Life Changing Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/31/2015 to 05/14/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about environmental studies topics, biology, Spanish and human ecology. I was able to learn about issues facing the tropics and the world, as well as the local culture, local issues, and conservation tactics. I learned field study methods and ethnographic research methods. I also learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of. It was the most worthwhile thing I have ever done.

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

* 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:

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

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The program was very challenging but very rewarding. I was able to do things that I would never have been able to do on my own. I was able to learn from local experts and do research and hands on experiments for the entirety of the program. I was also able to grow personal connections to the issues that we were studying and was able to gain a deeper understanding of the topics and issues than I ever could have from text books or classes back at Middlebury.


* 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? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The program makes it very easy to spend as little of your own money as you want. All meals are provided and a stipend is provided to the students when the student is away from the program. The only money I spent was on personal purchases and gifts.


* 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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 210
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? Make sure you practice before you go but the main thing is practicing with your homestay families as much as possible while there. The best way to learn was from using my Spanish in country

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • The interdisciplinary subject matter
  • The homestays and cultural exposure
  • The hands on learning and complete out of the classroom learning.
* What could be improved?
  • More advising during ISP
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How little free time I would have

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Tropical Ecology

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English and Spanish
Comments: Yes. All of the work was done in the field from great professors. We had class 7 days a week which is much more than at Middlebury. We were assessed from field work, tests and presentations.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Human Ecology

Course Department:
Instructor: Aly Dagang
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Yes it was very challenging and very rewarding. Our class was conducted in the field and was based off of readings, personal interaction and interviews with locals, presentations from locals and professor lectures. Class was integrated into all other courses as well. We were assessed through papers, interviews and presentations.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Environmental Research Methods and Ethics

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English and Spanish
Comments: Yes it was very challenging. All of the classes were done in the field where we learned and practiced all research methods. These methods were also being used during our independent research projects. All the professors were very knowledgable and well-prepared. We had class 7 days a week. We were assessed based on participation and written assignments.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Spanish for the Natural Sciences

Course Department: Spanish
Instruction Language:
Comments: Yes it was challenging. Class was completed for 5 hours a day for two weeks. My professor was very well-prepared and knowledgable. We were assessed from papers, exams, homework, and class presentation, and participation.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Independent Study Project

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English and Spanish
Comments: This course was very challenging. All the work was done by myself independently with guidance available from my program advisor. I conducted interviews and ethnographic research for one month independently. I also wrote a semester thesis paper on the results of my research.
Credit Transfer Issues: