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Program Information:



NOTE: This program will not run in Summer 2018.

  • Gain a holistic perspective of life in urban Bolivia and the rural Andes Mountains.
  • Earn three credits in just over two weeks in-country.

  • Conduct fieldwork like an anthropologist by researching a topic of your interest.

  • Gain an inside understanding of Bolivian history, Aymara cultural traditions, and current political economic issues.

  • Learn about agricultural livelihoods, rural development, and climate change from local farmers.

  • Learn how community democracy works and generates social movements.

  • Enjoy mountain hikes, swimming in waterfalls, and stunning vistas!

  • Most students will receive scholarships of $300-$600. See more information below, as well as other scholarship opportunities!

  • Check out photos from this program!


Talking with locals in Bolivia

The South American nation of Bolivia is situated high in the Andes Mountains and extends deep into the Amazon rainforest. Its majority indigenous population speaks the languages and carries on many traditions of ancient civilizations. People from around the world go off the beaten path to seek adventure in this place and to experience its varied landscapes, striking beauty, and rich cultural heritage. Bolivia has deep cultural traditions, a unique historical trajectory, and long-term relationships with the United States and Europe--both of which have wielded enormous influence in this small South American country. As part of Latin America's New Left, current Bolivian politics are dynamic and innovative.

The program involves significant physical exertion and endurance, including long walks up and down steep hills in Coroico and La Paz, enduring extensive dusty and bouncy bus rides, an early morning hike to the top of a mountain, basic bathroom facilities at many destinations, and the absence of potable water (students will be given detailed instructions on health and safety preparations at the pre-departure orientation).


Students will stay in a beautifully rustic hotel in Coroico, with lush gardens, a swimming pool, and the best view in town. A buffet breakfast with locally grown coffee and outdoor seating is provided each day at the hotel. Welcome and farewell dinners are included in the program fee, and several other group meals will be provided during excursions.


You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to Bolivia and back. Transportation on program-related field trips while in Bolivia is provided as part of the program fee.


  • Course: ANTH 4020, Democracy & Development in Bolivia: Indigenous History and Culture Through Globalization, Climate Change, and the U.S. War on Drugs
  • Credits: 3 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for:
    • Upper-division Engineering Humanities & Social Sciences credit.
    • This course is a special topics course and cannot be used to fulfill any A&S Core requirements. For major, minor or certificate approvals, please consult the major/minor approvals spreadsheet.
  • Grading: This is a CU Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See Course Description

The goal of this Global Seminar is for students to develop a deep historical and personal perspective on cultural values and organizational traditions in multiple rural communities around Coroico, Bolivia. The course also provides grounded context for Bolivia's national political economic trend called the New Left and international perspective on the U.S. "War on Drugs." During three 3-hour sessions in Boulder before your departure and through each stduent's targeted research, we will review the history of Bolivia and the particular cultural context of the Yungas region. Once in country we will spend the first few days studying the urban features of the capitol city of La Paz. The group will then spend two weeks on the Eastern slope of the Andes mountains in the Coroico municipality having an ethnographic experience with local people and organizations.

The course does not require Spanish proficiency, though students are encouraged to develop at least basic communication skills prior to arrival in the country. The course will appeal to those majoring in Anthropology, International Affairs, Geography, Environmental Studies, Political Science, Economics, Business, Engineering, and other related disciplines.


The program is directed by Dr. Caroline S. Conzelman, Ph.D., Anthropology Instructor and Faculty-in-Residence with the Global Studies and Sustainability RAPs at CU Boulder. Dr. Conzelman has traveled extensively around the world and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the Yungas of Bolivia since 1997. Her university courses cover such topics as globalization, democracy, social change, drug policy, immigration, climate change, Latin American history, community engagement, and service learning. She selects Bolivia Global Seminar program participants, leads the pre- departure orientation, teaches the course, and acts as the program director in Bolivia.

See Dr. Conzelman's Faculty Spotlight.


You will participate in experiential outings to rural community meetings, family agricultural fields, elementary and secondary schools, sports and music events, honey and coffee cooperatives, cultural centers, tourist hotspots, and rural development projects. Students will spend their first few days in La Paz.



    The following scholarships are specifically for program participants. If you complete a Buffs Abroad application and meet the criteria for these awards, you will automatically be considered.

    • Most students will receive scholarships of $300-$600. These will be determined partially by need, area of study and eligibility.

    • Engineering students are eligible for matching scholarships (an additional $300-$600).

    • Leeds students are eligible to apply for Opportunity Funds if they haven’t yet spent their funds.

    • PLC students are eligible to apply for Enrichment Funds.

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Grants: (up to $2,400/project) for undergraduate research or creative work projects including projects while studying abroad. Application, detailed descriptions, project archive (to get project ideas) are available on the UROP website. Application deadline is EARLY - usually in late February/early March.




Program Reviews:
Summer 2014 Participant
The course is very experiential and interactive. Everyday there are engaging discussions and you get to meet experts on topics that you study. You have your own research that you do, so you get to decide how you want the class to relate to your interests and can choose how in depth you want to study your topic. Coroico is a beautiful place with very welcoming people. The small town feel sets in quickly as you see people you know everyday in the plaza or your favorite restaurant. It is better to know Spanish before you go so that you can get to know the locals on a deeper level.

Summer 2014 Participant
Everythign was amazing. The course was very self directed which although was very challenging, was very rewarding. We had to interact with locals in order to fulfill our research, which was amazing, and the location was stunning.

Joseph Palmer Resnick, Summer 2017 Participant
There was so much to do! I played soccer with the locals in Coroico, I went outdoors into the jungle and was constantly doing different activities. If you enjoy nature or adventuring, then Bolivia will not leave you hanging as there are plenty opportunities for of excursions.

Joseph Palmer Resnick, Summer 2017 Participant
I learned more in the field than I could in a textbook. The information is absorbed in such a different, more meaningful way that makes learning so much more thrilling and real. We were studying reality instead of a typical textbook.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 01-MAR-2019 ** Variable TBA TBA

** Most programs’ applications are reviewed on a rolling basis (starting August 1st for Spring programs and January 15th for Summer and Fall programs). NOTE: Some programs start the admissions process earlier and fill before the deadline, and some programs’ applications aren’t reviewed until after the deadline. Check with Education Abroad staff for details.