Learning to Learn For Life July 18, 2023

By (Environmental Science, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/27/2023 to 05/09/2023 with

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Panama - Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was absolutely a worthwhile experience. Staying in a bubble will not help you grow as a person or as a life-long learner. Experiencing and actively learning about different cultures is key to forming a wider worldview.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The most rewarding knowledge that I gained on this program was of cultural competency and of the culture(s) on the archipelago. The coursework in the classroom seemed secondary; while some of it was new and regionally specific, some of it was review.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Having roommates alleviates the stress of making friends; if you had the option of locking yourself away, I think more people would have done it. My roommates ended up being some of my best friends on the program and I appreciated the ease of which I could reach the other cabins.

* Food:

The kitchen staff at SFS Panama is talented and full of incredible people. I wouldn't waste an opportunity to get to know them.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* 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

This program was outside of my comfort zone and pushed me to grow without me realizing how much growth I went through until looking back.


* 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? $30


* 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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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 that I met
  • the tropical rainforest
  • practicing my spanish
* What could be improved?
  • more hours for the cultural competence class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You don't need as much clothing as they say in the packing list. Laundry is done weekly(ish) and it will save space and weight to pack lighter than expected.