If you were Bolivian and wanted to learn about U.S. exchange programs, where would you go? To the mall!
The U.S. Embassy partnered with the Bolivian-American Center to hold an exciting "U.S.A. Weekend" at a popular shopping mall and cinema in Cochabamba, Bolivia, May 13-15. Nearly 10,000 Bolivians attended the three-day event, experiencing American culture and learning about the educational and cultural exchange programs we offer.
To bring the United States to Cochabamba, we organized nightly concerts featuring performances by Bolivian artists of American hip-hop, jazz, and pop music and dance. Crowds cheered, sang, and danced to impressive tributes to American musical favorites. Enthusiastic teenagers formed long lines for photographs with our Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam mimes, as well as the life-size cutout of President Barack Obama. We also offered a classic car show in the mall's parking lot, a poster show about President John F. Kennedy, and a collection of official White House photographs of President Obama in informal settings. You can see the photos of each of these activities on our Facebook and Flickr pages, and videos of the performances on Flickr.
Throughout "U.S.A. Weekend," U.S. Embassy and Bolivian-American Center staff provided information about our exchange programs, EducationUSA advising services, commercial opportunities, and consular services. Bolivian participants in our College Horizons/Martin Luther King scholarship program for English language study and our Youth Ambassadors program were also on hand to relay their experiences as exchange participants. Numerous visitors expressed their interest in participating in our programs. And "U.S.A. Weekend" attracted more than 1,000 new fans to our Facebook page, bringing the total number of our fans to more than 35,000! In fact, "U.S.A. Weekend" was so popular that local media outlets -- including Cochabamba's leading music television station -- requested interviews with U.S. Embassy staff and Bolivian hip-hop artists.
As the event came to a close, visitors from other cities in Bolivia asked when we would be doing a similar program in their city. "This is so great! Can you do this in Santa Cruz, too?" asked a young woman. In fact, we're planning a similar event for Santa Cruz in September! Stay tuned!