Panama was an amazing experience. January 17, 2019

By (Governors State University) - abroad from 01/04/2019 to 01/10/2019 with

GSU Legal Empowerment Brigade to Panama

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned lot about the history and fun facts about Panama. I also learned about Wounaan Community.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I did not take a class with my study abroad experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very pleased with the housing. There were only three people to a room, with one bathroom. Also, we had air conditioning.

* Food:

The food was not bad. I am a picky eater, so some of the food I did not like. All the food tasted good, just not food I normally eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues when I was in Panama. One day I wasn't feeling good, and all the volunteers kept checking up on me.

* Safety:

I felt safe at all times.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would not choose a legal empowerment brigade again. I would choose either a medial brigade or public health brigade.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The only money we needed was spending money. I brought $150 and that was more than fine.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $100 when I was in Panama.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Just make sure you bring some extra money to tip your volunteers. I had enough money, but I think some people were short on money.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Everyone in the community spoke Spanish. We had to have translators there at all times.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I took 4 years of Spanish in high school, but I do not remember a lot of it.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you are going somewhere where people speak a different language, I would learn just the basics of that language

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • I enjoyed our interpreters.
  • I enjoyed going into the Wounaan Community.
* What could be improved?
  • I think only law students should go on the legal brigade. I think they would get the most of this brigade.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more about the law. I am going for Speech Pathology, so I don't know much about the law.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!