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National Museum for Ethnography and Folklore, La Paz

Internship and Volunteering Possible
At the National Museum for Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz, internships and volunteering options are possible in research, librarianship, media production/video production, and directing courses of dance, theatre and arts.

Project Details

The National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore of La Paz is active in the subject areas of museology, distribution of culture, and research. The museum is visited by around 100,000 people per year, most of whom are school classes; there are around 10,000 foreign tourists at the museum every year.
The department of museology ("Museología“) primarily conserves and expands the collection of cultural artifacts which have been produced by the various ethnic groups of Bolivia; further, the collection includes archaeological artifacts and objects from colonial time.
The department of distribution of culture ("Extensión y Difusión Cultural“) runs the library which specialises in anthropology, cultural sciences, popular culture, ethnohistory, ethnology, ethnomusicology, history, linguistics, sociology, agriculture and archaeology, with a focus on indigenous people. It features around 15,000 printed works, including rare historic book. The Centre of Ethnological Documentation (CDE) hosts around 4500 documents of scientific relevance. The collection of journals encompasses around 14,000 scientific journals from Bolivia and other countries. The collection of maps includes historic maps from the 14th century until today; the audiovisual archive includes around 72 million pictures, 2000 illustrations, 2360 films, 1350 videos in various formats, and 10,000 audio recordings. At the video library, around 3000 titles can be viewed. Most titles of the library, the video library and of the archive are accessible through an online catalogue. There are 4 full time librarians at the library.
Volunteers and interns of librarianship can participate in the following subject areas: Indexing of the library’s assets such as books, journals, audio recordings, moving images, and digitalization of the archive’s historic documents. For the indexing of books, the library works with the systems MARK 21, ISIMARK and SCDD23. Magazine articles are indexed in an alphanumerical way. Further, you can translate historical documents from German to Spanish.
The museum does audiovisual media production, particularly video documentaries about ethnological and folkloric topics related to Bolivia. The museum has already produced some 1500 documentaries which are not only being provided at the video library, but which are also available for sale. The revenues from the sales however cannot cover the production costs, so the video production is being subsidized.
Interns and volunteers of video production can assist with the design of storyboards, video editing and postproduction, 2D animation, 3D animation, and indexing and digitalization of materials from the archive. For video editing, Final Cut Pro 7 is used, for 3D animation, Maya and 3DMax, for 2D animation, Anime.
The office of editorial and graphic design produces texts for publications and exhibitions, and is doing graphic design. The museum’s PR is also part of the responsibilities of this department.
Interns and volunteers of this subject area work on printed items for the museum such as brochures, leaflets, catalogues but also signage, information boards etc.
Part of media production is also exhibition technologies, primarily dealing with the lighting of the museum’s exhibitions.
The research department does research related to Bolivian culture. This department further participates in educational tasks such as offering various courses.
Students of history, ethnology, archaeology, anthropology, architecture and sociology can participate in their specialty subject area at a large research project which has the aim to investigate and describe the characteristics of all churches and local festivities in all villages of Bolivia.
The museum also offers courses of activities such as modern, classic and folkloristic dance, arts, pottery and drawing. These courses take place from Monday to Friday and target various groups such as youth, disabled children and senior citizens (twice a week for each target group) from February to November. Volunteers who can teach these courses can also stay for a shorter duration and the start is possible at any time.
Info Box
Location: La Paz, Bolivia
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 1 Month
Maximum Duration: 6 Months
Language Requirements: Average knowledge of Spanish
Shared Accommodation, Room with Host Family
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Qualified professionals from all areas mentioned
Minimum Qualification Of Intern:
Relevant studies or experience
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Specialists in mentioned areas
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?



Accommodation in La Paz



Shared Accommodation in La Paz

The apartment is located in Sopocachi, in the city center of La Paz. The district Sopocachi is located between the historic neighborhood of La Paz and the southern part of the city (La Zona Sur). The area is a popular living, working and entertainment district. The accommodation for volunteers and interns can be reached via a steep staircase, at the end of two houses opposite each other, separated by a green courtyard. In both houses, there are a total of eight rooms for trainees, volunteers and travelers from all over the world. The view is stunning; both of La Paz and the enchanting snow-capped Illimani, which is considered to be the highest elevation of the Cordillera Real, and a symbol of La Paz. The view can be enjoyed from the front porch of the rear house; where there is seating for socializing. The room available is a single room. Depending on the size and amenities of the room, the monthly rental costs differ. In general, there is a bed, a storage space for clothes, a small table and a chair. In both houses, there is one kitchen and bathroom to be shared. There is also Internet.

Host Families in La Paz

Accommodation in La Paz is with host families, where you have a separate room of average standards. You have either a private bathroom or one shared with the family. In general, both parents work and therefore, offer breakfast only. You can use the kitchen or purchase cheap food in the city.



I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  up to 31 Days
32-60 Days
61-90 Days
91-120 Days
5 Months or longer
wu servicepackage
1 Person
300 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
250 EUR 400 EUR 500 EUR 600 EUR 650 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Assistance with visa extension in Bolivia or arrangement of visa (depending on duration of stay) and other official permits (if required), but not the official government fees for it/them
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to La Paz/El Alto (LPB) on arrival and departure
  • Assistance with the booking of domestic connection flights within Bolivia if you arrive in Cochabamba or ViruViru
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in La Paz
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • 50 USD Contribution to your project
  • Local SIM Card with 60 Bs. air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Bolivia (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

You can choose between the following options:
Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
Some Rates in EUR/US-Dollar.
Convert Currency
 Short-time stay
(1-31 Days)
Long-time stay
(32-365 Days)
(You pay proportionally per day)
Shared House or Hostel   
House shared with other participants
1 Person
(Single Room)
8 EUR/Day
150-190 EUR/Month*
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
5 EUR/Day
80-120 EUR/Month*
Host Family
Host Family of Middle Standard
on Full Board
1 Person
(Single Room)
15 USD/Day 300 USD/Month
2 Persons p.p.
(Double/Twin Room)
15 USD/Day 250 USD/Month
*Rate depending on Room Size. Incomplete months are charged proportionally per day. 
In case of 3-4 person: Same rate as in case of 2 Persons. 5 or more persons: Contact us for group rates.

