Dear Bolivia blog readers
The last stop on the program of the development project week was the Instituto Tecnológico Don Bosco in El Alto. The institute provides over 2,000 students aged between 19 and 30 with training in predominantly technical and commercial vocations. The training is free of charge and is mainly aimed at young people with limited financial resources. The training programs usually comprise three years of theory and a six-month internship. The institute recognizes the importance of the students gaining practical experience during their studies. Bolivia does not have a dual education system as in Switzerland.
We were given a guided tour of the institute and an introduction to the various professions. Upon visiting the workshop, two students explained an automation process for control units with the help of a machine. “The process was not very different from one we use in Switzerland,” explained Tim, who is currently studying to become an automation engineer at GF.
The institute’s graphic design studio was also well equipped with the latest technology. Here, the youngsters learned all about creating printed products, such as posters and flyers, and were guided through the entire process, from their design and all the way to production.
Following this brief but very interesting insight into the world of vocational training, it was time to visit the institute’s canteen. As a thank you for our visit, the students who had provided us with detailed information about the various vocations they were studying performed three Bolivian folk dances. We then gave the school administration gifts of frisbees that the would-be plastics engineers among our group, Sreileak, Jasmina and Lukas, had produced.
We left the institute at 5.30 p.m. and returned to La Paz, where we enjoyed our last evening meal together as a group before we had to pack our bags. Just a few hours later, we were making our way home to Switzerland; however, there was one last highlight of the trip waiting in store for us – a one-day tour of Bogotá. As we had a stopover of more than 12 hours in the Colombian capital as part of our flight home, it seemed logical to leave the airport and explore the city. This meant that we were able to visit another richly diverse Latin American city besides La Paz.
Once we were back at the airport after having visited Bogotá, it hit us for the first time that the project week was over. And after a flight lasting almost 16 hours, we arrived safe and sound back in Zurich.
To see more pictures of our visit at Don Bosco and our journey back home, visit the picture gallery.