The UAC-CP is located in the small community of Carmen Pampa (about 40 families) in the Nor Yungas mountains. The nearest large town (for groceries, restaurants, hotels, mail, transport to La Paz, etc.) is Coroico, located about 8 miles away. Public transportation between Carmen Pampa and Coroico can be somewhat infrequent and requires travel in cramped minibuses. Bolivia’s capital city of La Paz is located approximately 3 hours from Coroico via public transportation.
In exchange for a full semester of work, all English teachers and professional visitors receive free housing accommodations. However, they are asked to make a monthly contribution of $75 for food expenses. All short term guests (people staying at the UAC-CP for less than a semester) or people who are living at the UAC-CP and working on professional research are asked to make a contribution of $7 per day.
No. The College is grateful to have the professional assistance of dedicated volunteers and does not charge fees for overhead costs of volunteer administration or management.
The most significant costs associated with living and working in Bolivia include: airfare (approximately $1,200 round-trip to the United States) and general expenses for leisure and travel (this cost varies according to each person, but could be budgeted for $100 US per month). In addition, all long-term professional visitors (those living and working at the College for at least six months), are asked to pay approximately $75 per month to cover communal food costs in the Guest House. While it is not required, we also suggest that volunteers consider purchasing international health and evacuation insurance (approximately $500 for six months).
It is a genuine sacrifice for people to interrupt their jobs and join us in Bolivia — sometimes at considerable financial expense to themselves. Most professional visitors desire to experience a fascinating culture and at the same time contribute in some way to help the poor. For both reasons it is advantageous to live here for at least one year in order to acclimate to the language and culture and to discover the ways you can make the best contribution to fulfill the mission of the College. That said, we understand that a year commitment is not always possible. Ultimately, time commitments depend on the job position.
People who are teaching at the College should arrive at least 10 days before classes begin and are expected to stay for the duration of at least one full semester. It is important to note that the College’s academic year schedule is different than the typical northern hemisphere school calendar. The first semester of the UAC-CP’s academic year begins on the first Tuesday in February and runs through the end of June. The second semester begins the last Tuesday of July and ends in mid-December.
Primary employment opportunities are posted and updated regularly on Carmen Pampa Fund’s website. Please download them to learn about each unique position. Think about your skills and interests and formulate an idea of what you’d like to do here. Be aware that sharing your ideas will only be one part of your contribution. Another part will be learning, working, and sweating alongside Bolivians to discover solutions together.
Most visiting professionals live in the Guest House. Living together in the house, people agree to share household tasks, taking equal turns cooking, shopping, and cleaning. Members are committed to supporting each other in their work and social lives. The lifestyle in Carmen Pampa is simple, but healthy. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful in Bolivia and some meats are available. At least one common meal is shared together each day as a community.
The house is a somewhat rustic but historic adobe hacienda which is fitted with indoor plumbing and screens. Typically, each person has his/her own room with simple accommodations.
Though the Guest House has many more accommodations than the average Bolivian home in the area, it is important to note that common amenities found in he U.S. are not available in Carmen Pampa. For example: water must be boiled before drinking, water flow occasionally stops completely or becomes cloudy with clay and must be filtered, power shortages and surges on occasion, and laundry is washed by hand and dried in the sun. The house does have direct cable Internet, but it is often interrupted and not 100% reliable.
The guesthouse welcomes married couples who are willing to put up with the lack of privacy. For couples and families it is possible to rent a tiny, very primitive house near campus or something more substantial in Coroico. For a variety of reasons, the guesthouse is not an optimal situation for a couple exploring a temporary relationship.
People who are seeking a more intense immersion into the Bolivian/Aymara culture and the Spanish language can opt to live with UAC-CP students in the dormitories and eat in one of the three food cooperatives. This is probably the best way for a person to experience the culture in a short time and gain the esteem and friendship of Bolivian peers. Living in the UAC-CP dormitories, with their barracks-style sleeping arrangements, common bathroom/cold showers, and limited Bolivian cuisine, is not without its challenges. However, the welcome sign is always hanging at the Guest House should you need a respite or feel sick.
The Bolivian government requires that all U.S. citizens have a visa for entry to the country. Short-term visitors from the U.S. (people staying less than 90 days per calendar year) must obtain a tourist visa ($160) prior to arriving at the airport in La Paz. People from all other countries who stay for longer periods of time (more than 90 days per calendar year) should get a courtesy visa (“visa de cortesía”) at one of the Bolivian consulates or Bolivian Embassy prior to arriving in Bolivia. The courtesy visa ($85) only lasts for 30 days after entering the country. Visiting Professionals will be accompanied through a brief immigration process at the Catholic Bishop’s Conference upon arrival to La Paz. Please note that, with the exception of emergency situations, it can be difficult to travel outside the country when you are in the process of obtaining your temporary resident card. It generally takes 30-60 days to receive the residency card.More information about the visa process can be found in the Pre-visit Handbook for Visiting Professionals. Please note that all costs associated with visa application and Bolivian residency are the responsibility of each person. The cost to obtain temporary residency, which is valid for one year, is approximately $10.
No. The UAC-CP accepts professional visitors from all over the world. In the past, the College has welcomed people from many different countries, including: Spain, Australia, Korea, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Ireland.
Please note, however, that visa information on this page is specific for people coming to Carmen Pampa with a U.S. passport. Professional visitors from other countries should request visa information specific to their country of citizenship.
For more information about the College’s Professional Visitor Program, please contact Sarah Mechtenberg at Carmen Pampa Fund.