Global Service Learning: Bolivia

This program is designed for students with an interest in consulting and non-profit management who are seeking a hands-on, project-based experience that will allow you to develop professional skills while benefiting a global community partner. In Bolivia, we work with CEOLI, a school for disabled children and young adults. You'll be enrolled in a three credit course and spend the week of spring break in Cochabamba working directly with CEOLI. To get a better idea of the program and project, be sure to check out past participants' blogs here!

The Global Service Learning program gives you the opportunity to use your business skills to make a difference in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This hands-on, semester-long project will give you initial exposure to consulting work, as well as exposure to the environment of an international non-profit organization. You will be pushed to put your business knowledge to the test and gain new skills in order to help meet the needs of the local community. To be successful, you must be flexible, open, patient, hard-working, and able to handle yourself professionally in delicate community situations. 

About out community partner, CEOLI - Ceoli provides education and healthcare to low-income children with disabilities and works with those children to develop self-sufficiency, providing their students wtih the tools to lead more independent and successful lives after their time at the school. Furthermore, CEOLI works with the larger community to help change the societal perception of people with disabilities.

This program is a partnership between Pitt Business and Pitt Business Student Organizations (PBSO). Participants must be active members of a PBSO and will receive automatic $2000 scholarships (see Pricing and Dates section). 

 

What You'll Accomplish

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • global experience in effective project management through active community engagement 
  • the abiilty to apply business skills that make a difference in the community through a non-profit consulting project
  • an understanding of the impact of service-learning on leadership and global competence

 

Bolivia is a South American country bordering Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile. It gained independence from Spain in 1845 and boasts a variety of terrain, including mountains, desert, and rainforest. The country's history spans at least 2,000 years and was temporarily under Incan rule during the 15th and 16th centuries. Due to the large indigenous population, Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani are official languages along with Spanish. As a developing country, the economy is driven by agriculture, manufacturing, and mining.
The program will primarily take place in Cochabamba, a city in Central Bolivia that is tucked into the Andean Mountains. Known as the "City of Eternal Spring" and "The Garden City", the area enjoys temperate conditions all year. The city is home to the largest open-air market in the Americas as well as beautiful plazas, fountains, statues, and churches. The program will spend one night in Santa Cruz, the largest city and commercial center of Bolivia.

Where You'll Live

Students will stay in a hotel in Cochabamba. You can expect your hotel to include:

  • double or triple occupancy rooms
  • shared bathrooms
  • linens and towels
  • daily breakfast
  • wifi

You should be prepared for and open to the concept of simpler and more rustic accommodations than would be expected at home.

What You'll Study

You will earn three credits for the program through 'BUS 1755 - Service Learning in Organizations'. The academic course will take place during the spring semester on Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:00am -12:15pm. 
For Pitt Business students, this course fulfills a foreign culture requirement, a social sciences requirement, an elective towards the Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the functional elective towards the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics, and the Projects in Global Management Capstone for Global Management majors.
 

Service Learning in Organizations (BUS1755)

This course explores service learning as a form of active learning that values critical thinking and problem solving. When service-learning is effectively implemented, students gain in measures of academic achievement, citizenship, and leadership competence. There are several components of the service learning (SL) approach:

  • SL uses community service as the vehicle for the attainment of students' academic goals and objectives.
  • Community service fills a need in the community through volunteer efforts. Service-learning also fills that need, but it uses that need as a foundation to examine ourselves, society, and the future. Further, service-learning provides students with opportunities to use newly acquired skills and knowledge in real-life situations.
  • SL identifies in advance and tracks specific learning objectives and goals.
  • Students perform a valuable, significant, and necessary service which has real consequence to a community, organization or other stakeholder group.
  • SL enhances student learning by joining theory with experience and thought with action; it also helps students to see the relevance of academic subject to the real world.
  • SL also builds leadership competence through practice, reflection and active engagement.

Upon completion of the course, students will have accomplished the following:

  1. Developed an understanding of the concept of servant leadership and how it explains the inextricable link between ethics and effective leadership.
  2. Studied the key characteristics of servant leadership and how they related to and impact both personal and business success.
  3. Enhanced one's project management skills by working as part of a team on a servant leadership project.
  4. Develop critical leadership skills such as conflict resolution, negotiations and high impact communication.
  5. Applied course concepts to a relevant example in the service learning project, in which the teams work on a specific external project related to leadership, social responsibility, and ethics in business.
  6. Applied course concepts using a case analysis, business plan, and/or presentation to a client.
Experiential Learning Description

Service-learning is a great example of experiential learning. This course is a project-based, hands-on experience, and you should be prepared to utilize the consulting and transferable skills discussed in class lectures toward your project deliverables during your time working in-country with the community organization. You will be supported by Pitt Business faculty, staff, and executives-in-residence throughout the experience.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $2,598 $2,598
Program Fee $1402 $1402
Study Abroad Fee $0 $0
Total Billed by Pitt $4,000 $4,000

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Personal Expenses $200

Total Estimated Program Cost

  In-State Out-of-State

Total Estimated Cost of Program
(Includes items billed by Pitt and additional expenses)

$4,200 $4,200

 

