15th Annual Study Abroad Program in Panama

“I enjoyed seeing the rich environmental treasures of Panama. In Gamboa, I traveled through a rain forest full of fascinating trees, animals, and plants, a forest unlike any I had seen before. I came face to face with interesting wildlife, such as the small monkeys on Gamboa’s famous Monkey Island and several sloths on Sloth Island in Bocas del Toro.” –Evan Clark

“While I was here I really enjoyed being able to practice my Spanish and learn a lot about speaking the Spanish language. It is extremely difficult to learn Spanish here because they are very fast speakers, but we have gotten to learn a lot of new words and have been able to take advantage of being around students who are learning English at the Quality Leadership University. They like to practice their English with us, and we like to practice our Spanish with them.” –Mary Mitchell

“I stayed in state of the art hotels in safe high rises, interacted with locals, improved my Spanish skills, visited exotic islands, hiked mountains, helped give back to underprivileged children, ate the best seafood I’ve had in my life, established new friendships, created memories that will last a lifetime, and challenged deeply held beliefs.” –Zane Meiners

“Over the past several weeks I have come to realize that the stories we hear on the news, the change in our global economy, and the interactions between cultures and societies on a daily basis are no longer just places on a map somewhere far away. These lands are achievable destinations if you have the desire to go there.” –Colin Beach

“While there are many highlights about this trip, I’d like to convey my appreciation for being able to visit the lovely and picturesque Bocas del Toro in Panama’s eastern corridor. The clear waters, lovely locals, and ease of life showed me that problems in life are only as deep as the Earth’s surface, and we can find beauty everywhere, if we only open our eyes to see it. Knowing this about the world will prepare me for future obstacles and give me the grace to get back up when I fall down.” –Joseph Henry

“Studying abroad was one of the most exciting and academically challenging endeavors I have ever undertaken. The cultural immersion I experienced is something you just can't understand until you settle into another country, and the specified courses on culture at Quality Leadership University really elevated my interested and abilities as a student.” –Amala Ankem

“The visit to Boquete and Bocas del Toro were probably my favorites. I am a bit of an outdoorsman, and found my own ways to experience the country. One such way was to go white water rafting along the river that lies near the Costa Rican border. The river was an exposure to more wildlife, tress, and the natural carving in the landscape. I also set out to tackle Volcan Baru, the tallest peak in Panama, and a dormant volcano.” –Colton Stinger

“I feel like through my entire experience in Panama, I have been able to increase my Spanish speaking and comprehension skills through my interactions with the locals. I have also learned more about the culture of Panama and Central America. I learned about the Canal and how relevant it is to the entire world. The excursions we took were not only culturally relevant and educational, they were intriguing and engaging as well.” –Taylor Bryant

“As an avid world traveler, I had never before visited any part of Latin America. From the Embera Village, to the coffee plantation in Boquete, and finally the province of Bocas del Toro, Panama has shown the side of traveling and study abroad that I have only seen in textbooks and on television.” –Natasha Mundkur

“I really want to highlight how much pride is taken throughout this country in the Afro-Caribbean influence. The appreciation is shown through the arts—canvases, murals, wall art and graffiti. This type of influence speaks to me because I come from an African American descendant and many of my family members are from the Caribbean countries/territories.” –Kiara Seth

“One of my favorite excursions was going to the Gamboa Rainforest. It was the first trip we took when we arrived and it was simply beautiful. It was raining, which is standard for the rainforest, but still lovely. We took gondolas to the top of the rainforest and we were able to see out an incredible distance. It was absolutely breathtaking. I knew in that moment that I had made the right decision to study abroad here in Panama.” –Molly Emdee

“One of my favorite excursions was the walking tour in Casco Viejo. The tour guide, Fabio, was very knowledgeable about the area and led us in a path to tell the story of the history of the area. He showed us historic buildings and structures and talked about their significance. It was so interesting because I was walking in the actual areas of the events that he was explaining.” –Alison Turner

“I am impressed with the trip to the Embera tribe, they were so friendly and welcoming. I like their simple and rustic way to live. The trip to the village was so rejuvenating and gave me a message that living simple and happy is what we need in this world. They aren’t materialistic at all, they are just happy and lovely community that support and share with each other.” –Karla Wilder

“My perspective on Central American culture, as well as the Spanish language, and even what it feels like to be a minority has evolved immensely. I could never have grown the way I did in Panamá anywhere else. This was seriously the most amazing opportunity.” –Sarah Nicholas

“Yes, seeing all of the beautiful locations of Panamá was exciting, but my favorite was learning about people. I am a women and gender studies double major with sociology so social aspects of life are my passion. I was taught about class, race, gender, homophobia and ableism while I was here.” –Mackie Owens

“I really enjoyed when we spent a day visiting Sloth Island and Zapatillos Island, where a season Survivor was formed. I had so much fun snorkeling and amphibian boarding and being able to observe all of the underwater wildlife. I was also amazed at how clear the water was. The sloths were adorable and I had an amazing time playing volleyball, relaxing, and eating all of the fruit we were prepared while spending time with my fellow classmates and our tour guides at Zapatillos Island.” –Juliana Spanova

“Panamá is rich in diversity, the population ranges from Indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, and Spanish. The exposure that students get from this type of diversity in this study abroad trip will help individuals with their Spanish by learning to adapt and learn different Spanish accents and learn more about the Latino culture. This type of exposure is one that I enjoyed and benefited from the most on this trip.” –Nely Sepulveda

“I have learned not to shy away from new things, and new experiences. This trip has allowed me to be more open minded. In stepping out of my comfort zone I was able to form a bond with the customs of Panama. I am learning that living in the moment is what this trip was all about. I looked past my inhibitions and worries; and learned to appreciate what an honor it was to be a part of something so amazing.” –Bridgette Mack