4th Annual Study Abroad Program in Panama

“Whitewater rafting through the rain forest and spending a day with the Embera Indians were just a few of my favorite things about Panama.  To improve my Spanish speaking skills, I surrounded myself with Panamanian friends who only spoke Spanish, and as a result, my skills improved tremendously.  Following my experience, I was recently hired as the Spanish teacher at Holy Cross High School.”
-Clinton E. Craddock

“The thing that impressed me the most about the people there, was their eagerness to assist you with learning Spanish.  Everyone was friendly and tried to help me.  Most importantly, no one made me feel uncomfortable in my attempt to learn.  It is a good place for any level of Spanish speaker, so even if you are not the most experienced Spanish speaker, you will still have the opportunity to learn.”
-Andrea Greene

“I brought back many amazing memories of Panama.  I’ll never forget floating down the Rio Chagres through the middle of a tropical jungle and feeling like a true adventurer.  I will never forget, or be able to do justice recounting the night we jammed, jostled, swung, and shook our way through Panama City with a world--famous soccer star making a surprise visit, on the psychedelically painted, streamlined for dancing and good times, party bus that is Panamanian Chiva Rumbera.”
-Anthony Carpio

“Some of my most memorable moments of Panama were my interactions with the taxi drivers.  Besides one specific incident, every trip in a taxi was very entertaining with some hilarious stories.  I learned a lot everyday about the culture of Panama.  It was intriguing to learn something in class and then encounter it outside of the classroom or visa versa.”
-Cleveria Peters

“The trip gave me the opportunity to know what it feels like to be a part of the minority.  As a Caucasian American, I feel it was very important that I got the chance to feel this way.  It should make it easier for me to understand how others feel in the same situation and will benefit my life for years to come.  I only wish that every Caucasian American had the same opportunity I have had.  It would certainly change a lot of the problems we already face today.”
-Alfred Frager

“Being a language major has broadened my horizons and knowledge of other people and cultures that coexist with us.  Cultural diversity is not prevalent in our society and my goal is to help change that.  This experience was a blessing.  Studying in Panama provided learning and communication skills that I need to succeed in my major.  Gaining firsthand experience has certainly opened my eyes to the culture and how life really is in the country.  The customs are so different from ours here and having had the opportunity to study them was amazing.  A major benefit has been increasing my foreign studies.  Although it was difficult, I worked very hard to succeed during my time abroad.” -Lauren Hays

“There are people and places in Panama that I am already dying to see again.  It was extremely helpful in boosting my confidence and understanding with the Spanish language.  Actually, not only was it helpful at the time, it is something that continues to help me with my progression in learning the language because now I speak nothing but Spanish with the friends I made on the trip both from Louisville and Panama.  Going on this trip was the best decision I’ve made probably in my life.”
-Angela King

“Having stayed in this beautiful country has given me the opportunity to learn about so many things. Panamanian culture is considered a melting pot due to the variety of races in their population.  The relationship among the people was fantastic.  Since I came to the United States, I had forgotten how nice it is not to be rejected by society because of your cultural heritage or your race. Panama is like another world.”
-Laine Ortega

“I have been blessed in my life to have many wonderful experiences, but the month spent in Panama definitely rises to the top of my list.  Apart from improving my language skills and learning about another culture, I believe I learned the most about myself and how I live.  I believe that I have grown to be a better person and much more aware of my everyday actions and habits.  I enjoyed every moment of my experience abroad and I definitely want to return to Panama in the future.”
-Cherith B. Morgan

“What I enjoyed most about the experience in Panama was that it allowed me to venture into a society and practice using Spanish in a more daily routine.  I feel that I have gained so much from my solo adventures in Panama, where I had to express myself and make sure that I was being heard, that I’ve increased my confidence in speaking Spanish in front of others who speak the language natively.”
-Stanley McDowell

“In years to come, I know my trip to Panama will provide me with many great memories.  I loved our trip to the Embera Indians, a Panamanian indigenous group.  The Chiva Rumbera (a party bus), the taxis, and the constant honking remind me of the absolute craziness of Panamanian traffic.  Coming to know Panamanians was a great experience that made me feel welcome in the country.  Seeing the humanitarian conditions of this little Central American country made me realize that one of my main interests in life is international non--profit work.  My month living, studying, and traveling in Panama was a wonderful time which I will never forget.”
-Jacquelyn Roe

“On this trip to Panama, I met amazing new people, traversed through the countryside, and learned more culture and Spanish than I could have dreamed about learning in the states.  I could list for pages everything that we did that was absolutely incredible, but in a quick summary my favorites were our hikes through the rainforests to see the waterfalls, our trip to the Caribbean Islands Bocas del Toro, and meeting students from Panama.”
-Bryan Mahdavi

“While the Panamanian culture course provided an extensive amount of information about the society through numerous types of media, it also gave students an opportunity to ask questions and convey personal observations.  I greatly appreciated the diversity of activities, from dance lessons and cooking classes to hikes and bicycle excursions, planned by the University of Louisville in Panama.  Through these activities and conversing with native Panamanians, I was able to gain a better understanding of what life is like in their country.”
-Maria Taylor

“Living in the city and the daily life immersed me into the language and culture in a way that would be impossible to do without this experience.  The assigned staff members were excellent and they assisted the students greatly in completing the program.  The accommodations were wonderful and overall it was a great experience.  I would recommend to anyone wishing to pursue learning a foreign language or truly understand another culture to participate in a program such as this.”
-Tiffany Traughber