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Sociology in Everyday Life in Bolivia

A Portland Community College Faculty Led Study Abroad Program-  offering 4 transferable general ed credits 

Summer 2018

Thank you for your interest!
We are still grateful and 
inspired by this experience we had in summer 2018.

Please click here for upcoming programs
or reach Aimee at 

The Andean Experience of Pachakuti

What can indigenous societies of the Andes tell us about our changing social-environmental world?

Bolivia is home to the largest percentage of South America’s indigenous people (with 36 ethnic groups) and the first indigenous president on the continent. Remaining off-the-beaten tourist path, it is an ideal place to learn from experiences and perspectives of local indigenous groups as we’ll be immersed in cultures so distinct from our own. 

We'll explore the ways of life of various communities in Bolivia, observing the innovative roles they play in responding to rapid globalization and environmental concerns. As we do, we'll gain a unique lens to study human interactions and how societies are organized.


We'll learn how social inequality is created across race, class, gender, age, and by cultural processes in the Andes; its impact on societies there, how social change is manifesting in the region amidst extraordinary circumstances, and how we can best acknowledge and serve those on the front lines protecting what matters.


Join us as we participate as global citizens in this deeply diverse region; enjoying close-in connections with creative, determined, and wisdom-rich docents of Bolviia's indigenous world! 

An Aymara man and traditional Totora reed boat, Lake Titicaca. Pete Oxford


  • Practice ethnography, the art of observing society from the point of view of its members, and - as a final project option - a chance to develop your own short documentary video.

  • Experience Pachakuti, and the Quechua (indigenous) view of how our world is ~going through a process of re-balancing through tumultuous events. 

  • Learn how traditional medicine practitioners and shamans are encouraging we “live well but not better” (than others, nor at the cost of others).

  • Visit with youth theater troupes supporting indigenous resilience

  • Bolivian guest speakers

  • Dine and hear from creators at Gustu, a restaurant that the New York Times called "the most La Paz...both a restaurant and an experiment in social uplift". Hear about their mission to revitalize the art of Andean foods. 

  • Visit with students and faculty at Indigenous University of Bolivia (UNIBOL-Quechua) for a discussion on Education for Living in Harmony.

Dancers during Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria, 

Copacabana, Lake Titicaca. Robert Harding


  • Three weeks in Bolivia (depart July 1 to La Paz and return July 22, 2018)

  • We'll home base in two cities: 

    La Paz, the highest capital city in the world; dwarfed by the magnificent icebound peak of Mount Illimani; with sleek design hotels and edgy art scene.

    Cochabamba, a bustling metropolis with narrow streets dotted with buildings from the 16th century, and considered the "The Garden City" due to its year-round springlike climate. 

  • Excursions include: two nights on Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca, Tiwanaku ruins, and Carrasco National Park to learn about rural indigenous life set within Bolivia's wildlife and natural resources. 

  • Ten days in home-stays with local families to immerse yourself in the culture (Spanish is not required)​


Ismael Saavedra, of the School for International Training's (SIT's) study abroad program in Cochabamba. Ismael will share indigenous perspectives of social and political life in Bolivia, through his own presentations, and by connecting us to Bolivian guest speakers and site visits. He will also guide us in the art of digital storytelling for media projects during the course.


Ismael is a scholar and documentarist whose knowledge of his native Bolivia was formed as an air force pilot, as a student of political science and law, as a law professor, and eventually through his film career. In 2006 Ismael launched SIT's Lens on Latin America, a program that focuses on video production in the Latin American context.


Aimee Samara Krouskop, of Portland Community College. Aimee will lead the course: Sociology in Everyday Life, through the lens of Bolivian society by facilitating meaningful connections between participants and our Andean hosts, incorporating insights from her 15 years contributing to innovative social change throughout the global south.


Aimee has: evaluated international Fair Trade relationships in Central and South America; supported indigenous and agrarian civil war survivors; designed cross-agency collaboration for emergency relief with the United Nations; and served as a human rights protector in Colombia, providing physical protection to civilians in remote conflict zones and political protection via international diplomacy routes.

Aimee also brings her experience producing and leading impactful international education. She launched tours for the first Fair Trade Organization in the US that connected Fair Trade supporters with artisans in Guatemala, and she has led international delegations throughout Colombia that introduced participants to a close-in account of the social dynamics of the regional armed conflict. 

Main image: Aymara indigenous women Lidia Huayllas and Dora Magueno stand near Milluni lake, with Potosí mountain in the background. They worked as porters and cooks for mountaineers, and now do their own climbing, having scaled five peaks higher than 19,500 ft (above sea level).   - David Mercado

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