A perspective changing experience Past Review

By (Environmental Studies., University of Southern California) - abroad from 12/31/2014 to 01/10/2014 with

ThinkImpact: Panama Institute for Health or Social Innovation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Through participation in the program, students will gain real, lasting relationships with highly motivated and inspiring individuals, as well as tangible outputs that they helped produce. The materials we were provided with throughout the institute led to great discussions among the group, and gave us the opportunity to dive deep into various issues facing the growth and development of the non profit we were paired with. We were given the opportunity to work alongside community members as well as the leaders of the nonprofit organization, and it was extremely rewarding to be a part of high quality, enlightening discussions regarding the challenges being faced by the organization, and through brainstorming solutions together.

Review Photos

ThinkImpact: Panama Institute for Health or Social Innovation Photo ThinkImpact: Panama Institute for Health or Social Innovation Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Adriana, Chris, and Renee kept us motivated and moving forward throughout the program. They did a great job with organization and leading the trip.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay was the best part of my experience, and the room we were provided with was really nice and comfortable. We had our own room key and I felt that all of my belongings (and myself) were safe every night.

* Food:

I loved the food that was provided through the homestay. I loved being adventurous and trying the different plates, and I brought some of the recipes home with me to use with my family! I loved learning to cook with my homestay mother.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The homestay experience allowed for successful integration with the local community. We were taken to events such as a rodeo and played sports with the kids. We met our homestay family's extended family members and neighbors and friends, and were welcomed with open arms.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

One of the students hurt her foot during the trip, and our trip leaders took her to the doctor right away and made sure all problems were taken care of! There were some vaccines that were required for before the program, and a rabies vaccine was suggested. I don't see any need for the rabies vaccine but definitely for malaria medication and anything else suggested.

* 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? Unsure... very minimal considering food was provided in the homestay.


* 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

Translators were provided, and sometimes made it uncomfortable to continue to try to speak in the native language (knowing that there was someone with you who would correct what you were trying to say).

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 4 years in high school and one semester at University
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? DuoLingo is a great app to use to refresh your skills!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • 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?
  • My homestay family
  • Working with TortuAgro members
  • Group brainstorming sessions
* What could be improved?
  • Length of the program (should be longer)
  • Less reliance on the coursework and rigid models of work flow
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? We did not have much knowledge of the non-profit or the area in which we would be working before the program, it would have been nice to go into the area with some context and background knowledge on the issues faced by the non-profit with poachers, etc. in the area.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!