Overview of other costs:

  • For most citizens except US Citizens, no Visa fee for a stay of a maximum of 90 days per calendar year. Any time you stay in excess of 90 days within a calendar year, 20 Bs. fee per day. US Citizens pay currentyl 135 USD Visa fee.
  • If meals are not included: around 70-150 EUR /100-180 USD)/month
  • Small local expenses (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month


How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit 200 EUR when the invoice is issued. 3 months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package and for the first month of rent.
Rent from the 2nd month, possible further contributions to the NGO or for internship supervision (see info box of the respective project description), and costs for visa and possibly further official permits you pay directly at your destination. There are ATMs. 



Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more! Check out our other listings in the areas of "World Learner" and "Active Travel" at your travel destination to make your stay even more interesting.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

La Paz

La Paz is located at an altitude of around 3600 meters (11,600 feet) within the canyon of the Río Chokeyapue, deeply cutting into the surrounding Altiplano highland. On the highland west of La Paz, the city of El Alto has been built, which during the last years, with more than 1 million people, has grown larger than La Paz; in El Alto you find the international airport of La Paz-El Alto. The difference of altitude between the southern parts of La Paz, which are located further down the canyon, and the upper parts of the valley, is almost 1000 meters (3300 feet), resulting in spectacular views when driving down from El Alto into La Paz.

Coordinator in La Paz

Our coordinator in La Paz is Sandra, a housewife and mother.

Recreational Activities in La Paz

La Paz is a metropolis and offers similar recreational opportunities such as some European cities.
Popular, but also dangerous are Mountain Bike Trips on the "road of death" in the Yungas, a narrow and unpaved mountain range with hundreds of deep chasms. An abstruse spectacle is the wrestling matches of Cholitas, the women who wrestle in traditional indigenous garments, in El Alto. In cooperation with the Center "Vive Bolivia", we offer a variety of courses and cultural activities.

Getting There


Getting To La Paz

bolivia map
You fly to La Paz El Alto (LPB), where you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation. Often, there are cheaper international flights to Santa Cruz de la Sierra (ViruViru Airport, VVI). In that case, you can fly there and then take a connecting flight to La Paz, booking separately with Aerosur or BoA. The tickets between these cities are quite low (30-50 EUR / 38-63 USD), but you cannot pay by credit card from overseas. We can buy you a ticket in Bolivia.  



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the Cochabamba airport even at night. You cannot start a project during certain holidays, of which, we will inform you in advance.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course, you can do this - most of our participants do so. However, when the travel destination is too far away, it may not be possible over a weekend; these, we would recommend you keep for before the projects begins or after the completion. You could even plan these out during holidays (e.g. Semana Santa). We will notify you of the destinations and the recommended time to visit.
Is it safe to travel in Bolivia alone as a single female traveller?
About 80 percent of our participants are women and many of them 18 to 24 years old. Not a single instance of any serious security issue has been reported. Our supervisors on site will advise you on how you should conduct yourself in order to avoid problems - issues such as clothing style, carrying valuables, and in dealing with machismo and patriarchal societies. Our preparation material brings attention to these issues. It is very important to follow these basic rules, that are just as applicable to many other places, in order to reduce risk as much as possible.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Bolivia?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Cochabamba, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so. In addition, there are also many tourists on the road, whom you can easily meet at bars, shops, etc. You can also meet a lot of local and foreign students in the lively city of Cochabamba.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations
Where will I live?
You can go through the housing options in the tab "Accommodation".
Can I choose my accommodation?
You can send us your preference and we will try our best to organise that for you. However, some Organizations provide accommodation, in which case, you can only opt for that.
How free or bound am I in my accommodation with the host family?
While you will have your privacy, in Bolivia, it is customary to let your host family know when you will leave or return to the house so that the doors can be unlocked, due to safety reasons. It is unacceptable to have casual acquaintances visit you. The level of closeness or privacy with the family can differ.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
The shared accommodations in Cochabamba and in Sopocachi, La Paz have internet, as does the hostel in Cochabamba. As for the host families, Internet is not always available, and the same applies to the boarding offered by some Organizations. You can find information about the availability of internet in the tabs "Accommodation". If there is no wifi internet, you can buy yourself a USB modem stick or surf the Internet with your smartphone.
How can I do my laundry?
In general, clothes are hand washed in Bolivia. Many households have someone employed for the purpose, while others have washing machines. There are also laundromats.
Can I cook in the accommodation?
Yes, the families allow the use of the kitchen, but may charge a small monthly fee for additional consumption of electricity and gas. The families also offer meals for you, if you want to eat with them. This, you can decide when you arrive. Details are in the tab "Accommodation".
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Yes, host families are familiar with vegetarian meals and allergies or food intolerances can be considered. It is also possible to buy vegetarian food.
What language skills do I need?
In Bolivia, Spanish, as well as indigenous languages such as Aymara or Quechua are spoken. If you have little or no knowledge of Spanish, we recommend that you begin your stay with a Spanish language course. We can also organize Skype Spanish lessons with a Bolivian language teacher. The majority of the volunteering/ internships expect basic to medium level of Spanish at the start of the activity. That is, you should be able to communicate and express yourself during your stay, at a basic level. Please let us know what you level of knowledge of Spanish is, so that we make sure we organise your stay/project accordingly.
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