A highly diverse country located in the heart of South America, Bolivia has seen steady growth in recent years on its way to becoming an attractive destination for expatriates from everywhere to work abroad. Though it remains one of the less developed nations on the continent, there are a wide variety of jobs abroad in Bolivia that you can seek out which will contribute to local economic and human capital. From the Andes in the west to the Amazon Basin in the east, Bolivia offers a stunning backdrop and enriching cultural opportunities for international workers to thrive in!
Bolivia is a landlocked country sitting just under the equator in South America, home to an immense amount of both topographical and biological diversity. The country is bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru clockwise from the north. Roughly 11 million citizens live in Bolivia, representing a diversity of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and making it officially the 8th most populous country in South America.
Sitting high up in the Andes at approximately 12,000 feet above sea level, La Paz is traditionally the first choice of many for where to look for work abroad in Bolivia. While it is not technically the capital city (a title which belongs to Sucre), La Paz does host the seat of the Bolivian government, and thus is considered to be the highest de facto capital in the world. Formed along with the neighboring cities of El Alto and Viacha, the La Paz metropolitan area is home to nearly 2.5 million inhabitants, making it the largest in Bolivia.
Resting in the lowlands of the east, Santa Cruz de la Sierra is not far behind, with roughly 2 million people living in its metropolitan area as well. Together these two major cities comprise nearly half of the country’s population, and both are great places where to begin looking for work abroad in Bolivia. If alternatively you want to experience life away from the big city, then also consider looking at jobs abroad in Bolivia’s rural areas, which will provide for a much different experience.
Jobs & Positions
Bolivia is a developing country with a poverty rate that remains above 50 percent, so many jobs that go to foreign workers are accordingly in fields that relate to ongoing public service and infrastructural development efforts. For example international workers can look for temporary jobs abroad in Bolivia in fields such as education or wildlife preservation, where there is a continual demand for labor to help local projects keep building momentum.
This being said, you can always look for work in the private sector as well, either by applying directly to in Bolivia, or else looking to transfer within an international company from home to abroad. Bolivia’s largest industrial sectors are traditionally in mining, natural gas, and exports, though its economy is showing increasing signs of diversification. You can also look for work in the services sector, in areas such as marketing, sales, or business administration.
While there are some 37 official languages spoken in the country, a persevering symbol of its vast multiculturalism, most often speaking Spanish will be sufficient in order to work a fulltime job abroad in Bolivia. Some shorter-term positions do not even require that you speak Spanish, as long as you are fluent in English. Nevertheless, being adept in the local language will make for a much more rewarding experience.
Salaries & Costs
Bolivia is classified by the World Bank as a lower middle income economy, with a middling human development rating and high rates of inequality. The local currency is the Boliviano, which exchanges at about 7 BOB to $1 USD, and most costs of living will be comparatively low to the industrialized world.
As an international worker, your salary will obviously depend on the job abroad in Bolivia that you are working. If you are working abroad in Bolivia’s private sector in the big city, for example, you can expect to make considerably more money than working a public service job abroad in Bolivia’s rural areas.
Accommodation & Visas
Because it is a developing country, in general you should not expect to live with an excessive degree of luxury while you work abroad in Bolivia. While the big city will provide you access to most resources, working abroad in Bolivia’s rural areas may limit access to such commodities as internet connection, air conditioning, and the like. If your host employer does not secure accommodation for you, then many international workers choose to live in a hostel for a while upon first arriving, so that they can look for appropriate housing in person.
Temporary work abroad in Bolivia programs can usually secure a visa for you easily, while if you are looking for more permanent job abroad in Bolivia then you will need to find an employer that is willing to endorse you for a full work and residential visa. The details of Bolivia’s visa policy vary depending on your home country, the job you will be working, the length of stay, and other such details. You can consult our Bolivian Embassy Directory for more specific information regarding your individual circumstances.
Benefits & Challenges
Multiculturalism. One of Bolivia’s greatest qualities is the effort it spends on preserving the cultural heritage of its indigenous inhabitants. Nearly 60% of Bolivia’s population hail from various native groups, the largest national proportion in all of Latin America.
Biodiversity. Beyond its immense cultural diversity, Bolivia has an equally multifaceted environmental backdrop to match. For nature lovers and adventure travellers of all creeds, exploring Bolivia’s beautiful terrain while you work abroad will prove a cathartic experience.
Development Effort. While Bolivia has many redeeming qualities in these areas, the country does continue to struggle with high rates of poverty and inequality, which can also be a defining experience while you work abroad. You will likely become inspired as an international worker to help create opportunity in whatever ways you can!
Working abroad in Bolivia can undoubtedly be a daunting prospect, but the personal and professional growth you will undergo in this Spanish-speaking nation is certain to exceed all expectations. Get ready for an incredible adventure in Latin America’s most diverse country!