecting the Andean regions with the Amazon – Bolivia is the perfect place to enjoy your study abroad experience! Heirs of glorious and ancient cultures, many people in Bolivia still preserve centuries-old traditions, shown by the diverse languages, uniquely colorful fashion, dances and music, and a veritable treasure of native folklore. You might get the chance to visit the capital La Paz, the world’s highest capital city at two miles above sea level.

The social life of Bolivian teenagers usually revolves around the family and extended relatives. Discos, parties, movies and playing sports such as soccer, basketball, and volleyball are fun activities enjoyed in their spare time.

People and community

Bolivians tend to be relaxed about everything, especially time and punctuality. They are very open, friendly and welcoming so don’t be surprised if they express affection by hugging, kissing on the cheeks or saying hello to everyone they meet. Your friends will be your family’s friends since family is in the center of Bolivian life. Most Bolivian families and communities have strong religious ties, and can be considered conservative or traditionalist.

Host Family

Family is the backbone of Bolivian society, and it is uncommon for children to leave home before they get married. For most Bolivian families. Sunday, (día de la familia) is family day, where members share experiences and stories over lunch or dinner. Teens are expected to follow their rules.

School

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The school year starts in February and ends in November, running from Monday to Friday (8 am to 1 pm). You will probably wear a school uniform, and can expect a very formal relationship between students and teachers.

Language

While the primary language in Bolivia is Spanish, most of the rural locals also speak their native tongues: Quechua, Aymara or Guaraní. AFS will provide an intensive Spanish course when you start your program, but having prior basic knowledge of Spanish will be an asset.

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Food

Food in Bolivia varies depending on the region. Food from the higher mountainous regions contain a lot of spices, whereas dishes in the lowlands and Amazonic region of Bolivia tend to be comprised of yucca, fish, vegetables and fruit. Typical Bolivian dishes include Papas Rellenas (deep fried balls of mashed potato stuffed with a boiled egg or cheese), salteñas (baked dough and filled with meat, vegetables, egg, olives and a slightly spicy sauce) and pique a lo macho (bite-sized pieces of beef, sausage, onions, spicy peppers, boiled egg and fries).

Bolivian quinoa salad, courtesy of master chef Katie! 💚💯

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Explore the Programs Available in Bolivia