Incredible Opportunity for Research/Field Experience and Amazing Memories January 26, 2020

By (Davidson College) - abroad from 08/27/2019 to 12/09/2019 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 myself, how to perform scientific research, and so much Spanish. I have zero regrets about going.

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.

Although not particularly academically rigorous, the opportunity to do field work and work with professors at the tops of their fields was incredible.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The academic advisor, field coordinator, and homestay coordinator were all amazingly kind, supportive, and knowledgable people.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Do not expect luxury. We always had enough to eat, somewhere to sleep, and incredibly accommodating and kind hosts.

* Food:

Panama isn't known for its food, and you'll come to both love and hate it. Plenty of opportunity to choose your own food in the City or on free days.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was difficult to integrate given the nature of the program, being with the same American students all the time, but having freedom around the City/certain towns and living in homestay provided a chance to connect.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got food poisoning, but was well taken care of by both staff and my homestay mom (was given medicine as soon as we had access, etc.)

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe, besides expected caution towards unknown people/places.

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

Given 100 opportunities I'd choose SIT Panama 100 times.


* 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)

They provided more than enough money to cover food during the program, which was the only thing we had to pay for ourselves.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $0 of my own personal 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

In homestays and Spanish class, we had to speak Spanish.

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? 102
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? Talk with your homestay families! Don't just stay in your room all evening.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Field Work
  • Friendship
  • Travel
* What could be improved?
  • Lectures
  • Spanish Classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't be scared! You're well taken care of and it's an experience of a lifetime.

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.