Mary Drake: “There are 1,068 Bolivians studying in the US”

Beatriz Avalos reports for El Deber:

Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Bolivia

Mary Drake: “There are 1,068 Bolivians studying in the US”

The United States has one of the most advanced educational systems in the world. In the past year, the US Embassy in Bolivia issued 800 visas for students.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 1.40.30 PMOn October 10, from 10:00 to 14:30 at Los Tajibos Hotel, was held the fair called Education USA. They include 17 universities from this northern country.

What is the US University Fair?

The Education USA is sponsored and organized by the US embassy in Bolivia and USA Education Centers in La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Sucre and Tarija. Education USA operates worldwide with support from the Department of State of United States.

In this show you can directly contact representatives of US universities, on the various types of programs and study opportunities at their disposal: short-term intensive English courses, undergraduate, postgraduate, masters and doctorates. It will also be possible to attend free lectures on the process of admission to American universities, the necessary tests for registration, the process of applying for a visa, scholarships, etc. This year, the Fair Education USA will pass through 13 cities in 10 Latin American countries including for the first time Bolivia (Santa Cruz).

Why in Santa Cruz?

Santa Cruz is the fastest growing city in Bolivia and development, and is the city that currently contributes with the largest number of students and professionals studying in US universities. We know that 59% of all exchanges of students and professionals to the United States are from Santa Cruz.

What are the requirements to participate in the fair?

The fair is free and is aimed at anyone interested in studying higher education in America. Upon entering the fair it is necessary to make a record or registration of participation. To register you can go to the website: or register in person the day of the event.

How many Latin Americans professionalized in USA?

There are 72,318 Latin American and Caribbean students currently studying in US universities.

How many Bolivians?

Currently there are 1,068 Bolivian students studying in US universities. And in the last year we have issued 800 visas for students.

What are the advantages offered by colleges of your country to young Latin Americans?

The United States has one of the most advanced educational systems worldwide. It is the country with most colleges and of high level. The cultural and social diversity is very large, which opens more possibilities of contacts in the world. Their research projects enjoy great international recognition and teachers of the university system are recognized leaders in their fields.

The focus of the studies in the United States is global and allows to train students for the current job market, in many thematic and geographical areas. Its system offers flexible studies, each student decides how many courses to study each semester, what additional courses to take, etc.

How to access the scholarships?

The US Embassy promotes better understanding of the system of American life, its institutions, economy, politics and culture to support and facilitate the exchange of research between the United States and Bolivia through scholarships. We offer a variety of scholarships; among the most important we can mention the prestigious Fulbright, Humphrey, Winter Institute, Science Camp for Young Scientists, etc. To keep track of our scholarship programs, we suggest visiting the Facebook page of the Embassy (US Embassy in Bolivia) or the website

Is it difficult to access university studies in the US?

There is no official ranking system for universities in the United States. The best college for a person is one who best fits your academic, financial and personal requirements. Did you know that intensive English programs can serve as short-term ‘bridge options’ to other undergraduate programs to students to improve their English language? Most of the students who apply for a visa to study in the USA do get it. The average cost of tuition at a community college is $3,347 dollars a year and most students manage to be transferred to four undergraduate years.

I was among the fortunate Bolivians who could get its undergrad and graduate education in the USA.

More fortunate thanks to my parents paying for my undergrad and later on, with my savings I paid for my masters. I was also fortunate to have studied in the mid west, understanding the real America, knowing the family, God, country beliefs that drives that nation. My masters took place at the top university of the world and thanks to my academic studies, I was able to work in Bolivia, managing sustainable development projects, without having to be part of any of the political parties in power at a given time.

I was able to work using my skills, helping overcome poverty and without the cheap politics that most Bolivian professionals have to endure, let alone the need to know somebody to get a job or be promoted.

In sum, I was able to help my country and also provide for my family. During my university years, most Bolivians studying in the USA, were from La Paz, it makes me feel happy to learn that now most of the students come from Santa Cruz. That is great and also demonstrates that the present and future of Bolivia starts in Santa Cruz.

What I enjoyed the most was that through the learning process over there, I learn to be more proactive, have self-esteem and not cheat during exams. It is incredible how people consciously do not cheap, as opposed to what I saw at Bolivian universities, both as student and professor.

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