Final Impressions of SFS Panama

Posted: December 6, 2013

What did you like most about the SFS experience?
My favorite part of the SFS experience was forming close relationships with a bunch of amazing students and getting to learn in a tropical paradise every day. Also being able to go jump in the Caribbean whenever I wanted was incredible.

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
Panama is made up of a bunch of individual communities. The part we are in, Bocas del Toro, has a lot of pride for both their culture and their country. In terms of my surroundings, this is one of the most gorgeous environments to live in.

What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
Life at the field station is a lot easier than I thought it would be. The most challenging part is having personal space because we have twenty one people living in a small two-story inn. The best part of the field station is that we are five feet from the kitchen, a hundred feet to the class room, and a hundred yards from the Caribbean.

What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
The biggest challenges of this semester was communicating with the locals, both on our island and in Bocas town, and focusing on schoolwork instead of the environment around me.

What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
Most of my best memories from this semester are from just hanging out at the Center, playing board games and watching movies. Another amazing memory is from when we went to the Zapatilla Keys to interview tourists and snorkel at the reef there. We spent the day walking around on a beautiful beach and trying to speak Spanish to tourists from all over the world, who barely spoke Spanish themselves. Then we got to go snorkeling around a stunning protected reef.

Give three adjectives that best describes how you are feeling right now.
Fulfilled, bittersweet, blissful