Cultural integration, wonderful opportunity for personal growth! Past Review

By (Johns Hopkins University) - abroad from 01/07/2015 to 01/23/2015 with

ThinkImpact: Panama Institute for Health or Social Innovation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I stayed in a rural community in Panama as part of a ThinkImpact Social Innovation program in January, 2015. It was a wonderful experience to stay with the community members and experience life as a community member would. Our host family and other community members were very friendly and the entire experience gave us a glimpse into a completely different life from what we are used to. I really lie the concept of the program – using local assets to bring about social and sustainable change in the community. I have learnt a lot from this program – team work where we didn’t speak the same language, importance of non-verbal communication skills, adjusting to a life very different from the ones we live in urban cities and most importantly, interacting with community members to discover details about their lives and integrating ourselves into the community to help bring about sustainable change. I would highly recommend this program!

Review Photos

ThinkImpact: Panama Institute for Health or Social Innovation Photo 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? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $5. We had our meals with host families and went to the local store to pick up some knick-knacks once in a while.


* 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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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

  • 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?
  • Staying and eating our meals with host families
  • Talking to community members to try integrating into the culture
* What could be improved?
  • more emphasis on learning local language before arrival in the country
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing. They conducted the program very well and we had a wonderful time!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.