By: Ianna Gilbert

Panama
Posted: November 9, 2022
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Student Post

Letter to a Future SFS Student

Panama

SFS will grant you the opportunity to go out in the community and speak with the locals, participate in volunteer programs, and snorkel in the beautiful waters of the Atlantic. The onus is on you to take advantage of the opportunities you have.

Dear Future student,

Have you ever completed a midterm exam in the forest? SFS Tropical Island Biodiversity grants students the opportunity to take learning outside the 4 walls of a classroom and into the field. Your classroom will no longer be in an atmosphere where your professor facilitates a boring lecture. Rather, sometimes your class will be in the forest, at a hotel, or even on the vacation island of Zapatillas! Don’t worry, you will be learning! The activities students participate in are selected with the intention of improving understanding in both natural and social sciences.

Each day of your SFS experience will be filled with some sort of adventure. Spending much of your time with your cohort will foster close connections – many that will last after the completion of the program. Some of my most memorable experiences took place with my peers. Whether it be discussing the lovely rats in the New York subway system, singing songs at the top of our lungs to and from field trips, visiting Bocas town, interacting with the locals, riding in taxis… the list goes on. You will have a great time with your cohort.

During your journey, you will see breathtaking sights. If possible, bring a camera to document your experiences. You don’t have to leave campus to observe magnificent wildlife. There are monkeys climbing in the trees above the pool, iguanas hanging out next to the classroom, and lizards falling from the ceiling!

The most important piece of advice I will give you is to make the experience uniquely YOURS. SFS will grant you the opportunity to go out in the community and speak with the locals, participate in volunteer programs, snorkel in the beautiful waters of the Atlantic and more. The onus is on you to take advantage of the opportunities you have. If you would like more time in the water, head over to Panama diving school and register to get your scuba diving certification. If you would like to practice more Spanish, challenge yourself and try to engage with the locals using your Spanish skills. This is your chance to explore life outside the classroom. Take chances to appreciate what Bocas has to offer and enjoy!

Ianna Gilbert
Class of 2024


(Zapatillas Dos Island – Photo by Ianna Gilbert)


(Coral and sponges present in the Atlantic Ocean – Photo by Ianna Gilbert)

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Curious about the SFS Panama Center? Click here to read about why we’re based there, our environmental research focus, how we connect and support the local community, and even take a tour of the Center.


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