What's Included

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition
  • Round trip flights from Pittsburgh-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz-Pittsburgh
  • Intra-country flights between Santa Cruz and Cochabamba
  • $160 Visa fee
  • Housing
  • Cultural and project-related site visits
  • Transportation to and from all cultural and project-related site visits
  • Most meals
  • International health insurance

While your program fee will cover most of your expenses, keep in mind that you are also responsible for the following:

  • Some meals (~$100-$300)
  • Additional spending money

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.  Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

When You'll Go

Traveling to and from Bolivia
Round trip flights are included as part of the program fee, and Pitt Business International Programs staff will book flights on your behalf in late October or early November. Flights will depart Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 7 for Bolivia, and will depart Bolivia for Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 14. Flight details will be shared with you at the beginning of the spring semester.
While in Bolivia - Itinerary and Independent Travel
Click here to download a tentative itinerary for the program. Please note this is subject to change up to the week prior to departure!
Due to the nature of the program and limited time in-country, independent travel is not permitted.
 
 
 

What Else You Need to Know

All students are required to attend the mandatory Agreement Meeting on Friday, October 11, 2019.  This afternoon long event will cover important topics relevant to study abroad like health, safety, security, and more.  Plus, it will give you the chance to meet other students studying abroad on your programs!  Alumni and staff will also be present to help you start thinking about your goals for the program.Your program manager will follow up with more information once you begin your application!
Students participating in the program will receive:
 

  • A $2,000 scholarship, bringing the program fee to $2000
  • For additional scholarship opportunities, be sure to check out the Pitt Study Abroad Scholarship page

 
"As a Global Management major, this project immediately caught my eye because of the emphasis on project-based, experential learning with an international component. Over the course of the semester, I was able to gain exposure to the consulting field and the unique challenges presented when working with non-profits. I was challenged to work effectively with a team in a situation that presented a lot of uncertiantly, all while trying to create something of value to our client in Bolivia - these are skills you can't sharpen in the usual business class setting. I can attribute a lot of my professional and personal development to my involvement in this project and I encourage any student considering this opportunity to take advantage of it." - Anna Robinson, GSL Bolivia, Senior Global Management and Supply Chain major
""This program was honestly a once in a lifetime experience. I met amazing individuals, went to a country I never thought I would, and worked with a non-profit organization that changes the lives of individuals it serves. One of the most rewarding parts of this experience, however, was it introduced me to and cemented a future career path. Finance is a broad field and it was difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what I wanted to do. Luckily, this project exposed me to consulting with a company truly in need and showed me the vast impact a group of 11 students can have in a short period of time. I am now applying to consulting internships and want to enter into that field! Additionally, this experience definitely gives me an edge compared to the traditional finance track because I was able to acquire skills that cannot be taught in the classroom setting. If it wasn't for this project, I am not sure whether I would ever think to pursue consulting!"” - Alexander Bloom, GSL Bolivia, Junior Finance major
"After our in-country aspect of this course, I can say that I have obtained life-changing transferable intercultural skills that I really could not have gained elsewhere. There is something so different and enlightening about going to a different country, being at their service, and having the trip tied to a university course.” - Candice Chang, GSL Bolivia
"Participating in the Global Service Learning: Bolivia program during my spring semester this year has been one of the richest and most fulfilling experiences I have had the pleasure of participating in during my collegiate experience thus far. The in-class discussions have been engaging and informative and nothing can compare to the life changing experience my classmates and I shared while in Bolivia.” - Michael Claricurzio, GSL Bolivia
"I feel global business is not something you can fully understand until you deal with it on a first-hand basis. I have read multiple articles and researches on global business, but I did not fully understand what I would be dealing with until I was in country. Being in Cochabamba has truly shaped my understanding of global business.” - Nicole Durigon, GSL Bolivia
"I learned that if you go in with a positive attitude and not make assumptions beforehand you can easily have a great experience and learn a lot. International service learning is something that impacted me greatly and seeing our work have a meaningful effect on the people of CEOLI is extremely rewarding.” - Susmita Ghose, GSL Bolivia
"As our experience with service learning Bolivia comes to a conclusion, I can honestly asses that this experience has developed me both personally and professionally. Going in to this experience I had underestimated the impact this experience would have on my life. I did not anticipate the depth of the project and amount I would learn. I assumed a more surface level impression this trip would leave on me, and I am extremely glad this experience impacted me far more than I imagined it would.” - Molly Horrell, GSL Bolivia
"Going into Pitt, I knew I wanted to study abroad in some capacity. From talking to peers, I gathered an understanding for the growing opportunity that study abroad provides. I chose to do a Global Service Learning program because it gave me the opportunity to incorporate service -- something I am very passionate about -- into my travels, creating a very meaningful experience." - Nora Kraus, GSL Bolivia
"It’s my belief that through working through challenging projects like this, pushing myself into unfamiliar situations (and countries), and keeping an open mind, I will continue to adapt into a more confident and ambitious person and marketer. This was the second of my four study abroad trips.” - Eliza Tavola, GSL Bolivia
"This past week was one of the busiest, craziest, and most amazing weeks I have ever experienced. Having the opportunity to travel to Cochabamba, Bolivia was a trip I will never forget. This was my first experience outside of the country and it surpassed all my expectations. I was amazed by the beauty of the country and even though I was super nervous to travel that far away from home I felt super comfortable and happy being in Cochabamba.” - Nicole Wall, GSL Bolivia
"I learned the importance of pivot in business, and in life in general. People who can pivot don’t get caught up in problems or miss opportunities. People who can pivot take advantage of opportunities and know how to steer through difficult and messy situations.” - Kimi Wong, GSL Bolivia 
"I think it is safe to say that any international experience will change you in ways that you do not expect. However, the additional dimension of working with a non-profit that has such an amazing impact on its surrounding community really caused the experience to develop a greater impact than I had initially thought was possible.” - David Yesilonis, GSL Bolivia
 
