Why study tropical ecology in Panama?
This program has been modified with a later in-country start date preceded by one to two weeks online. The online portion will include: program orientation; introductory activities to get to know your academic director and local program team; faculty-led sessions; guest lectures to provide the theoretical frameworks for the course and historical background to the sites and partner organizations; readings; preliminary assignments; and discussions about independent study projects and, if applicable, internship opportunities. We will also have online discussions to debrief sessions and prepare you to join faculty, local team, and peers in country.
Panama has some of the world’s most biodiverse and complex ecosystems, from highland cloud forests to Caribbean coral reefs. You’ll conduct seven weeks of field studies in five unique settings in Panama and Costa Rica and visit world-renowned research institutions. You will learn how to observe forest dynamics, check water and soil quality, and measure bird, amphibian, and insect diversity.
In Panama City, one of the leading bases for international NGOs and the United Nations, you’ll explore conservation topics such as sustainable agriculture, indigenous resource use, and ecotourism. You will also conduct four weeks of independent, original field research project on a topic of your choice.
Your program also includes five homestays during which you will learn about urban and rural life, experience local culture, and examine the environmental challenges these communities face.
In addition, you will develop the Spanish language skills needed to discuss ecological issues and conduct field research through classroom learning, cultural immersion, homestays, fieldwork, and excursions.
- Study in one of the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems in the world.
- Engage in seven weeks of travel and field study in Panama and Costa Rica.
- Hike highland ecosystems and lowland rain forests and live in local communities.
- Conduct extensive fieldwork in a wide variety of tropical and marine ecosystems.
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields, as assessed by SIT. There is no language requirement. Taking coursework in or independently studying Spanish prior to arrival is highly encouraged.