Unlike most travelers who think of volunteering abroad, I had not looked into any programs before arriving in Bolivia. I am so lucky to have found out about Sustainable Bolivia by chance. Erik Taylor replied right away to my slightly desperate emails and was extremely accommodating to my restrictive travel schedule. I arrived in Cochabamba and two days later was already living in the Sustainable Bolivia house, taking private Spanish lessons with a qualified teacher, and volunteering at a local orphanage.
My time in the Sustainable Bolivia house has been a highlight of my trip so far. The location within Cochabamba is central to local markets, banks, shopping, and transportation, while still being safe and quiet. After three months of backpacking around Peru and Ecuador, arriving at the house and to a hot shower and a comfortable bed was more than I could ask for. The other people living in the house were either doing specialized work terms abroad, or other volunteer-travelers like myself. I really enjoyed the family atmosphere in the house and my time with such entertaining people from around the world.
My volunteering in Cochabamba was through a family operated orphanage in a neighboring area. The children were incredibly open, friendly, and loving. It was a great opportunity to work on my limited Spanish in a low-stress environment. The private Spanish lessons arranged through Sustainable Bolivia were very helpful. My teacher, Patricia, was university educated in linguistics and in my opinion is the most patient woman in the world! After two weeks of lessons with her I feel much more prepared for the rest of my travels in South America.
Erik Taylor and the other employees of Sustainable Bolivia made my time spent in Cochabamba a fun, relaxing, and memorable experience. If I had the opportunity, I would have planned to stay longer and make even more memories.