The best decision of my life January 06, 2020

By (Davidson College) - abroad from 08/22/2020 to 12/09/2020 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 gained far more than I ever could have hoped for or anticipated. I feel much more confident in myself as a person navigating the world, I learned invaluable field research techniques, and I learned and experienced ways of life completely foreign from anything I ever knew.

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

The staff of this program are incredible people that I feel so honored to have gotten to know and work with. They are very important in their fields and also extremely kind, flexible, and knowledgable people.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

I am a vegetarian and it was no problem at all.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We got to experience authentic local culture constantly. Of course, as a student from the US, I didn't feel like I fit in 100% of the time because it is obvious I am not from Panama, but that was an important part of the experience as well.

* 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


* 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)


* 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

We had the opportunity to practice whenever we wanted, but we were not pushed to do so if we weren't comfortable to or able. But there was plenty of opportunity to practice Spanish for those who were interested.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 260
How many hours per day did you use the 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

  • 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 relaxed nature of it that helped us feel the authentic experience of Panama
* What could be improved?
  • Packing list
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The travel alarm clock is not necessary, and most things you can buy right away in Panama City (for better prices!) that you might not have room to bring from the US.