The Rio Beni Health Foundation
see info below

Course Details

Updated dates, costs, and course descriptions for 2019 will be posted on Nov. 1, 2018


June 19 to July 4, 2018

16 Days

Departure City

Miami, Florida

Tuition: $3965 – $4165 *
Airfare & fees: $1000 *
* important details here

SStS partners with the Rio Beni Health Foundation to install water filters for communities in the Bolivian Amazon.
The SStS Bolivia course begins in the highest capital on earth, La Paz, where students will get a taste of the ancient Aymara culture created amidst 21,000-foot peaks.

The time there is short, as the bulk of the service work will be in the most biologically diverse spot on the planet, the Bolivian Amazon. In this region, the rivers are the highways, and the indigenous communities lay scattered along its banks. The communities of the Rio Beni live a remote existence, with subsistence living conditions and minimal access to clean water. These local people (primarily Chimane, Mosetene, Tacana and Quechua Indians) historically have had little access to primary health care services. Our non-profit partner, the Rio Beni Health Foundation, provides these essential medical services to the people of the Rio Beni. The SStS project primarily focuses on supporting mobile clinics, participating in local trainings, and building filters for a clean water initiative.

After building filters for schools and homes that have no access to clean water, SStS students will travel, typically by river, to live with the communities they have come to support. The filters they will install literally save lives, minimizing the disturbingly high infant mortality rate in these communities. While there, SStS students will hear stories of life in the Amazon around campfires and enjoy soccer with local kids. They will also experience a jungle that provides life to more species than any other place on earth and explore why it is rapidly disappearing. After seeing firsthand the struggles that the Amazonian people face and the enjoyment that they derive from their lives, the course will culminate in a trip to Isla del Sol, an island in Lake Titicaca. While on this island, which is central in the Incan creation myth, students will have the opportunity to reflect upon their course in global citizenship in the midst of a strikingly beautiful Andean setting.

Course Elements

The course elements are based on a rating from 1 to 5, 1 being the least rigorous 5, being the most rigorous.


After spending a few days constructing bio-sand water filters, the group will travel to a remote Rio Beni community to install them in homes and schools.


Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (30 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and create presentations in small groups.


While in Rurrenabaque, students typically take short hikes in the surrounding hills. Then, after arriving on Isla del Sol, the group walks a couple miles to their hostel. They also take lengthy day hikes at high altitudes to explore Incan ruins on the island.

Living Conditions80%

In addition to staying in hostels while the group is in Rurrenabaque, La Paz, and Isla del Sol, the group will camp in the rainforest for a few nights while installing filters in the Rio Beni community.

On the move80%

After arriving in La Paz, the students take a short flight to Rurrenabaque. While in this area, they travel several hours, typically by boat, to the community receiving the filters. At the end of the course, there is also a 4-5 hour bus ride and a boat journey on Lake Titicaca to Isla del Sol.


Although the group will camp in a remote village while installing filters, they do not stay in the homes of individual families.


For a majority of the days, the group will be in rural areas (the small town of Rurrenabaque, a remote community in the rainforest, and a small village on Isla del Sol). A couple days will also be spent in La Paz, a city of over a million.

Element Descriptions


Day 1

Depart from Miami, begin group orientation

Day 2

Arrive in La Paz, fly to Rurrenabaque, continue group orientation

Day 3

Introduction to the Rio Beni Foundation health clinic, begin building filters

Day 4

Continue building filters

Day 5

Explore Rurrenabaque, cultural experience

Day 6

Finish filters, prepare for expedition, travel to the Rio Beni community

Day 7

Set up filters with the community

Day 8

Finish installing the filters, return travels to Rurre

Day 9

Debrief community experience, hike to the lookout

Day 10

Clean up from expedition, farewell dinner with Rio Beni staff

Day 11

Return to La Paz, explore the city

Day 12

Travel to Isla del Sol, begin debrief

Day 13

Explore Isla del Sol, continue debrief

Day 14

Isla del Sol, finish debrief

Day 15

Return to La Paz, closing ceremony

Day 16

Return to Miami


: In Three Phases


the 5 Lenses Curriculum

Prior to departure, students are guided by their course instructors through a series of interactive, online lessons. Organized by SStS’s Five Lenses Curriculum, these activities (30 minutes per week) allow students to directly engage with other members of
the group.


partnering with ngos

The majority of the days at each site are spent engaged in meaningful service work with our NGO (non-governmental organization) partner. Days not dedicated to project work are spent immersed in intriguing cultural activities.


post travel advocacy

During the next school year, students educate others by advocating for our NGO partner through public presentations to the community at large and/or younger, school-based audiences.

Travel Journal

During the travel phase of each SStS course, students spend time reflecting about the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. Explore the posts below to learn about the SStS Bolivia program from the important viewpoint of our students.

Explore Bolivia

Important Details

Cost Information

Tuition (students from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $3965
Tuition (students not from members of the Global Schools Coalition): $4165
Airfare & fees: $1000

SStS is in search of curious, compassionate, globally-minded students. Thus, we will do all that we can financially to support students who require assistance. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, please indicate this on the application. Financial assistance resources are limited. Scholarships tend to be less than 50% of tuition.

Please note, tuition does not include airfare and immunizations.
Tuition costs are all inclusive with the exception of personal expenditures (e.g. souvenirs).
Tickets and medical & security evacuation services are purchased as a group. The cost of these services is included in the tuition.
Talbot Travel Agency provides travel services for SStS, working personally with us to find the least expensive group fares. As a result, it is not possible to use airline miles or credit card benefits for the international flights. However, these can be used to purchase tickets to the gateway city.

Travel Expectations
Please note that we expect all participants to travel together, adhering to the identical itinerary. We will depart the United States as a group from a gateway city. Exemptions may be made for international students. Additionally, travel in the developing world inevitably includes “the unexpected” (e.g. weather disruptions, transportation strikes, etc.). SStS will adjust the itinerary accordingly, making the best of uncontrollable situations. Due to the unknown variables in international travel, participants are asked not to make travel plans or to enroll in programs that start immediately after their return. SStS is not responsible for expenses incurred due to missed flights if the group is delayed in their return.



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