Architecture Schools and Programs in Bolivia

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CochabambaSanta Cruz de la Sierra

Architecture Studies in Bolivia

San Francisco, La Paz, BoliviaDoes the opportunity to study architecture, and perhaps earn a portion of your academic credentials while studying abroad, sound like something that might interest you?  If so, one of the country’s you should definitely consider for your study abroad adventure is Bolivia, a country whose beauty is matched only by the warmth of its people.
Known formally as the Plurinational State of Bolivia, it is a completely landlocked country located in the central region of South America.  It is bordered by the massive country of Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest and Peru to the west.  The country is a democratic republic, divided into nine distinctive departments.  Its stunning natural sites range from the snow-capped peaks of the Andes in the west, to the Eastern Lowlands of the Amazon basin.  The country has a wealth of natural resources, and the government has gained significant global attention for its Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, a statute that accords nature the same rights as humans. Although still considered a developing country, Bolivia has a Medium Human Development Index, and its main economic activities include forestry, agriculture, fishing, manufacturing and mining.  Bolivia has a sprawling population, estimated at 10 million, and is made up of a mixture of ethnicities and cultures-- Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans—all of whom have contributed greatly in a variety of fields, including art, cuisine, literature, music and, of course, architecture.  The capital city of Bolivia is Sucre, while Santa Cruz de la Sierra is its largest city.

Architecture Education in Bolivia

In Bolivia there are several colleges and universities that offer architecture as an undergraduate field of study, including one of its largest institutions, Bolivian Catholic University, with three campuses including the one in La Paz.  The faculty at Bolivian Catholic University strives to meet several objectives with every student that comes through the program, not the least of which is to prepare students to be professionals in the field following graduation, armed with the appropriate disciplinary knowledge, credentials and ethics to succeed and flourish.  After completing the architecture program, students will:
  • Understand the basics of architecture in their chosen area of specialization; basics that include theoretical knowledge, design, architectural technology and professional relationships.
  • Have the ability to understand and interpret the current and future needs of a given society, to act on that understanding with creativity, method and ethical responsibility, and to recognize it as the source and motivation of their professional work.
  • Be able to recognize and interpret the social traditions of a society and the urban and spatial construction that supports them.
  • Have a good command of management and research methods and, using disciplinary techniques, have the capacity to use the appropriate tools to obtain and apply new knowledge to improve the quality of life of the people involved in their work.
  • Be committed to the environment and society as a prerequisite for sustainable development, be life-long learners in the discipline of architecture as well as other related fields, and be able to interact in community and multidisciplinary settings.
The undergraduate degree program offered by Bolivian Catholic University (and other Bolivian institutions) typically spans four to five years in duration for full-time students, combining both theoretical education and guided practice, led by an expert faculty that collectively has decades of real-world architectural experience.

Why Study Abroad In Bolivia

So why should you choose Bolivia as your study abroad locale?  Apart from the country’s scenic beauty and the outstanding education you’ll receive while studying here, the chief reason for choosing Bolivia as your study-abroad destination is its rich and friendly culture—a culture that truly makes this country a special place to visit.  
The Bolivian culture has always been heavily influenced by the native roots of the Quechua and Aymara people, as well as by other popular cultures of Latin America as a whole.  Spanish is the most widely spoken language among the Bolivian people, but languages such as Quechua. Aymara and Guarani are also widely spoken informally in various pockets of the country.  Students who wish to pick up on or even master their Spanish language skills—skills that look great on a resume in this ever-growing global world—will have ample time to learn and practice the language as they immerse themselves in their new surroundings.
Fans of South American history can spend hours combing through the archaeological ruins of the country, exploring relics that range from gold and silver ornaments, to stone monuments, to ceramics and weavings that remain in the country from several significant pre-Columbian cultures.
Bolivia is also very interesting from an architectural standpoint.  The Spanish, during the colonial age, brought with them their own tradition of religious-based design which, thanks to the hands of the local natives and mestizo builders and artisans, has developed into a rich style of architecture, combining local elements with those seen on the European continent.
Bolivia has made a great collective contribution to the arts, producing renowned painters and sculptors such as Perez de Holguin, Flores, Bitti, and Marie Louisa Pacheco.  Music is also very important to the Bolivian people.  In fact, an important form of Native Baroque religious music of the colonial period was recovered in recent years and has been performed internationally to wide acclaim since 1994.  Its regional folklore is rich and the folk music distinctive and varied.  Each year, during the Carnival of Oruro, the best-known festival in Bolivia that was among the first 19 masterpieces of UNESCO’s Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, a “devil dances,” to the delight of the crowd, representing one of the great folkloric events in all of South America.
Finally there is the entertainment in Bolivia—the diversions that its people hold so dear to their hearts.  This includes football (soccer), the most popular sport in Bolivia, as well as table football, which is played regularly on street corners by both children and adults.  Outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping and fishing are also very popular, and, in the larger university cities, there are an abundance of restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs, where students, stressed from the pressure of their classes and/or final exams, can kick back with friends and relax or party until dawn to the beat of the music and the charge in the air.

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