Decent Program but Would Not Recommend Past Review

By (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) - abroad from 06/18/2014 to 08/13/2014 with

ThinkImpact: Panama Institute for Health or Social Innovation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Learned lots about cross cultural communication and the initial phases of social innovation but the program was far too expensive for just these lessons. For the same amount per month, I could have lived and taken classes at my own university as opposed to living in rural Panama spending lots of time bored or wondering what we were supposed to be accomplishing.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Some program materials were entirely unnecessary and much of the learning was done on our own. Far too much free time, more could have been accomplished with less down time or more direction in the first weeks.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administrators were nice, but I often felt like I was being treated as a high schooler rather than a young adult

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Initially I was extremely dissatisfied because of the conditions I was living in relative to what all the other students were experiencing. After some health-related incidences and a switch of homes however, it improved.

* Food:

Food portions were generally large but we (understandably) had the same dishes over and over

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health issues were only addressed once they had occurred and prior warnings were generally ignored. Hospital facilities were inefficient and did not seem worth the waiting time or eventual checkup

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Easy to budget while living in the community but the additional excursions seemed far more expensive than they should have been for the amount of time and activities included, especially given the already steep price of attending the program.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Average of around 75 USD due to extra cost of excursions


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
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? Beginner

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
  • 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?
  • Being abroad
  • Culture
  • People
* What could be improved?
  • Prices
  • Program structure
  • Program deadlines
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How much time we would spend not doing anything The total cost of the program compared to the actual cost of living in the community

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.'