SIT Study Abroad Logo


Community & Nongovernmental Organizations Internship

Get professional, intercultural experience interning at a Panamanian community or nongovernmental organization seeking to create positive change.

At a Glance




2 semesters Spanish

Language of Study


Courses taught in

Spanish, English


May 21 – Jul 9

Program Countries


Program Base

Panama City

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development & Inequality

Identity & Human Resilience

Identity & Human Resilience Icon


Why intern at an NGO in Panama?

Panama is known as the gateway to the Americas and Panama City is a leading base for international NGOs and the United Nations, so Panama offers a variety of internship possibilities. You will get a taste of daily life by living with local families; visit a community living inside a dormant volcanic crater; and experience Panamanian dance, music, and art.

At the beginning of your program, you’ll get an introduction to the broader cultural, social, and political context of Panama and to workplace norms and the ethics of interning in another country. Then, you will complete a five-week internship in indigenous rights, environmental conservation, education, sustainable business, or another field related to your interests and career goals. Your internship will be academically rigorous and you will participate in weekly discussions, have curated readings, keep a journal, and write papers reflecting on your experience.

You will also earn three credits of Spanish with an intensive language course and expand your professional language skills through your internship.


  • Complete an internship with a local community organization, NGO, or business.
  • Develop your professional Spanish-language skills.
  • Experience Panamanian culture through a homestay, travel, and activities.
  • Customize the program by focusing on the field you're most interested in.


Two semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent

program map


Visit a community inside a volcanic crater. And experience Panamanian dance, music, and art. With your classmates, you’ll discuss and reflect on the experience of living as a foreigner in Panama. In this country, where you can travel between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, traversing mountains and coast, in one hour, you will experience a multi-ethnic, cosmopolitan city, beautiful biodiverse landscapes in rural locales, and indigenous communities, depending on your internship selection.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Articulate the intercultural challenges involved in working in a professional setting other than one’s own.
  • Evaluate and reflect on one’s positionality during an internship and its impact on their experience.
  • Reflect on the ethics involved in conducting an internship in
  • Explain the multinational colonial legacies that persist in Panama and their impacts on human and ecological well-being.
  • Synthesize the learning acquired through the internship experience in a final paper and oral presentation.
  • Enhance communicative proficiency in Spanish

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Socioeconomic, political, and cultural impacts on NGOs and communities
  • bullet list icon
  • Civil society, organization, and popular power in a Panamanian context
  • bullet list icon
  • Topics related to your major and their local and global impacts and influences
  • bullet list icon
  • Ethical considerations and consequences of interning in another culture

Internship and Seminar

Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits)

This course consists of a five-week internship with a local community organization, research organization, business, or international NGO. You will develop and apply reflective practices while gaining valuable work experience and enhancing your skills in a Panamanian work environment.

Sample internships:

  • Conducting health intakes in rural Caribbean areas
  • Helping out at a national park like El Cope or PILA
  • Performing administrative/data tasks at an HIV/AIDS clinic in Panama City
  • Teaching at a primary school in a rural mountain community
  • Helping out at a sustainable tourism company
  • Compiling indigenous literature with a coastal advocacy group
  • Collaborating on experimental sustainable agriculture with an NGO
  • Assisting at an urban veterinary clinic
  • Performing varied tasks at a major national newspaper

Spanish for Professionals

Spanish for Professionals I – syllabus
(SPAN2003 / 3 credits)

Spanish for Professionals II – syllabus
(SPAN2503 / 3 credits)

Spanish for Professionals III – syllabus
(SPAN3003 / 3 credits)

The Spanish course is conducted, with daily classes, during the first two weeks of the program. Classes are intensive and dynamic, and require participation through discussions, panels, dramatizations, presentations, workshop development, and reading analysis on relevant topics.


Panama City

At the beginning of your time in Panama, you’ll live with a local family and experience the vibrancy and diversity of Panama’s capital and largest city. Observe rural customs in the midst of booming international banking and trade businesses, hone your Spanish skills through daily practice, and gain valuable exposure to Panamanian traditions and culture. Panama City is one of the leading base locations for international NGOs and the United Nations.

Internship Homestay

Housing during the formal, one-month internship period will be arranged with help of internship site contacts vetted by SIT. Your housing during the internship will be dependent on the location of the internship.

Faculty & Staff

Panama: Community & Nongovernmental Organizations Internship

Alyson Dagang, PhD bio link
Alyson Dagang, PhD
Academic Director

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award nearly 1 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

    See Full Breakdown
  • Facebook

    SIT Study Abroad Panama: Community and Nongovernmental Organizations Internship

  • SIT Panama Alumni Initiative

    In 2022, the SIT Panama alumni organization, Few for Change, awarded 62 scholarships to students in the Ngäbe-Buglé Indigenous Comarca in Panama. SIT Panama alumni collaborate throughout the year to support students to ensure that they have the opportunity to stay in school.

    Learn More