Need Some Advice Regarding Moving to Cochabamba, Bolivia

by Marc
(Silver Spring, MD USA)

Hola, I am an American whose wife is Bolivian. We have 3 children and live right outside of Washington DC. My oldest son is now off to college and my wife and I are tired of this rat race so we are planning on heading to her hometown by birth, Cochabamba. I have visited before, as have all my children, so we have some idea of what to expect. We have the advantage of her parents having two homes in Cochabamba we can reside in since they also reside here in the states. What we are more focused on is the school system, my girls are 8 and 15 but they do speak Spanish (my oldest begrudgingly). We are wondering if it is better to pay the costs of having them in the "American School" since it follows the same type of curriculum?


I would also like to know about possible teaching jobs. Of course realizing teachers get paid little, I still would like to try my hand at teaching English. I am by no means TESOL certified, but I have taught classes before on a volunteer basis for those who English was a second language and I loved it. Any tips on this would be appreciated (possible schools or places to find private students).

I thank you in advance, and looking forward to communicating with other expats from around the world.

many Thanks,

Marc

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Aug 24, 2013
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A bit of thought and experience
by: Anonymous

I will share my experience regarding my children's schooling in Bolivia and the US and how that has worked out. I had all three of mine go to the SC Christian Learning Center, a missionary all English speaking and USA calendar school in Santa Cruz. All three learned both languages to the point that they all are 100% bilingual and have a high school diploma valid in the States and a Bolivian high school "bachillerato". With these, they were able to easily attend college, university and post graduate studies in the USA, based in what they had learned and how they learned going to school. They were also able to complete Diplomados and Seminars, and Workshops here in Bolivia. I thought important to balance in their lives the concept of North and South and be able to live in both worlds, appreciating both cultures and examples. I know that the Carachipampa school serves the area of Cbba. You may wish to find more about them.

You may also wish to balance between who will be their life - friends and those that will remain from going to HS…. my children had the opportunity to have both sets of friends. -- here in Bolivia and in the Wash DC area. They attended Bishop Dennis J O'Connell for 2 years of High School yet graduated from SCCLC.

Important to consider principles and values within their education. Nowadays in Bolivia there is a change in the cosmovision from "humanistic-biblical" to "aninismo" a theology of an Andean cosmovision called "Cosmovision Andina".

As for your teaching, there is always the CBA Centro Boliviano Americano where you can teach hours of English. You need to have a Title in Provision Nacional in order for you to teach at a university. In order for you to do that, you need to have all your docs. (certificates, title, grades) translated, notarized, sealed by the Secty of State, and taken to the Bolivian Consulate before coming down and then will be taken to the Cancilleria, SEDUCA, and you'll be spending some $$…and some more…. (sorry).. Best wishes to you and family. Bolivia, especially LPZ, CBBA and SCZ are now beginning to be the rat-race cities, so several thoughts need to be considered before jumping the gun..:)…thank you for reading….. and best of luck.

Aug 24, 2013
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The Bolivian School Year is Different
by: Anonymous

You also have to consider that in Bolivia the school year begins at the end of January or first week of February and ends in November. It doesn't coincide at all with the U.S. or European school year. So, depending on when you move, your children would either have to wait for the new school year to start (if they arrive mid year, resulting in them being out of school for weeks or months) or, if they could find a Bolivian school that would accept them mid-year (most don't) they would most likely end up repeating a part of their current grade level. Most Bolivian schools do not allow students to skip a semester or a grade.

Aug 24, 2013
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Schools etc.
by: Anonymous

I taught in Cochabamba for 14 years, and then made the move the other direction - to Canada - after marrying and having two children. We brought them here to put them in school and give them the opportunities for university that we wouldn't be able to afford living there.

As far as schools go, you kind of need to think about what you want for their future. Are you or they hoping to go back to the States for post-secondary? Then you want to make sure they are in a school that will give them the background to write the SAT or whatever they have to do in the US. The American school (used to be called Calvert - I think it has a different name now) is of course one option, but there are others. Carachipampa is an excellent school, but it is an evangelical school so you have to make sure that doesn't bother you. There is also another English school (Colegio Boliviano Americano or something like that). I don't know what it's status is as far as international education.

If you want to go with a biligual school there is Colegio Tiquipaya, and Capilla de Cochabamba. After that, you go "down" from there - there's the paid/public school where the teachers won't go on strike as often because you pay some sort of tuition, and then there's the public schools (definitely not a good option as the education standard is not the same as what you are used to). Even at the English schools they will get lots of Spanish.

As for teaching: if you are willing to teach English, getting a job is not difficult. Try some of those schools I names above - some of them will require teaching certificates, but some will not (I was head of the English dept at Tiquipaya for 4 years and I know we had some English teachers that didn't have certification). Also, go to all those schools and any other you can find and give your name and phone # for private English tutoring. Also, there are some English prekinders/day cares with families who will pay for you to teach their children English. Also try the English institutes.

Having said all that, I have been back in Canada for 10 years, so there may be some things that have changed, but hopefully that should get you started. Cochabamba is the best place in the world - have a great time!

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