A Truly Memorable Experience January 20, 2022

By (Lafayette College) - abroad from 09/04/2022 to 12/17/2022 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was absolutely a worthwhile program. I can't think of a better example of experiential learning or learning outside the classroom. I also had the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life.

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.

This is an intense program. You travel a lot and cover many topics. This creates a challenging, but incredibly rewarding experience!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Staff and Administrators are very passionate and knowledgeable people that can offer you a lot in your studies.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

OK. There aren't always 5-star hotels, but that's part of the adventure! Each place you stay is a unique experience. Lean into the discomfort and you'll have amazing stories to share in the end!

* Food:

As a vegan, this was the most challenging aspect of the trip. It was often difficult to eat a balanced diet while traveling.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Homestays are amazing experiences for cultural immersion. Unfortunately, with the circumstances of the global pandemic, these opportunities were limited for my trip. Nonetheless, there are other ways to explore Panama's culture and have a great time.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare was accessible throughout the trip, and accommodations were made when necessary.

* Safety:

We never traveled to a place that made me feel unsafe. My only advice is to be safe travelers and avoid common mistakes.

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)

I hardly ever encountered unexpected expenses and stayed well under my personal budget for the trip.


* 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

There was hardly any pressure to speak Spanish, but students who wanted to did.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced college level Spanish courses
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? Seek out opportunities to speak Spanish and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

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?
  • Travel
  • Independent Research
  • People
* What could be improved?
  • Food
  • Free time
  • Language immersion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how beautiful the sites would be, I would have brought a better camera.

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.