Develop an understanding of Panama’s diverse cultural identities, community concerns, and social justice initiatives while interning in an immersive Spanish-language environment.

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  • Get professional experience for your resume with a reflective internship.

    Your work will be supplemented with weekly discussions of issues, curated readings, a journal, and papers reflecting on your experience.

  • Develop your Spanish skills.

    You’ll put your language skills to use in a professional setting in your internship.

  • Give back to the Panamanian community.

    SIT’s internships focus on ethical work that allows you to practice reciprocity.

  • Live and work in another culture.

    You’ll discuss and reflect on the experience of working as a foreigner in Panama.

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development | Economy | Inequality

Development | Economy | Inequality

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Two semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent

Key Topics of Study


Key Topics of Study

  • Spanish for professional settings
  • Social justice and NGO work in Panama
  • Ethics of international internships
  • Work culture in Panama




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

Faculty and 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




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.




Sample internship fields include community development, indigenous rights, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, public health, communications, agriculture, sustainable business, and education.

Example internships:


  • Health intake in rural Caribbean


  • Administrative/data post in Panama City or rural mountains


  • Teach in a rural primary school in a mountain community
  • Teach in an indigenous primary school
  • Teach in a coastal primary school

Environment (terrestrial and marine)

  • Environmental advocacy NGO in rural highlands
  • Terrestrial or marine environmental work with urban NGO
  • Work at national parks like El Cope, PILA, and others
  • Recycling work with an environmental urban NGO
  • Marine conservation work on blue carbon project with NGO

Sustainable Business

  • Coconut oil project with a community development NGO
  • Supply chain work with an organic agriculture NGO
  • Work with a banana cooperative
  • Work with a sustainable tourism company


  • Work with local authorities addressing the needs of a mountain indigenous group
  • Compile indigenous literature with a coastal group
  • Work with a community development NGO – depends on needs of the moment


  • collaborate on experimental sustainable agriculture with an NGO
  • Work on an organic fertilizer production plant with an NGO
  • Work with an NGO on an organic coffee management program


  • Assist at an urban veterinary clinic
  • Shadow rural government veterinary staff


  • Assist on an urban radio program and radio station
  • Perform varied tasks at a major national newspaper
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Cost and Scholarships


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:

International Airfare to Program Launch Site

International 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 phone with them to their program.

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.

Speak With An Admissions Counselor

Speak With An Admissions Counselor