6th Annual Study Abroad Program in Panama

Program Director: Professor Berta Calvert
Assistant Program Director: Dr. Joy Hart

“In addition to learning about the history of the country, I also feel that my ability to speak and understand the Spanish language has grown tremendously.”
-Aaron Olson

“The class about Panamanian Culture gave me the possibility to learn more about Panamanians, Panamanian history, current economic, political, and social issues, and indigenous groups, such as the Kuna, Emberá, and the Ngobe-Bublé.”
-Judith Friedrich 

“I believe study abroad programs are very important to the University because they not only promote the University worldwide, but encourage students to learn about the world and its many cultures. The ability to be surrounded by culturally diverse people and respect their culture is one of the many blessings this program provides.”
-Amy Walkup

“After being here, now I do not feel that my college career would have been complete without this experience. I think that a study abroad opportunity is something that every student should experience during college. It makes you appreciate everything that you have and everything that you have worked so hard to achieve.”
-Samuel J. Stewart

“My time here has been by far some of the most intriguing, unique, and amazing experience of my life… Each day has been filled with a further understanding of the culture around me, the Spanish language, and a deeper understanding of who I am as a person.”
-John Alford, Jr.

“I was enrolled in a Panamanian Culture course (ML 313) which I absolutely loved. Learning is always easy when one wants to learn a certain subject, and everything Prof. Acosta taught the class related directly to my everyday life in the country. But most of what I learned was not in the classroom, but instead through all of my experiences and interactions with the Panamanian people.”
-Michael Razeeq

“Everywhere I went was a new adventure that added to the total experience of being in a different country. There were planned trips which were wonderful and very informative, but it was the free time when we were able to go out and do what we wanted that held some of the most interactive moments.”
-David Grubb

“During our stay with the Emberá, we were given a traditional lunch of fish and patacones (fried plantains), we were shown how to make baskets and wood carvings, and each of us was given a unique tattoo made from a special fruit. At the end of our visit, my classmates and I were honored with a traditional dance.
-Cynthia McCaulley

“I have really enjoyed my time in Panama. I am so glad I was afforded this opportunity to go. The trips we have taken and the memories that have been made have helped me to grow as a person and to increase my knowledge of another culture. I will carry this experience with me throughout the rest my life.”
-Laura E. Sivado 

“It is simply impossible to sum up my experience here in Panama in so few words. Not even the 700 pictures I have taken my stay will tell the whole story. The whole story is in my heart. I will carry the people I have met, the things I have seen, the stories I have heard and lessons I have learned in my heart forever. My experience has changed me. I have learned so much about Panama and her people, but I have also learned a lot about myself. I am a new person, more centered and focused on the things that matter.”
-Lindsey Keller 

“One of my favorite places we visited was Monkey Island in Gamboa. We had to take a boat to the island. I had the chance to feed a banana to a monkey.”
-Kathryn Haunsz

“When going to the store down here or in catching a taxi I have had to only speak Spanish. I appreciate this because it has forced me to use the Spanish I already know to get what I need or want.”
-Justina Ellis  

“My reason for coming on this trip was so what I could study a culture not of my own as a sociologist would to decide if sociology was really the right major for me. This trip has re-enforced that I have made the right decisions in the path of my career and dissolved any doubt in my mind I may have had about dedicating my life to studying the lives of others and helping people in general.”
-Shalah Bottoms

“I had the good fortune to travel to Isla Grande and was blown away by the beautiful sunset, clear waters and amazing food. Panama has opened its heart to me and I have graciously received it.”
-Alyson N. Barnes

“Panama’s small size allows for multiple day weekend trips without losing class time during the week. The scenic town of El Valle, with its cool climate, picturesque mountains, and colorful gardens is only one and a half hours from the hotel in Panama City. Taboga, a rugged island with white sand beaches, can be reached in just over an hour by boat. The canal, one of the man’s great engineering feats, runs through the heart of Panama City and offers a glimpse into Panama’s close history with the United States. Further out but still within an hour’s flight, Colón and Portobello are virtual time capsules, taking the traveler back to the days of Incan gold, pirates, and smugglers. The Caribbean islands of Bocas del Toro is one of the hemisphere’s premiere beach destinations, isolated, frozen in time in the northern corner of the country.”
-Patrick Connelly

“Thanks to the outstanding price of the program and the scholarships that I received, I have been able to get outside of the city and partake in three weekend excursions separate from that of the entire group. For our first free weekend, I went with five of my friend to El Valle. In El Valle, we hiked to see a beautiful 85-kilometer-high waterfall, relaxed in the nature hot springs, and rode horses through the mountains.”
-Alex L. Riedinger

