No Bad Days August 01, 2022

By (Environmental Studies, Gettysburg College) - abroad from 01/24/2022 to 05/08/2022 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I felt like I learned more about myself in the 3 months I was in Panama than in the 3 years before. This program gave me a chance to push myself, try new things, and work on things I love.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration is what makes this program special, successful, and unique.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing style was nomadic compared to other programs which I found exciting and helped to create strong bonds with each other and the country. Each accommodation was special in its own way.

* Food:

The Panamanian food will not soon be forgotten.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was a member of the first group that integrated with Panamanian national students, and I found this helped both Americans and Panamanians, fostering friendships over cultural divides and language barriers.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Several friends were able to find doctors or were assisted by our own professors. Everyone is helpful and caring.

* Safety:

While there is a culture of cat-calling like in most countries, I never felt unsafe walking throughout the city or country with the program as a young woman.

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

I scroll through my camera roll from Panama once a week because I miss everything about it so much.


* 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)

The stipend system is well distributed and allows students financial freedom while encouraging mindful spending habits.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It's tempting to over-prepare, but most things will be available for purchase throughout the program so don't purchase unnecessary things in fear of not having access to them in the future.


* 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

The program had ample opportunity to practice the language and encouraged any attempts, even if they weren't perfect.

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? Spanish 201
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? Use a little bit every day and don't be afraid to try.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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 people
  • Being outside so much
  • Going with the flow
* What could be improved?
  • -
  • -
  • -
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That all the cliches about meeting the most amazing people and having the greatest time abroad are true.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'