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2009

7th Annual Study Abroad Program in Panama

Program Director: Professor Berta Calvert

“In a journal entry I turned in during the course of my studies abroad, I declared this trip to Panama ‘The best decision I’ve ever made.’  The trip is filled with excitement and hands-on learning about a new culture.  The things we went over in class went hand-in-hand with the things we experienced while doing our own excursions outside of the classroom.  I found this to be very interesting because there aren’t many occasions where the class lesson will literally be applied to real-life situations the same day.”
-Rachel Baptiste

“My experiences in Panama have been unlike any other.  I had never dreamt that one day I would be spending my summer days in a Panamanian market, bargaining and practicing my Spanish as best I could, but a month of my time has been well spent and I cannot think of any other way I would have liked to have invested it.”
-Aleah Bickett

“One event that impacted me was the visit to the ‘Museo Afroantillano de Panama’.  As a Pan-African Studies Major, it was amazing to find a place where I could receive some information on African influence here in Panama.  Going and talking to some of the people in the museum has sparked an interest in researching more abroad.  Hopefully I will get the opportunity to travel and discover more African influence worldwide.”
-Whitney Franklin

“I enjoyed the opportunity of traveling and studying in a foreign country.  The ability to provide opportunities to students that can educate them in the classroom as well as in life experiences is an attribute to any university.  I am proud to be a graduate of the University of Louisville and to have the opportunities I have had with the organization to broaden my horizons on an educational level and a personal level.”
-Tamara Jackson

“I had no problem getting adjusted to school here.  I felt like I was home in Louisville at the University of Louisville.  The facilities, the help and the teachers are superb.  Everyone here is so courteous and helpful that I have had no problem.  The classes that I took here were exactly what I expected.  What I really liked is how much the classes related to every day experience.  We were basically put into another culture every day.  And the classes we took really helped me adjust my ways of living to the culture here.  It made me look at the Panamanian culture in a very insightful way.  When I didn’t understand customs or needed explanation on certain Panamanian customs, it was very nice to come into class the next day and ask the teachers.”
-Samyu Kemparajurs

“The most exiting part of this trip was all the activities planned for us that we attended, especially the Panama Canal.  Before visiting this museum I had little understanding of the significance to the Canal.  I was so amazed by how important it was not only for the world but how critical this economically for Panama.  Of course I could have read about this online, or bought a book to see pictures of the size of the boats that sailed through, but seeing this happen is an experience that was much more unique to me and one that I will probably never see again.”
-Demetrius Langley

“This trip helped illustrate the rich history of Panama and the important relationship that Panama has with the United States.  While the colonization of Panama certainly affected the indigenous populations that were settled here, my experience has solidified the importance of preserving these cultures and continuing research with these groups.  While I considered myself respectful of different cultures before this trip, being in Panama has solidified my belief that intercultural harmony is essential for both peace and prosperity.”
-Justin Magnuson

“My experience in Panamá has been one of much growth and change.  I am an American citizen, but I am also a citizen of the world.  This is reinforced every time I travel, and it certainly has held true on our trip to Panamá.  I am still an independent soul with an open mind and an open heart, but there are things that happened in Panamá that made me realize that I am a different person, or at least a more aware person, than I was before I got on the plane to Panamá.”
-Erin McCoy

“As a Spanish minor, this trip has been very beneficial to me.  My conversational skills in the language have greatly improved, which is an element that would not be possible only in taking classes.  I have become much more fluent and understand more on a whole new level.  I have also gotten to experience Latin American culture.  I was immersed in it.”
-Katlyn McGraw

“One of the most exciting cultural experiences for me was a trip to the Emberá village.  The Emberá are an indigenous people who maintain their traditional way of life in their own “comarca” or region of land given to them by the Panamanian government.  I think it is wonderful that the government recognizes the importance and cultural value of indigenous groups and respects their right to property and sovereignty.  During this trip, we ate a typical meal prepared by the Emberá women, observed and participated in a tribal dance, and observed the traditional methods of basket-weaving, for which the Emberá are famous.”
-Laney McMurtrey

“After the month I have spent in Panama City with the University of Louisville Latin American and Latino Studies Program, I have learned a lot about the culture and diversity that exists in our world today.  Through the Introduction to Panamanian Culture class that was taught by Professor Ricardo Acosta, I learned about the music, festivals, history, indigenous groups, and food that are characteristic of Panama.  I was able to travel through the city and countryside to experience these aspects of culture first-hand.  For me, learning about culture and experiencing the culture are aspects that should go hand in hand.”
-Aakriti Mehta

“I highly recommend this program to the future of the University of Louisville undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate communities because it allows for true “field work” while ascertaining real-life, hands-on interactions with native people and not just merely learning about their culture, but living it!  Whether someone is here to study Spanish or Communication specifically, you cannot help but get a dosage of both while you are present in Panama.”
-Michael Oghia

“My favorite part of this trip was getting to learn more about the culture of Panamá.  Our Panamanian Culture class was very informative, and it was really interesting to see how what we learned in class translated into real life.  Panamá City is very different from any place in the United States, and it was wonderful to spend a full month here learning how life in Panamá works.”
-Lucy Simpson

“I had the opportunity to participate in the program and it has proven to be an opportunity of a lifetime.  Not only was I academically challenged, I was pushed to personal boundaries that had never been reached before.  While interacting within a culture that I was previously unfamiliar with, I was able to acquire knowledge about myself that was previously unknown.  I found that I am able to communicate better than previously thought and a caring and respectful person.  I had my eyes opened to a world that was unfamiliar to me and became a more open-minded person because of this.”
-Bridget Walsh

“This has been a fantastic trip and experience all together.  I would not trade any of the time that I have spent in Panama.  I feel that this was a great, safe way for me to learn more about others and to experience something that is not my own.  This has also been a very well organized and greatly designed trip and I feel that is something that should continue to be offered every year.  Anyone who takes part in this opportunity will become a better person for doing so and will learn a great deal about themselves as well as others.”
-Erin Wilkins

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