• Panama
    • Panama City
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Biology Conservation and Preservation Cultural Studies Ecology Marine Biology Social Sciences
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
What's Included
Some Activities Airport Transfers Classes Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airfare Meals SIM cards Visa
May 24, 2023
Jun 05, 2023
13 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Experience the critical environmental and social issues affecting one of the world’s most diverse ecological systems.

This program provides students an immersive opportunity to study tropical ecology up close in one of the world’s most diverse wildlife and plant environments. Topics of study include: tropical forest ecology; marine and wetland ecology; community resource conservation; indigenous resource use; human-natural resource interface; and the Panamanian environmental movement.

Engage in seven weeks of field study. Study at world-renowned research institutions.
The program includes courses at the highly regarded Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro and Barro Colorado Island and at EARTH University in Costa Rica, the foremost sustainable agricultural college in the hemisphere.

This program is currently not being promoted on Go Overseas by its provider. Check with SIT Study Abroad for the most up-to-date information regarding the status of this program.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion


SIT Robert Kantor Memorial Scholarship

Each year one student will be granted $10,000 in scholarship aid to study abroad with a SIT program. Funded by individual donors and foundations, the requirements are tight: seeking first-generation college students who've never traveled abroad before, currently attend an HBCU, and demonstrate strong financial need.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 18 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.4
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.85
  • Housing 4.6
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 18 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

SIT Panama: Unforgettable Immersion

My experience abroad with SIT exceeded all my expectations. Initially, this program stuck out to me as a hands-on learner and someone who loves to travel. In reality, it was all that and more. This program is a nice balance of academics, hands-on activities, and cultural immersion. Over the course of the trip, we traveled all over the country to dozens of locations I had never even heard of before, and I was thrilled by their natural beauty and rich culture. I was also able to greatly improve my Spanish while in Panama and loved the opportunity of living with several Panamanian families. It offered a truly unique perspective into Panamanian culture that was truly amazing. Overall, I strongly recommend this program.

  • Great living accommodations including several homestays with Panamanian families
  • Opportunity for month-long independent research project
  • Very well-run and organized
  • Some class units are a bit difficult given the tight time window, but are generally very manageable
  • A fair amount of long travel days
34 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Worth 5 semesters

This program offers an absurd amount of opportunity to learn about so many new things in vastly different ecosystems with a challenging structure and expectations that pushed me to a new standard of academics that I hadn't expected. The people in charge of the program are fantastic, and incredibly helpful, and it was rare to meet an unhelpful Panamanian. The Independent Study portion is unmatched in allowing and forcing you to grow beyond your bounds. Without this experience, I think my education would have been gravely incomplete.

  • The people
  • the challenge
  • the travelling
  • exhausting/little free time
50 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

SIT Panama: A unique and life-changing experience abroad

A lot of you people searching for abroad programs have more than likely considered going to Europe for what is likely also an amazing experience. I was also ready to pull the trigger on some program where I would be taking classes at a university in another country where I would be surrounded by a ton of other abroad students doing the same program as me. To be fair I never did go to Europe, so I can't suggest too many things about the abroad programs there.

What I can say is that my experience in Panama made me so grateful that I made the decision to go against the grain and do something that most people won't get the chance to do.

Between hiking through tropical cloud forests, snorkeling in a pristine Caribbean archipelago, climbing a volcano, and wading through a river to catch frogs, this program really has everything for the adventuring soul. If you have any kind of passion for the environment and nature, this program will overload every dopamine receptor in your entire body. Completing this program reaffirmed my passion for the environment, traveling to unique places, and having amazing experiences with amazing people, and hopefully it will make you feel the same.

  • Met amazing people
  • Saw amazing places I didn't know existed
  • Gained real-life field experience
  • Slightly chaotic at times
  • Big group creates friction between some
  • Sometimes poor communication with students
57 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A beautiful and exciting experience

This program was an amazing experience where my fellow students were passionate about conservation, climate change, and learning. We were able to visit beautiful places and learn from local community members about the many different ecosystems we experienced. The academics were very well integrated into where we traveled although the workload was challenging at times. There was a good balance of city and rural life, as well as class and free time. I would highly recommend this program for any environmental science student who wants to challenge themself or who wants to become more literate in Spanish about ecological/environmental topics.

What would you improve about this program?
Students should be "forced" to speak Spanish more. There could also be more discussion of Panama's history, politics, and social issues which are important for framing the environmental issues and also environmental treasures that the country has!
78 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Incredible Field Study Program

This program is incredibly travel and outdoor-heavy. You are constantly traveling all over the country for different modules where you spend 90% of your time doing field work outside. You are never bored and always busy. The places you get to see are actual paradise and there is plenty of time to hike, explore, and swim in between class. There is also an incredible variety of subjects to learn about from birds, to coral reefs, to forest, to amphibians. The program teaches you how to use different research methods and conduct experiments, so that you can be successful in executing your own research project during the last month of the trip.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be flexible and adaptable because this program is full of surprises and much of it is set on a day to day basis. Learn to go with the flow and enjoy the moments while you are in them because your day will be filled with the most incredible things.
80 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience for Travel/Field Work/Friends

SIT Panama is an incredible abroad program for students who love the environment and traveling. You will learn how to do all kinds of field work, learn/improve your Spanish, and make incredible friends and memories for a semester. The program is very travel-heavy, and you'll likely only stay in one place for a maximum of one week. You and the other students will be learning in the field with professors who are at the top of their field. You will have plenty of time for exploring and relaxing in various towns and the City.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We saw so many tropical animals, like toucans, sloths, ant eaters, monkeys, parrots, etc.
88 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

SIT PANAMA: Adventure of a Lifetime

What I loved about this program is the extensive traveling and unique experiences that this program provides. We travelled all over Panama and even some of Costa Rica, seeing and doing just about everything you could imagine: hiking, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, sight seeing, and of course, learning. This program takes you beyond the traditional classroom setting and teaches you way more than coursework. It got me out of my comfort zone in the best way and taught me the importance of living in the moment.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be flexible and be able to go with the flow in order to maximize your enjoyment of this program!
92 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Panama will be a part of me forever, and I can't wait to go back!

This was everything I could have hoped for and more in a study abroad experience. I was nervous about leaving everything behind and coming to Panama, but it turned out to be the absolute best decision of my life. The program staff were extremely laid back and allowed us to have an authentic, incredible experience. Every day we did something incredible, exciting, and new that left me wiser than I was before leaving the US. I have a greater confidence in myself and have made forever friendships. I cannot recommend this program enough.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go with the flow and enjoy every moment for what it is. Choose joy in every moment, even the seemingly-tough ones. There is always something beautiful and new to see and learn in Panama.
86 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers