A great program for new cultural experiences Past Review

By (Business Administration, International Relations, University of Southern California) - abroad from 06/18/2014 to 08/13/2015 with

ThinkImpact: Panama Institute for Health or Social Innovation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The biggest takeaways from this experience are learning to adapt in a completely foreign environment and completely immersing yourself with a new language, culture, and lifestyle. For this reason, this program is challenging, but proved worthwhile for my own experiences and personal growth. It definitely is a different experience, and I'm glad to have been a part of it.

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.

The program booklet contained far too much information and was rarely used. The learning experiences came mostly from interacting with the community members.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our coordinators were really nice and really helpful throughout the entire 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?

* 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)

Living within the community was very inexpensive. The excursions were pretty pricey.


* 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

We were definitely encouraged to speak Spanish. I had no prior Spanish background, so this was definitely a disadvantage. Even with the help of translators and fellow Spanish speaking students, communicating with the community members proved to be both a funny and interesting experience.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Practice with the translators, just point and make gestures at everything. Most importantly, just try to engage with community members and be able to laugh at yourself.

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Experiencing a different culture
  • Bonding with fellow students
  • Daily flexibility
* What could be improved?
  • Program structure
  • language requirements beforehand
  • have clear goals of what the end goals are
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew what we were trying to accomplish in the 8 weeks (sample projects) and had a better understanding of what we were going to be doing on a daily basis.

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.'