Incredible experiential learning opportunity Past Review

By (Sociology., Georgetown University) - abroad from 06/13/2014 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?
I had an incredible experience working alongside the community members and developing a project of our own conception, from the ground up. The relationships you build through sharing laughter, struggle, success, and joy is priceless.

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.

There's only so much you can learn in the classroom and by looking through reading material. It's a whole different ballgame when you're working with real people in a real project with the opportunity to make a real impact in the community. And this is what you get with ThinkImpact: a true hands-on education that challenges you, makes you think, and ultimately pushes you to grow.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our on-site staff was amazing. They were incredibly supportive, but at the same time, they challenged us to help us grow.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The home I stayed in was wonderful. My host family made me feel right at home, and I couldn't have asked for anything better.

* Food:

Awesome food. I love food, especially home-cooked meals, which we had every day. Sometimes, my roommate, my host-mom, and I would cook together, too!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Getting to know the community and building relationships with the people in the community was absolutely the highlight of my experience. The fact that we were all tearing up when our program was over speaks volumes to how close we got to each other.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There were a few incidents throughout the program, which the staff took care to immediately. Everything was handled very well.

* Safety:

I felt more safe in El Cocal than back home, haha!

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? I took part in two excursions, which amounted to a few hundred dollars, but other than that, I spent almost no money.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? See if your school offers funding for these types of programs, and if they don't, advocate for it!


* 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

I spoke Spanish everyday, which was awesome, because my Spanish improved tremendously.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

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
* 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?
  • The people I met
  • Live in a new culture
  • Grassroots oriented approach to projects
* What could be improved?
  • The training portion should be revamped
  • Some language requirement
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will cry when you leave.

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.'