A landlocked nation in South America, Bolivia shares a border with Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile. Its varied terrain includes the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest and the Atacama Desert. While the constitutional capital resides in Sucre, the administrative seat of this republic is in La Paz. The primary language is Spanish but the constitution also recognizes 36 indigenous languages as official. Historically, mining has been one of the primary industries in Bolivia, but the recent discovery of natural gas reserves has generated rapid growth of the GDP and made gas the nation’s number one export.
Post-secondary education in Bolivia includes vocational or technical schools as well as universities. While there are 10 state funded universities in Bolivia, the majority of students who can afford it opt to attend one of their 23 private universities. These institutions are competitive and spots fill quickly. Some students are accepted but their admission is delayed a year or even two until a space becomes available. Students who wish to study business in Bolivia are advised to begin the application process early.
Bolivia’s academic year runs from February through November, with a two to three week break in July, which is the coldest month. The summer vacation runs from December to January, as these are the hottest months of the year.
While the tuition of a private university is much more expensive than that of a public university, both are considerably more affordable than the tuition at similar institutions in other nations. Many of the Bolivian middle-class attend private universities, while the wealthy tend to send their children abroad. The wealthy and middle-class of neighboring nations also send their children to Bolivian universities because they offer a quality education at an economical price.
Most Bolivian universities offer a four-year undergraduate degree. Some offer post-graduate programs as well. Many universities offer study programs called “maestrias”, but these are short courses that garner no diploma and should not be confused with a master’s degree, which is referred to as a “pos-grado.”
There are many reasons to study business in Bolivia. Many private universities there were established by and continue to be funded by the Bolivian business community. They have strong ties to important business institutions and frequently host lectures, panels and workshops, which provide important networking opportunities with local and international business leaders. Many graduates go on to work in high-level management positions or start their own businesses, due to the strong focus on entrepreneurship. Private institutions have worked hard to establish partnerships with US and European universities, and to create exchange programs with internationally accredited programs.