Summer Internships in Bolivia - On Site

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Pediatric Health Internships in Bolivia

Bolivia has the highest percentage of indigenous peoples in Latin America, the Quechua and Aymara ethnic groups alone making up approximately half of the population of this diverse country. This program is based in the capital of La Paz, a cosmopolitan city confronting inequities between social classes and ethnic groups. Nationwide indigenous groups have less access to public health insurance and only 30% of indigenous women give birth in hospitals. In fact, in Latin America unequal access to healthcare is still the number one killer of moms and kids (World Bank). In the last 10 years, however, political changes have meant improved access to health and educational services for the poorest of the poor including a focus on social services provided by the government for children and adolescents. Students will experience the challenges of providing healthcare and social services for children in resource-poor settings, many from indigenous communities with distinct cultural views and languages. In addition to clinical rotations, students take medical and conversational Spanish classes, reside with a homestay family in La Paz, and can choose to volunteer at a local orphanage.


Participants in Bolivia will be housed in a homestay with a local family in the Sopocachi Neighborhood (central, upper middle class neighborhood, homestays usually apartments in high rise buildings). There will be two to three students per homestay (own room), depending on number of students at program site. Specific details about accommodations will be provided approximately 3 weeks prior to departure.

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange alternative lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


Two meals a day are included in the program: breakfast and a late lunch (2 PM).

Excursions and Day Trips

Short excursions and day trips will be included during orientation week.

Orientation week sample schedule:

  • 15 hours of Spanish classes
  • Walking tour of downtown La Paz
  • Welcome dinner and cultural show
  • Field trip to the hospital to meet all preceptors and staff
  • Lectures about Bolivian history, culture, politics, economy, and public health
  • Day tour of Lake Titicaca and Tiwanaku ruins

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz is dizzying in every respect, not only for its well-publicized altitude (3660m), but for its quirky beauty. Most travelers enter this extraordinary city via the flat sparse plains of the sprawling city of El Alto, an approach that hides the sensational surprises of the valley below. The first glimpse of La Paz will, literally, take your breath away. The city’s buildings cling to the sides of the canyon and spill spectacularly downwards. On a clear day, the imposing showy, snowy Mt Illimani (6402m) looms in the background.

La Paz must be savored over time, not only to acclimatize to the altitude, but to experience the city’s many faces. Wander at leisure through the alleys and lively markets, marvel at the interesting museums, chat to the locals in a comedor or relax over a coffee at a trendy café.

Since La Paz is sky-high, warm clothing is desirable most of the year, at least in the evenings. In summer (November to April) the climate can be harsh: rain falls most afternoons, the canyon may fill with clouds and steep streets often become torrents of runoff. In winter (May to October) days can be slightly cooler, but the sun (and its UV rays) is strong and temperatures reach the high 60s, but at night it often dips below freezing.

Source: Lonely Planet

Bolivian Currency: Bolivianos
Language Spoken: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara are the most common of Bolivia’s 37 official languages

Weather and Climate

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