Do This Past Review

By (Undecided, University of Massachusetts Amherst / UMass) - abroad from 08/27/2015 to 12/07/2015 with

SIT Study Abroad: Panama - Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile. I made friends who have become really important parts of my life and have inspired me and helped me find pieces of myself that I had lost. I learned so much about tropical ecology, conservation, and culture, but also learned a lot about myself.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All the work for this program is put on one person, the director. If there were two to share the duty, it would be 5 stars.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Panama city itself is not very safe but we did not spend too much time there and as long as you're careful you're fine.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

This program was absolutely incredible. I am so thankful I had the experience.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Barely any. We were provided with allowance for food. If you want to go out and do extra things it comes out of your pocket though.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you want to save money, you can easily. Its not hard to budget yourself.


* 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

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 2
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 want to practice you have to make an effort. Its easy to speak english with the group. If you want to immerse yourself, you can. I spent 10 days by myself with a community that only spoke spanish and the native language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Travel
  • Immersion
  • Adventures in nature
* What could be improved?
  • Make it longer
  • Have class work better planned out on the calendar
  • A week less in the city
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I had stopped doing some things the past few years that are important to me

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'