"As a Global Management major, this project immediately caught my eye because of the emphasis on project-based, experential learning with an international component. Over the course of the semester, I was able to gain exposure to the consulting field and the unique challenges presented when working with non-profits. I was challenged to work effectively with a team in a situation that presented a lot of uncertiantly, all while trying to create something of value to our client in Bolivia - these are skills you can't sharpen in the usual business class setting. I can attribute a lot of my professional and personal development to my involvement in this project and I encourage any student considering this opportunity to take advantage of it." - Anna Robinson, GSL Bolivia, Senior Global Management and Supply Chain major
""This program was honestly a once in a lifetime experience. I met amazing individuals, went to a country I never thought I would, and worked with a non-profit organization that changes the lives of individuals it serves. One of the most rewarding parts of this experience, however, was it introduced me to and cemented a future career path. Finance is a broad field and it was difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what I wanted to do. Luckily, this project exposed me to consulting with a company truly in need and showed me the vast impact a group of 11 students can have in a short period of time. I am now applying to consulting internships and want to enter into that field! Additionally, this experience definitely gives me an edge compared to the traditional finance track because I was able to acquire skills that cannot be taught in the classroom setting. If it wasn't for this project, I am not sure whether I would ever think to pursue consulting!"” - Alexander Bloom, GSL Bolivia, Junior Finance major
"After our in-country aspect of this course, I can say that I have obtained life-changing transferable intercultural skills that I really could not have gained elsewhere. There is something so different and enlightening about going to a different country, being at their service, and having the trip tied to a university course.” - Candice Chang, GSL Bolivia
"Participating in the Global Service Learning: Bolivia program during my spring semester this year has been one of the richest and most fulfilling experiences I have had the pleasure of participating in during my collegiate experience thus far. The in-class discussions have been engaging and informative and nothing can compare to the life changing experience my classmates and I shared while in Bolivia.” - Michael Claricurzio, GSL Bolivia
"I feel global business is not something you can fully understand until you deal with it on a first-hand basis. I have read multiple articles and researches on global business, but I did not fully understand what I would be dealing with until I was in country. Being in Cochabamba has truly shaped my understanding of global business.” - Nicole Durigon, GSL Bolivia
"I learned that if you go in with a positive attitude and not make assumptions beforehand you can easily have a great experience and learn a lot. International service learning is something that impacted me greatly and seeing our work have a meaningful effect on the people of CEOLI is extremely rewarding.” - Susmita Ghose, GSL Bolivia
"As our experience with service learning Bolivia comes to a conclusion, I can honestly asses that this experience has developed me both personally and professionally. Going in to this experience I had underestimated the impact this experience would have on my life. I did not anticipate the depth of the project and amount I would learn. I assumed a more surface level impression this trip would leave on me, and I am extremely glad this experience impacted me far more than I imagined it would.” - Molly Horrell, GSL Bolivia
"Going into Pitt, I knew I wanted to study abroad in some capacity. From talking to peers, I gathered an understanding for the growing opportunity that study abroad provides. I chose to do a Global Service Learning program because it gave me the opportunity to incorporate service -- something I am very passionate about -- into my travels, creating a very meaningful experience." - Nora Kraus, GSL Bolivia
"It’s my belief that through working through challenging projects like this, pushing myself into unfamiliar situations (and countries), and keeping an open mind, I will continue to adapt into a more confident and ambitious person and marketer. This was the second of my four study abroad trips.” - Eliza Tavola, GSL Bolivia
"This past week was one of the busiest, craziest, and most amazing weeks I have ever experienced. Having the opportunity to travel to Cochabamba, Bolivia was a trip I will never forget. This was my first experience outside of the country and it surpassed all my expectations. I was amazed by the beauty of the country and even though I was super nervous to travel that far away from home I felt super comfortable and happy being in Cochabamba.” - Nicole Wall, GSL Bolivia
"I learned the importance of pivot in business, and in life in general. People who can pivot don’t get caught up in problems or miss opportunities. People who can pivot take advantage of opportunities and know how to steer through difficult and messy situations.” - Kimi Wong, GSL Bolivia 
"I think it is safe to say that any international experience will change you in ways that you do not expect. However, the additional dimension of working with a non-profit that has such an amazing impact on its surrounding community really caused the experience to develop a greater impact than I had initially thought was possible.” - David Yesilonis, GSL Bolivia