Study Abroad in Panama

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With its endless rain forests and beaches, tropical climate and buzzing cultural scene, Panama is often portrayed as the perfect vacation getaway and may not be a typical study abroad destination. Yet, why not combine both work and play? With its unique cultures and beautiful scenery, Panama has been gaining popularity as a study abroad destination as students search for authentic experiences that are unavailable back home.

Study abroad in Panama to improve your Spanish, get a better understanding of life in Central America, or learn about its incredible tropical ecosystems.

Panama City

The top 2 universities in Panama - Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (UTP), Universidad de Panamá – are located in Panama City. In fact, these two public universities are among the top universities in Latin America. UTP is the second largest university in Panama, and specializes in the various branches of Engineering, as well as Science and Technology. Universidad de Panamá, on the other hand, offers a wide range of courses in various disciplines such as Business Administration, Fine Arts, Natural Sciences, and Medicine.

Panama City is arguably the most popular city in Panama to study abroad in. Most universities, and many of the best universities are located in Panama City, the capital of Panama. Home to the Panama Canal and world heritage sites such as Panamá Viejo and San Felipe, Panama City has a rich culture and heritage that would especially delight students interested in historical and cultural studies. Panama City is not only home to colonial-era relics however. With its dense skyline of skyscrapers, Panama City is the political and administrative center of the country as well as the hub for international banking and commerce. It is intensely urban and packed with hot clubs, museums and elegant restaurants – all this with a vibrant spirit and surrounded by a large belt of tropical rainforest. What better way is there to spend a hectic school semester?

Study abroad is about gaining new experiences and exposing yourself to a whole new world, lifestyle and culture – and Panama offers just that. The diversity and vibrance of the region is incredible, and if you are not afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you will find Panama to be perfect for you.

Make sure to check out our guide on what to pack for study abroad in Central America to make the most of your trip.

Academic Life

In Panama, books, bachelor’s degrees and classes happily coexist alongside beaches, partying and nature. Panama has almost 90 higher education institutions, and some US colleges (such as Florida State University and University of Louisville) have even established campuses there! Some of Panama’s top universities include Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Universidad de Panamá and Universidad Latina de Panamá.

If you are interested in biodiversity and nature, Panama is a great destination as it is home to the world’s most diverse rainforests. In line with this, there are many study abroad programs focusing on biodiversity and field studies, such as the SFS Program for Tropical Island Biodiversity program.

Language

A piece of good news is that most students who choose to enroll at university need not spend extra time learning a foreign language before initiating their studies. English is spoken widely and fluently in Panama, and this will certainly make adjusting to life there easier. English is also one of the chosen mediums of instruction and education in numerous good schools in Panama, with many locals being bilingual in both Spanish and English. As such, you won’t need to worry about feeling lost in class!

Spanish is the official language in Panama, so if you were hoping to improve your Spanish skills or learn another language, you have come to the right place! Language Immersion Programs are also available to help accelerate your learning. For example, the AmeriSpan Spanish Language Programs in Panama and NRCSA Spanish Language Study Program in Panama City will have you speaking Spanish like a local in no time! Be it taking a new language class in school or simply conversing with locals in the marketplace, there will be ample opportunities for you to brush up on your language abilities.

Housing

Accommodation is often included in the costs of whichever program you select, and can take the form of home-stay, apartments or hotels. Some universities have university housing that exchange students like you can be privy to as well. However, the type of accommodation you have ultimately depends on the specific guidelines of your program/university, and can very differ greatly.

Student Visas

You will need to apply for the Panama Student Visa, which is exclusively for those dedicated to studies. As such, you will not be allowed to work during term time, unless this is a course requirement. To be eligible for the visa, you must have a place to study full time at an institution, public or private, which is accredited by the Department of Education. Additionally, you are required to be physically present at an immigration office in Panama at the time of their application. Candidates are also expected to list in advance what they will be studying and the time they expect it will take.

Social Life and Student Culture

Studying in Panama means that there is wide range of activities you can choose from in your free time. Modernity comes in many forms in Panama, from the architectural feats of Panama Canal and Bridge of the Americas, to the vibrant clubs and restaurants in its cities. From the picturesque black sand beaches in Santiago to the tropical jungles of La Palma, it is no surprise that Panama is also a playground for outdoor and nature enthusiasts. Feeling active?

Go deep-sea fishing in Vacamonte or surf in Colon! When fatigue sets in, you can look forward to strengthening friendships while strolling along the charming historical streets of Penonome or appreciating the rich Spanish history of Portobelo.

The wonderful thing about Panama is that each of its cities has its own distinct flavor, and the entire country boasts a plethora of activities that will cater to any interest. Spend your weekends exploring different parts of Panama, and in the off-chance that you run out of things to do, just hop on over to any of Panama’s neighboring countries in Latin America!

Check out these great scholarships to offset your costs when studying abroad in Panama next semester.

Contributed by Liying Tan

Showing 18 Programs

Panama

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) hosts an exciting semester program in Panama: Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies. The pr...

Panama

The School for Field Studies
This summer, immerse yourself in the incredible tropical ecosystems of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago while examining the hum...

Panama

Kalu Yala
At Kalu Yala, we are in the process of building the world's most sustainable modern village nestled in the Panamanian rainfor...

Panama

SIT Study Abroad
Experience the critical environmental and social issues affecting one of the world’s most diverse ecological systems. This pr...

Panama

SIT Study Abroad
Explore marine biodiversity in two oceans. Snorkel while conducting research in Caribbean coral reefs, mangroves, and seagras...

Netherlands

Class Afloat - West Island College International
Founded in 1984, Class Afloat - West Island College International is one of the world’s most incredible experiential educatio...

Panama

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Sea State
This program is for anyone who wants to become a better writer and a more informed global citizen. Sam George, Emmy award win...

Panama

COINED International
It is truly surprising how much the narrow section of land that connects North America with the South has to offer! Central A...

Panama

NRCSA
Come study Spanish language at the Spanish Language School in Panama City, Panama. Prospective students can choose between a...

Panama

AmeriSpan
AmeriSpan invites students from across the globe to come study the Spanish language in Panama! Two program locations are offe...

Panama

Florida State University (FSU) International Programs
FSU-Panama is located on the prestigious City of Knowledge campus, a large educational and research complex that includes sev...

Panama

LIU Global
At the Costa Rica Center, located in Heredia City, students have the opportunity to study the factors that make up Central Am...

Panama

Ileri Panama Spanish School
The school with the most experience in Panama since 1994. Our goal is the teaching of the language through the life and cultu...

Panama

Envoys
Panama has long been an attractive tourist destination, given the ease of travel and wide array of experiences. Visitors can...

Panama

Spanish at Locations
Study one week at our Panama City location and visit the famous Panama Canal, the historical old part of the city and the idy...