Liz Engels is an Organizer for the SEIU living between Los Angeles, CA and Minneapolis, MN. We discussed her time living in Bolivia, where she studied, volunteered, and traveled.
Where did you travel?
I lived in Bolivia for seven months in 2012. I lived in the northern (rich) part of the Cochabamba for 3 months and the southern (poor) part of the city for 4 months. I also traveled to La Paz, Santa Cruz, Chiquetenia, Rurabake, and many other small towns. For the most part, I lived in Bolivia so I could learn Spanish. I took Spanish classes at a Catholic mission for my first three months, while volunteering with an organization called Maryknoll, then volunteered with a variety of organizations for the second 4 months.
Was it important to learn Spanish?
It was very necessary. English speaking is not at all common there. However, its a really great place to learn Spanish because the dialect, I’m told, is easy to understand and they speak slowly. I think that’s in part because Spanish is many people’s second or third language there since there are huge populations of Aymara and Quechua people.