BOLIVIA PRACTICUM: THEORY AND PRACTICE
BEFORE APPLYING TO THIS PROGRAM,
please submit a Practicum Application
to the Human Service Studies Practicum Coordinator, Phil Miller
HSS 382 IS PRACTICUM IN HUMAN SERVICE STUDIES 4 S.H.
This course introduces students to the biopsychosocial model of understanding human systems in a cross-cultural environment. Three weeks of direct practice and observation in a human services organization allows students to apply and conceptualize various aspects of human services delivery, particularly cross-cultural practice, using this approach. Student learning will be guided and enhanced through course readings, weekly seminars, written assignments, and faculty site visits. Students also will explore the development of the social service system and current social problems through guest lectures and class field trips. As a result of this course, students will be more effective cross cultural helpers.
This course counts as a program requirement for Human Service Studies and Public Health Studies. Therefore, priority is given to declared majors and minors in both programs. Other majors are welcome as long as they complete pre-requisites before travel.
HSS 111, 2.1 cumulative GPA 2.1, and submission and approval of the application for practicum.
Prerequisite Preparatory Seminar: GBL 138
This Winter Term course has a required one semester-hour fall prerequisite preparatory seminar course associated with it. Students accepted into the Winter Term course will be automatically registered for the associated fall course. There is no additional cost for the prerequisite preparatory seminar course for students who are registered full-time even if the one credit creates an overload for a student's registration.
It is Elon University policy that students who are registered part-time for the fall semester will be charged the additional one credit hour of tuition for the fall prerequisite preparatory seminar course. Students will also be charged four credit hours of tuition for Winter Term in addition to the program fees. If students contact the Bursar's office to verify that they will be enrolled full-time in the spring semester, the four hours of Winter Term tuition will not be collected.
Spring Meeting Information
There will be a required meeting about the course; date, time, and location TBD.
Fall Course Meeting Information
The fall pre-departure course will be held on Fridays from 3:05-4:45 p.m., location TBD.
Additional Course Information
Human services concerns in Bolivia: Prior to departure, students will research social problems confronted by the population they intend to serve in community agencies in Antigua Guatemala, such as indigenous populations, and women, children and adolescents.
Service delivery in intercultural environments: Students will deliver services to specific populations at agency settings in a manner that is culturally appropriate while developing intercultural competence skills, which may be transferable in service delivery in the U.S. and other countries.
Ethical decision-making in international settings: Using theory learned and by participating in discussions with faculty, students learn to make ethical decisions with the special populations they are serving, and in the particular Bolivia setting they are assigned.
Civic engagement and community organizing: The practicum provides the opportunity to visit diverse regions in Bolivia to learn how different communities and populations organize to address their social problems, and how they promote human rights, equality, and fairness for all people, particularly those in greater disadvantage or marginalized.
Students must complete 116 hours (field and class time combined) to receive credit for the course. A minimum of 100 hours must be completed in direct contact with the population that students will be serving in Bolivia. About 60 hours of the practicum will be completed through 8 full days (7-8 hours) in one of the three placements listed below. The remaining 40 hours, will be completed through Spanish immersion classes with Volunteer Bolivia
in Cochabamba, field trips to communities served by the Etta Projects
, and educational meetings with community leaders in Cochabamba and Buena Vista. Over the course of the 3 weeks, students will attend orientation and seminar classes that will count towards the required 16 hours of academic instruction during the practicum.
Students will divide into 3 groups based on area of interest. Options for placements include:
- Local health clinic in Espejitos: serves 7 rural communities of Quechua (indigenous) farmers. Staff includes 1 nurse and 1 physician. The clinic needs repairs (painting, sanding, cleaning, etc). The staff need support with health campaigns, including community education and home visits. Example: mosquito eradication campaign to destroy mosquito larva (in standing water, old tires, puddles, containers). This is a standard campaign that the clinic organizes each year but due to understaffing, they need support. Etta Projects is training 20 village health promoters as the first point of contact for health care in their communities. Students can work alongside the Village Health Promoters and the medical staff on disease prevention and health promotion.
- Local hospital in Buena Vista: primary (basic) level center that serves 42 communities of the Buena Vista municipality. The community health doctor needs support in creating materials for community health education, and organizing the campaigns. Nurses and physicians on staff attend to basic health needs of the population but lack the resources to educate the population on disease prevention and health promotion. Students can work alongside the staff on community health promotion.
- Adolescent girls’ group: the nearby village of Santa Barbara (population: 32 families) has a group of 15 girls (ages 8-16) who participated in a ten week “girls empowerment” training program (June-August 2019). The students can work with the girls (who are on summer vacation during the entire month of January) to engage in further empowerment activities. For example: organize activities at the Community Transformation Center (CTC) (healthy cooking, music, art projects, etc), educational games, hikes (on the CTC nature trails), storytelling, and more. The students will serve as role models to the village girls (who live in poverty, where teen pregnancy is the norm).
Activity Level: Demanding
Activity levels are rated to fit into one of four categories: easy going, moderate, challenging and demanding. This program is rated as Demanding, which means you should be prepared to push yourself and to keep a steady pace on rugged and steep terrain. You'll find that you are living outside your comfort zone with your program's intense outdoor activity.
It is demanding program because of the professional expectations. Some days it involves traveling to different communities for meetings and field trips. For the most part it is working with specific populations, such as indigenous peoples, children and adolescents.
Students are required to take the fall pre-departure course associated with this Winter Term course. All students will automatically be registered for the pre-departure course but must register themselves for the Winter Term course during registration for Winter Term.
To cancel your participation in a program, complete the Winter Term Withdrawal questionnaire in your application.
The tentative dates for the program are January 3 - January 24, 2020.
While official flight itineraries are typically distributed in early September, the tentative group departure/return point is Miami, Florida (MIA).
Note: This information is subject to change based on airline changes and cancellations.
Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to availability of local facilities and scheduling issues.
- Homestay with host families
- Orientation session
- City tour
- Field trip
- Educational meetings with local leaders
- Spanish lessons
- Community Transformation Center (CTC) in Buena Vista
- Orientation session
- City tour
- Field trip
- Visit Isama community leaders, medicinal plant garden
- Visit Espejitos community health clinic, meet community health promoters
- Volunteer site placements
- Visit Etta Projects’ office
- City tour
- Hike in Amboro National Forest to waterfalls
Students will be housed with local Bolivian families as well as shared accommodations for excursions and at the Community Transformation Center. Some meals are included.
Costs for global study vary program to program and are in addition to the tuition for Winter Term (included in fall semester tuition/bill).
Basic cost information is available on the Cost and Credit Chart.
Detailed cost information is available on the budget sheet.
Students seeking need-based financial support are encouraged to apply for the GEC Access Scholarship.
For additional information on scholarships or other funding for global engagement, see the Financial Planning for Global Study page or the financial planning section of our FAQs.
If you qualify for a travel grant through any of the fellows or scholars programs, see the appropriate program director for more information on how to apply the grant to your program.
Ready to apply?
BEFORE APPLYING TO THIS PROGRAM, please submit a Practicum Application to the Human Service Studies Practicum Coordinator, Phil Miller.
Then, click "apply now" from this brochure to get started, and complete your application by the deadline listed below.
If applications are not yet available, see the deadlines webpage
for information on when this program will be accepting applications.
See the application instructions webpage
for more information on the application requirements and process.