“One of my favorite memories on the trip has to be the excursion to visit the Emberá Tirbe, one of the indigenous tribes of Panama. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d take a ride in a dug out canoe to an indigenous village to meet with a tribal leader and his community. Until now, that was only something I would have seen on the Discovery Channel.”
-Shane E. Bender

“During my time in Panama, I have found that the study abroad program has been very well designed, with many unique cultural experience included, and at the same time allows each student to customize the trip to best fulfill their own desires for the trip.”
-James Hunt 

“The natural beauty of Panama cannot be described in words. The trip to different parks and experiences in the rainforest are unforgettable. One of the most memorable experiences was when a group of friends and I went to El Valle, a small mountain town northwest of Panama City. The place was so peaceful, and everywhere you went there were mind-blowing natural wonders like mountains and flowers and all the greenery that made you feel as though you had reached the Garden of Eden. There we rode horses onto a weathered trail, hiked up rocks to see an amazing waterfall, and zip-lined over rainforest canopies and rivers. It was an experience I will never forget. I realize that you don’t get to see so much beauty everywhere you go, and I will always cherish those memories.”
-Abby Watkins

“This trip has allowed me to view the world differently and also appreciate what I have. While in Panama I have been able to see first-hand how different but at the same time how similar people are. Although Spanish is not my first language and at times I struggled to communicate with the people, for fist time in my life I didn’t feel as if I was the minority.”
-Ashlee M. Downs

“This trip has been such a cathartic experience. Never have I had the opportunity to learn so much about others, and about myself.”
-Jordan Andrew

“The most significant aspect of my experience here has been experiencing the racial diversity here and how it contrasts to that of the United States. In Panama, the majority of the population comes from a diverse ethnic background, which makes for a colorful variety of people. I can especially appreciate this because as an African-American, in my home country I am a minority; however, in Panama I am one of the majority. On numerous occasions Panamanians have approached me and began speaking to me as if I was a native, because I blend in so well here.”
-Shellese Shemwell

“Upon my arrival in Panama I was overwhelmed with culture. It is wonderful to see people who not only love their families but also love where their family is from. While driving to the hotel I noticed the taxis displaying the Panamanian flag with pride. I heard the music, the laughter, and the satisfaction; the Panamanians love their country. I have been to many countries, but none have been as friendly and welcoming as the Panamanians.”
-Slidana M. Holthouser

“The past month has been the experience of my lifetime for me. I have learned an incredible amount of knowledge from my communication class, Panamanian culture class, and about myself. The professors on this trip have been wonderful and they have tough me more than I could have imagined. I did not know what to expect coming in to this trip and I have been pleasantly surprised with all of my experiences.”
-Kevin Klare 

“Using my first time traveling outside of the U.S. to study abroad has increased my knowledge of another culture and what it’s like to experience it. We have definitely incorporated learning with fun and it has been an awesome way to spend 30 days.”
-Alma C. Awkard

“Arriving in Panama, I was amazed to find so many high rise buildings. I knew that Panama was a center for economic and service related industries, but it never occurred to me that I would see an image of New York City in front of me. Panama is not a country of pure Hispanic people, rather a mosaic of African, Chinese, Indian, Indigenous, Italian, German, Hispanic, Asian, and North American people. Each group has been able to maintain their traditions and culture.”
-Mary J. Santos

“I hope that the trip to Panama never stops. There is something extraordinarily special about the University of Louisville in Panama. There is a connection there, a bond that flourishes and a feeling of complete euphoria that people can only feel there. I don’t have to tell you I didn’t want to leave, but you have to go to see it with your own eyes to understand.”
-Michael G. Simon, Jr.

“I have truly learned so much through the classes about this culture and will personally recommend this program to any student that might be interested. I have been outside the country many times, but this will be at the top of my list.”
-Will Colvin

“The people in Panama, the experience, and discovering new things about myself have truly shaped how I view my life and how I will continue to pursue my dreams and goals. Realizing that today is a new day and that tomorrow will be dealt with tomorrow is a covenant of how Panamanians live their life and I will continue to emulate that in my daily life. There is really no comparison to how this trip has changed my life.”
-Lauren D. Taylor

“After visiting Panama I have realized that to truly learn a second language, it is absolutely necessary that one be immersed in it and the culture it involves. I am grateful because this trip has provided me with this wonderful opportunity. I couldn’t be more grateful for what I have learned about Spanish language and culture.”--Brittny Schadler