Welcome to Connet2Bolivia
Connect2Bolivia is a program development company located in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Connect2Bolivia acts as a liaison between the Bolivian people and people from across the globe. To achieve lasting intercultural relationships, we offer a wide variety of services including but not limited to housing, transportation, excursions, field trips, independent and group traveling packages, private classes and tours with locals, medical travel assistance, service-learning, student teaching, Spanish & Quechua language courses, and exchange programs in Bolivia & the United States. We are seeking interested partners to further develop Connect2Bolivia programs as well as University affiliated programs and unique educational opportunities.
We welcome independents, students, educators, and professionals alike who seek a unique, cultural experience filled with adventure and learning.
Connect2Bolivia empowers individuals to experience and understand the multicultural communities of Bolivia through a global classroom setting. This allows for a unique, firsthand experience with the geographically diverse and ever-changing world of Bolivia.
To establish a rewarding educational travel experience from a wide variety of cultural, religious, political, ethnic, and racial backgrounds in hopes of achieving long-lasting global relationships.
Bolivia is located in the heart of South America. It is a land locked country with the Andes Mountains to the west and the Amazon Jungle to the east. The capital is Sucre, and the administrative capital is La Paz. The population of Bolivia is around nine million people. This population consists of Indigenous descendents, European descendents, and a mix between the two ethnicities called Mestizo. Bolivia has the largest indigenous population in all of South America, which is a huge reflection of its culture, customs, and politics. There are over twenty-three different spoken indigenous languages throughout the country. The main three are Aymara, Quechua, and Guaraní. However, the official languages of Bolivia are Spanish and Quechua.
Our program takes place in the city of Cochabamba or “Llajta” (its name in Quechua). Surrounded by the spectacular Andes Mountains, this city is Bolivia’s third largest next to Santa Cruz to the east and La Paz to the west. During the Inca Empire, Cochabamba was used strictly as farmland to feed the entire Inca Empire. Remains from this empire provide an excellent opportunity for students to study this ancient civilization. In Cochabamba as well as in the other nine departments of Bolivia, the indigenous groups still practice their traditional customs such as the winter solstice, “Andean cosmovision” (Andean view of the earth), “koa” (ritual to Pachamama, Mother Earth), language, food, “Urkupiña” (a celebration to the virgin), and a “Cholita,” (a traditionally dressed woman).
However, due to the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1530s, these indigenous cultures have been mixed with Spanish cultures. For example, a “Cholita” is an indigenous woman whose style of dress was originally based upon their interpretation of the Spaniard’s colorful attire. The predominant religion in Bolivia is Roman Catholic. This religion was brought by the Spaniards and was forced upon the indigenous culture. In order for the indigenous culture to accept the faith, the Incas mixed their own religion with the Catholic faith such as in their view of the Virgin Mary and Pachamama (Mother Earth). In fact, the Roman Catholic Church in Italy does not accept all influences even though many of the Bolivian people still hold on to them.
Bolivia is a very diverse country reflected in its languages, indigenous practices, politics, ethnicities, and customs. This makes Bolivia an exotic and interesting country. The Bolivian people are very proud of their country’s journey throughout history and keep alive their traditions which all too many countries have already lost to the Western World. Bolivia is an adventure within itself making it an amazing place to learn and grow.
MEET THE FOUNDERS
Director & Co-Founder
Alexis Wieczorek is originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She first came to Bolivia in 2008 as a Vira I. Heinz Scholar in Women’s Global Leadership. After finishing her university degree in Communication & Political Science, she returned to Bolivia and worked as a teacher at a United States Embassy approved school before developing Connect2Bolivia. Since 2013, she has developed numerous programs for individuals, educators, public health advocates, and Universities. Her hope is to encourage more people to travel, experience, and fall in love with the multicultural country of Bolivia.
David Pereira Ruiz
Assistant Director & Co-Founder
David Pereira Ruiz is from Cochabamba, Bolivia. In 2005, he became a licensed architect, receiving his title from the renowned University of San Simon. Currently, he is a developer and owns an architectural firm called Hipercon SRL. He has designed and engineered several Service-Learning projects for Connect2Bolivia as well as continues to communicate and engage with local Bolivian communities for upcoming projects. His goal is to help his community by creating programs to better develop his beloved country.
Professor David Mauricio Pereira Herrera
Residential Cultural Expert
David (Senior) Pereira Herrera is a University of San Simon professor, researcher and consultant in archaeology and anthropology, museums/museography, ethnohistory, tourism, and heritage management of indigenous sites and monuments. He received a Fulbright scholarship for Andean studies at Cornell University in 1977 and has been a guest professor and lecturer at universities and museums throughout Latin America, the United States, and Western Europe. With over 35 different international and national publications, David Senior acts as Connect2Bolivia’s specialized cultural resident for lecturers and tours as well as teaches the University of Pittsburgh’s Indigenous Cultural Courses in Bolivia.
Photographer: Sergio Ribero
Sergio Ribero is a Bolivian freelance documentary photographer living in Bolivia, India, and Southeast Asia. He studied artistic photography at Escuela de artes TAI de Madrid Spain. Several photos throughout our page were provided by Ribero.