A semester of growth! February 04, 2022

By (Ecology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/20/2021 to 12/17/2021 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience in Panama was one that I will never forget. After the program I feel a lot more confident in my knowledge of tropical and marine ecology and in my conversational Spanish skills. I really loved how much the program challenged my world view, encouraged me to recognize my privilege as a visitor to the country, and helped me see the importance of recognizing the human side of conservation.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Extremely rigorous scientifically, with a unique focus on human dimensions to conservation. Course work was very fast paced.

* 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?

Would be beneficial for the program to have greater on-site medical support, however, this feedback was given to SIT and will hopefully be implemented in the future.

* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? approximately $30-50, varied week to week


* 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 3rd level in college
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? be friendly and open to speak to anyone you encounter

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • I loved how I got to see many different parts of the country.
  • Many courses were taught by local scientists.
  • There is a strong emphasis on local and indigenous knowledge in the curriculum.
* What could be improved?
  • There could be more on site health support.
  • There could be more rest time built in.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It will be rigorous! But you will learn a ton.

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.