Countless Positive Impacts Past Review

By (Bowdoin College) - abroad from 08/30/2016 to 12/12/2016 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 tropical ecosystems, Panamanian culture, Spanish, and how to function as a foreigner. I gained a more easygoing nature, an appreciation for what our world has and how much is at stake, and 12 lifelong friends.

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The daily learning experiences, whether in class or outside, are unlike anything you could find at a typical university.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The in-country administration for SIT Panama is so loving and caring. You're in good hands!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family experience was wonderful. We did 5 different home stays, and each one was so unique and allowed me to connect with people on an entirely new level. It restored my faith in humanity to see how welcoming these people were to a complete stranger who didn't even speak their language entirely. When we weren't in home stays, we were in hotels and hostels that were all very accommodating and comfortable.

* Food:

I miss Panamanian food so much. We had plantains ~23 different ways!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Home stays really helped me feel connected, and we participated in/attended several unique local activities that were so awesome to watch.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

For most of the trip, I felt safer in Panama than I've felt in small towns in the US. Just be smart and you'll be fine!

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

The people I met, the food I ate, and the things I learned all hold a special place in my heart. While the program didn't exactly match my academic trajectory, it complemented what I had learned beautifully and gave me a unique experience that has had lasting positive impacts even as I return to my college in the cold.


* 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)

Food especially is very cheap in Panama, and so are Ubers. Because most of the accommodations were provided for us, we didn't have to pay out of pocket for many costs--mostly just souvenirs and snacks.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $25
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy a souvenir the first time you see it. Chances are you can find it much cheaper, or the salesperson will bring the cost down for you if you look at it for long enough. Never be afraid to haggle a group deal!


* 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? Intermediate
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? Advanced Spanish, Hispanic Poetry & Theater
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? Try to think in Spanish!

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
  • Other
* 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?
  • People
  • Food
  • Environment
* What could be improved?
  • Organization
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how much I shouldn't have been worrying before studying abroad, and how positively I'd be impacted.

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!