“Oh that’s far away!” – A Bolivian living in Gothenburg: busting myths and stereotypes

When I first come to Gothenburg and as an exchange student I was wondering how it would be to meet people from all around the world. Once here I have noticed how new was for the people to meet a Bolivian person and it was the same for me! In this whole time in Sweden I have heard a lot of common sayings about Bolivia and Latin America and this time I will dispel or validate some of them:

  • “Oh that’s far away!”: Yes it is! actually for coming from La Paz city to Stockholm it takes approximately 19 hours and the time difference is 6 hours.
  • “Bolivia? You have Cocaine in your country right?”: Is really common to confuse cocaine with the coca leaf. The coca leaf is commonly used for medicinal matters and is considered sacred in my country.
  • “For sure you dance salsa perfectly!”: I wish…but no. Salsa is really common music in Latin America but in Bolivia we dance mostly ‘cumbia’ which is a tropical rhythm originated in Colombia.
  • “You must be suffering with this weather, your country must be extremely warm”:

Bolivia has several climates. My city La Paz is in 3650 meters above the sea level and the weather is cold, plus we don’t have really marked seasons and we are almost the whole year surrounding the 10 degrees. One last interesting fact: It never snows in my city!

  • “Is Bolivia in Africa?”: No, Bolivia is in the heart of Latin America.

To get involve with other cultures is an amazing experience full of up and downs and lots of cultural clash! But as a Latin-American person involved in the European system I feel privileged and I’m excited for telling everything about this wonderful experience!

/ María

This blog post is a result of a blogger competition launched by the University of Gothenburg. The readers vote for their favorite and the blog post that gets most likes continue to blog for the University throughout the semester. Do you like this post? Then vote by liking or commenting it here or like this post on facebook Voting ends Friday 26 Sept 10.00 AM.

María, 25, from Bolivia, just recently enrolled in Global Studies Master’s Programme. Visited Sweden in 2013 for exchange studies, got hooked and came back. 

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