Panama Summer Service Adventures
90% Rating
(5 Reviews)

Panama Summer Service Adventures

On this Panama program, we snorkel around the coral reefs of the San Blas Islands, tour Casco Viejo and the Panama Canal, surf on world-class Pacific waves, participate in traditional Kuna dances, mola weavings, and dugout canoe races. Students also practice Spanish with Panamanian students, experience a homestay in a small, rural village, engage in leader-guided homestay language exercises and activities. Community service is at the heart of every Global Works trip and, on this one, students earn 30-40 community service hours through volunteering at the Hogar Malambo Orphanage, teaching English, organizing a ‘Dia de Actividades’ for local school children, refurbishing a school library and sports facilities, planting organic gardens, and participating in reforestation efforts.

2-4 Weeks
Host Family
Starting Price

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 5 reviews
  • Growth 9
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.2
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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I had such an amazing time on this trip and grew so much as a person! I am constantly using the things I learned and the experiences I had in my day to day life.

Yes, I recommend
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The Perfect Balance

I really liked this trip because it gave the perfect balance of service work, adventure time, and relaxation, all while creating lasting relationships with my group members and the Panamanian people and experiencing things I would never have had the opportunity to do otherwise. Of course it was scary at first, but this trip is also great because of the challenge it poses; to step outside a normal comfort zone and learn from the all geographically, socially, culturally, and intellectually different aspects. Each day we would wake up relatively early, but nothing crazy, for there was work to be done. We would start our day with breakfast and prepping for whatever project or adventure we would be doing, which we usually knew about the night before anyway. It was a really well organized trip but also flexible to the weather, attitudes, and varying aspects that influenced our plans. The most exciting part was definitely the week on the San Blas islands because it was where we really formed close relationships with our group members, while being in such a breathtaking environment with the truly welcoming and influential Kuna Yala people. Being on the islands was definitely a challenge because we were living in a more primitive area, but that's the whole point. We really had to live in the moment and be grateful for our lives at home and appreciate the differences between our cultures, yet the fact that they were happy in a different way. We helped them through our daily service projects, while they helped us step outside ourselves and learn about an amazing lifestyle. Being on the islands was definitely most influential because it was the first time we really were interacting with the people and using our Spanish speaking skills, which was really overwhelming at first. I found myself trying to be outgoing and start conversation, but getting really discouraged by my lack of fluidity and my shyness. However, I talked with my friends in the group and almost everyone had similar fears and set backs, but we kept trying and realized that was part of the experience. Soon I was able to forget the bad feelings and really put myself out there and have great conversations and just learn a lot about myself and the people. The homestay started off being slightly scary because after a week of becoming really great friends with our group members and always being together, we were separated and had to live with a Panamanian family where we solely relied on our Spanish speaking. However, I was with one other group member, and even though we weren't really close friends before, being put together with a family neither of us knew really forced us to work together and get to know each other, which I'm really grateful for now. In the homestay we would wake up every morning, eat breakfast, report to "la cancha" or the court where the entire group met, do service work in various areas of the town, break for lunch, come back and continue our projects. We also had days where we would work all day and play soccer with the locals after, or work half a day and play games at la cancha or have the day with our families, or explore the local forests. While this is where we did the majority of our service work, it was nothing too grueling and we could really see the beneficial impact of our work, and we still had plenty of time to explore and relax. One thing to be aware of is how we had to adapt to our homestay life. In Santa Fe, they wake up really early in the morning, like 4, and go to bed at the latest around 9, typically. However, the group members usually woke around 7, had to report to la cancha around 8, and went to bed by 8. It was actually quite nice. Also, the Panamanian family rarely ate meals with us; I'm still not sure why but I think that's pretty normal to not all eat together there. After the homestay we headed to the beach and had an amazing time soaking up the sun and learning how to surf. Not everyone liked the surfing, but everyone tried and it was so cool. I really felt I was living the dream getting to be there. Global works was great overall because not only did the find these great opportunities for the trip to go on, but they were really organized and really aware of what we needed as a group. We had lots of individual medical check-ins and lots of group activities after our day to see where everyone was emotionally, how to make things better, what we had learned, etc. Some of these activities were honestly kind of corny and annoying but in retrospect make a lot of sense. Three weeks seems like a long time the first couple of days, but after week one I never wanted to leave, week two I felt slightly homesick but knew my time was running out, and week three was definitely ready to go home, even though I didn't really want to leave. It was really just a great trip and there are only a few things I would change, but that's mostly personal in how I handled things, not global works. I would do anything to be back there!

How can this program be improved?

I would like to have less group activities at night, like sentimental games and discussions because at time they were repetitive or made me just annoyed because I wanted to be doing other things, since we did have limited time. I would also suggest more freedom to explore in places because it's hard to really experience a place when it's just in a large group of tourists. Also, three weeks was the perfect amount of time, but maybe make it 25 days instead of 21, so we can do more.

Yes, I recommend
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An awesome few weeks

I loved the trip I went on. Overall, the group and counselors I went with were awesome. It was a pretty good balance between community service, fun, and surf at the end. The unique homestay opportunity was definitely one of the best parts. It definitely improved my Spanish and I still keep in touch with the wonderful family I stayed with.

How can this program be improved?

I'd maybe have an opportunity to meet with indigenous people there or have some sort of zip line or white water rafting experience!

Yes, I recommend
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I'd Do It Again

The experience I had with Global Works in Panama was unforgettable. I would not hesitate to go again, even the exact same trip. In Panama, I learned a lot about myself with the help of the staff, the other kids on the trip, and the Panamanians. Working along side the natives made everything much more fun. When we were assigned an seemingly arduous task, it became all the the more fun and enjoyable when the people living in the community would show up every single day to help us out. Everyone I met was super excited to met me and they were all extremely nice and they were very interested in learning from us. There are no words to explain how much I did not want to leave. I would definitely do it again.

How can this program be improved?

If I could I would change the order of some of the events. Practically everyone in my group thought the trip could have been better if the order had been different. Although I do not remember how.

Yes, I recommend
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Baile Bernie

My trip to Panama was truly impact full! I met magnificent people both who live in the states and ones that live in Panama. I became more confident with myself by not being afraid to put myself out there, like when I got up in the schools dance competition in Santa Fe ad bernied with the kids. I absolutely loved being in the San Blas because it showed me how life can be so simple, how we don't new materials for true happiness. Overall I learned more about myself and how impactful a small gesture can be.

How can this program be improved?

I would change the type of volunteer work because I would have like to work with children more and have a bigger impact of thecommunity.

Yes, I recommend

About Global Works

For more than 27 years, Global Works has been an industry leader in community service-based adventure travel programs for high school students and custom group trips. Much more than a vacation, Global Works international trips are the bridge for...