Get professional, intercultural experience as you intern at a Panamanian community or nongovernmental organization seeking to create change and find solutions to pressing 21st-century issues.

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  • Complete a five-week internship with a local community organization, nongovernmental organization, or socially responsible business.

    You’ll have access to SIT’s extensive networks to find an internship that matches your interests and goals. Choose from organizations working in the areas of community development, indigenous rights, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, public health, communications, agriculture, sustainable business, education, and more. Your internship will be academically rigorous, with weekly discussions of issues, curated readings, a journal, and papers reflecting on your experience.

  • Gain professional experience in a supportive environment.

    Develop intercultural skills and practical, real-world knowledge of your field while being supported every step of the way. Before you start your internship, 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. As you face new opportunities and challenges, you’ll learn strategies for making the most of your internship, personally, academically, and professionally.

  • Develop your Spanish skills through in-class study, field exercises, and conversations with native speakers.

    Earn three credits of Spanish and put your Spanish skills to good use in homestays and in the professional setting of your internship. Spanish is a dynamic, living language that is in constant growth in political, social, economic and cultural environments at an international level. The skills you develop will be useful to you long after the program has ended. 

  • Experience Panamanian culture and landscapes through homestay, travel, and hands-on activities. 

    Get a taste of daily life in Panama by living with local families. 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.

  • Customize the program to fit your goals by focusing on the field you're most interested in.

    This program is open to a wide range of majors, including education, agriculture, health, environment, Spanish, anthropology, economics, communications, and others. You’ll explore issues that are related to your interests and then be placed in an internship that can advance your career goals.

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development | Economy | Inequality

Development | Economy | Inequality

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Prerequisites

Two semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent

Key Topics of Study

keytopics

Key Topics of Study

  • Social, political, cultural, and economic factors that impact NGO work and community success in Panama
  • Civil society, organization, and popular power in the Panamanian context
  • Customized exploration of topics depending on your major (e.g., education, health, economics, environment, public policy, and many others) as they are affected and influenced locally by external forces including global macroeconomic policy, climate change, globalization, and other elements.
  • Ethical considerations and consequences of interning in another country and culture

Coursework

coursework

Coursework

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.

Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
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.
Spanish for Professionals – syllabus
(SPAN2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Spanish for Professionals – syllabus
(SPAN2503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Spanish for Professionals – syllabus
(SPAN3003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
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.

Faculty and Staff

staff

Faculty and Staff

Alyson Dagang, PhD, Academic Director

Aly DagangA California native, Alyson completed her BA in international development with an emphasis in Latin American studies at American University in Washington, DC, and her PhD in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Her research, carried out with local farmers, examined biophysical and socioeconomic aspects of wood and fruit tree repopulation of grazed pastures in central Panama. She has served as SIT Study Abroad associate academic dean for Latin America. She is pleased to be back as an academic director. she previously directed SIT programs from 2002 to 2005 and 2007 to 2009. Alyson was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Panamanian province of Panama Oeste. She has worked on projects focused on gender, agroforestry, sustainable agriculture, community development, environmental education, forestry, and conservation.

Panama view images full screen

Homestays

homestays

Homestays

The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.

Panama City

homestayAt 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. Experience 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.

Internship

internship

Internship

The internship will introduce you to community and nongovernmental organizations in Panama. Internship placements will mainly be at organizations in Panama City but also in other approved locations in rural Panama.

Throughout the five-week internship, you will keep a daily journal about your experiences and will have regular sessions with SIT faculty to reflect on your experiences.

In addition, you will submit a paper in which you describe, assess, and analyze what you learned during your internship. The paper will outline the tasks you completed throughout the internship, professional relationships you developed, and challenges you encountered and how you overcame them.

Internship fields: Community development, indigenous rights, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, public health, communications, agriculture, sustainable business, and education.

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
view images full screen

Cost and Scholarships

costScholarships

Cost and 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 more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students. 

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

This program is eligible for a New Horizons Grant, a scholarship for our new programs. Award amounts are $2,500 for semester and $1,500 for summer programs. Students demonstrating need through their submitted scholarship application will be eligible. 

Tuition: $4,800

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers
  • Preparation for the internship
  • All educational excursions, including all related travel costs
  • Internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period 

Room & Board: $2,150

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes orientation, time in the program base, on all excursions, during the internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
  • The homestay
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend to the student, or through the homestay.

Estimated Additional Costs:

Airfare to Program Site

Airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Immunizations: Varies

International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.

In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.

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