Growing up in Maine, I always had a love of the outdoors. I chose Panama as my summer study abroad destination because I was drawn to the variety of ecosystems and opportunities that the experience seems to provide. I wanted to experience what I had seen in pictures, firsthand. Coming in, I was unsure of what to expect, but so far our adventures have been amazing and I am constantly blown away by both the biological beauty of this country, and the unique culture of the people that populate it. Although I had originally focused my interest on the biology of Panama, both water and land-based, as soon as I arrived, I came to appreciate the importance of the history of Panama’s people. After all, nature and people go hand in hand.
Photos courtesy of Anna Chahuneau
Whether it be travelling through Panama City, Venao, Boquete, or Bocas del Toro, every place offers its own unique environment and culture. If someone told me a month ago that I would be hiking through the cloud forests of Boquete, listening to members of an indigenous community speak about their livelihoods, or snorkeling the clear waters of Bocas, I would have never been able to fully understand the impact each of the experiences would have on me. Even rainy days are fun here! Hearing the tropical rain on the tin roof and the thunder grumbling in the distance… there is something mystical to it! Although these last two weeks have been exhausting, I can confidently say that they have been some of the best times of my life. The Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies program in Panama is truly an experience I will never forget!