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Volunteer Overseas

English Teaching Volunteering Projects in Bolivia

Project Overview
  • Placement locations: Cochabamba
  • Types of schools: Secondary, University
  • Age of students: 6 – 17, adults
  • Class sizes: 20 – 30, small groups at University
  • Role: Teacher or teaching assistant or lecturer assistant in English or French (German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin and Mandarin at University on request)
  • Extra-curricular roles: Dance, Music
  • Accommodation: Host families
  • Price: From Loading...
  • What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
  • What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
  • Length of placement: From 4 weeks
  • Start dates: Flexible

No Prior Teaching Experience Required

You can work as an English Teaching volunteer in Bolivia without a formal teaching qualification, and you do not need to have a TEFL certificate. Whether you want to volunteer teaching during your gap year, career break or as part of an extended holiday period, you will have a role to play on one of our volunteer placements.

Some Background on Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. With English being the language of much international business and commerce, students are very keen to learn. The level of English in Cochabamba, a vibrant university town in the central highlands, is generally low. Students in Cochabamba either speak Spanish, or Quechua (if they come from rural areas) as their native tongue, though Spanish will be the main language of communication you'll hear spoken.

The standards of conversational English teaching are usually not high, so students are keen to develop good spoken language skills wherever possible. This is where you can help as a volunteer English teacher.

English is viewed as an important language to learn, it is seen as a gateway to learning - to more books, to different professions and ultimately to international jobs. Away from the tourist trail, Cochabamba doesn't generally attract a lot of native English speakers so, as a Projects Abroad volunteer, you will be welcomed with open arms!

Teaching Placements in Bolivia

Volunteers taking part in our Teaching placements in Bolivia can choose between working at a local school or at the University of San Simon in the town of Cochabamba.

Teach at a University

A Projects Abroad Teaching volunteer works with a student in Bolivia

Projects Abroad has been supporting the Universidad Mayor de San Simón through volunteer assistance since 2002. As a volunteer teacher at the University in Bolivia, you can expect to teach between about 18 and 20 hours a week. You will also spend time preparing structured lesson plans.

Teaching students who will often be a similar age to you is fun and rewarding. They have chosen to study at University and so want to be there. They will still enjoy playing educational games in your lessons, just like younger school children - it will certainly make a change from their regular lectures! You will have a local supervisor who will be happy to guide you with lesson ideas if necessary.

At the university the levels of English vary from beginner to advanced, so do let us know if you have a teaching preference. Similarly, if you are - or have been - a university student yourself, let us know the subject area you studied and we may be able to match you up with groups of students from that discipline. Then you can use your common interests for conversation and to help them build up a relevant vocabulary.

Provide Extracurricular Courses for University Students

Teaching volunteers working at the university also provide extracurricular courses based on topics covered in classes. These include intercultural topics and world issues. Volunteers also assist both professors and students in carrying out additional educational and academic activities related to language learning or the present curriculum. For example helping students prepare presentations, correcting language in a thesis and assisting with organising student fairs.

Teach French, Italian, Dutch, German and Japanese Classes at the University

Any volunteers who speak good French can teach French classes at the university. Volunteers speaking languages like Italian, Dutch, German and Japanese also have the opportunity to arrange introductory language courses in these languages.

Teach Children from Low Income Families in Schools

Projects Abroad also works with local secondary schools providing an education to children from low-income families. Volunteers can help to provide a head-start for pupils at these schools. This is an opportunity for you to be as creative as possible, helping to make learning English fun and enjoyable. In exchange you will learn a great deal about the Bolivian culture. 

Whether you are assisting a teacher, have a class of your own or are taking extracurricular classes, your help will be greatly appreciated by your students and colleagues. If you speak good Spanish you can also help out with other subjects like maths and science if you wish.

Teaching Workshops in Bolivia

Our team in Bolivia organise regular workshops for all Teaching volunteers. The workshops will provide you with a greater insight into the education system in Bolivia and the background of the placement where you’re working. You will also receive advice and suggestions regarding activities to carry out at your teaching placement.

Teach Language Classes During School Holidays

A volunteer teaches some of her adult learners at a university in Bolivia, Latin America

The main school and University holidays take place from mid-December to the end of March. During this time we run our own popular Projects Abroad language classes. These are entirely programmed and run by Projects Abroad.

Improve Your Spanish

Taking part on a Teaching project is also a great way to improve your level of Spanish. By working at a school or university, you'll make friends with Spanish-speaking students and teachers, with whom you may want to socialise. You'll stay with a Spanish-speaking host-family which will also improve your Spanish language skills immeasurably.

You can also join a Music Teaching Project in Bolivia, where you will teach music to children in a care centre.

If you have qualifications or experience in this field then we can make use of your skills. Read more about the opportunities for skilled volunteers in Bolivia.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Bolivia Teaching Management Plan.

Interested in other volunteering opportunities? What about teaching in Costa Rica?

Bolivia Teaching Management Plan

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