Spanish major students from Santa Barbara City College will be soon traveling to Cochabamba, Bolivia to study the language. The study abroad program only costs $1,900, without airfare costs, and is deemed as the cheapest exchange program in the whole of United States. Any level of Spanish student is welcome to be a part of the program and learn Spanish in classes that are conducted by native Bolivian speakers. Francisco Rodriguez, the program’s director, is very happy about how the program turned out to be.
He said that study will be not only a linguistic immersion but also a cultural immersion because you can feel and touch and experience things at a whole new, different level. Bolivia has a strong pre-hispanic component, which you can see on its streets which is full of indigenous people with whom you can engage in conversations. Tanja Reutimann, a major Spanish student from SBCC who will be going on the exchange program trip, said that she’d gone to the earlier study abroad trip to Peru and it was a wonderful experience. But it is different with Bolivia because it is more indigenous. Bolivia has a lot more natural wonders as well.
The music it a major component of the South American country, especially then quena, a traditional flute from the Andes, that is very famous in the country. Rodriguez said that Bolivia has a distinct culture and much people don’t relate to it because the instruments are very unique.
Living with Bolivian families
The exchange program students will be living with Bolivian families who live at a walking distance from the school they’ll be attending. Reutimann feels that it is a wonderful opportunity because living with a family makes it so much more personal. Students will be given three meals a day. Along with studying, students will also be able to travel around exploring the beautiful country.