Center for Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies

Tropical Island Ecosystems: The Human Impact

Panama
Summer Session 1
4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jun 2 - Jul 1
Closed
Program Costs
  • Tuition$5,200
  • Room & Board$1,650
  • Total$6,850
Application Deadlines
Summer 2024
April 1, 2024
Summer Session 1 Program

Tropical Island Ecosystems: The Human Impact

Bocas Del Toro Archipelago,
Panama

Study abroad in Panama and immerse yourself in the dynamic community of Bocas del Toro. Snorkel and hike through the diverse environments of Bocas – from coral reefs and mangroves to beaches and rainforests – and study human impacts, such as tourism, on the island’s ecosystems and communities. Meet the local residents who depend on both tourism and natural resources and learn about current approaches to sustainable development in the archipelago.

  • Enjoy the Caribbean Sea as your backyard – work, study, snorkel, and live at our island campus. 
  • Travel extensively around the islands of Bocas del Toro – above and below the water -encountering mangroves, rainforests, coral reefs, seagrass beds, and agroforestry fincas. 
  • Explore the intricacies of contemporary tourism in Bocas del Toro – wildlife tourism, adventure tourism, Indigenous tourism, and others – and the intersections of conservation, economy, and culture. 

Academics

This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. Each program combines theory learned during classroom sessions with field-based applications. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Panama.

Major academic themes include:

  • Biodiversity and ecosystem health assessments
  • Rainforest and marine ecology
  • Indigenous tourism and sustainability
  • Tourism impacts on ecosystems and human populations
  • Marine protected areas

Courses

On the Tropical Island Ecosystems: The Human Impact program, you will take one 4-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.

Click on the
to view a description and download the syllabus.
SFS 3000
Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices
4 credits
SFS 3000

Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices

4 credits

This course introduces students to the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Bocas del Toro and the challenges presented by a growing reliance on tourism for economic development in this part of the Caribbean. Students evaluate the impact of tourism on the natural environment and engage with local stakeholders to determine how the tourist industry affects—positively or negatively—social, cultural, and political dynamics within the archipelago. Sustainable practice is a major lens of inquiry during this course. Students will assess the balance between the conservation of the region’s natural resources and economic opportunities for local communities.

View Syllabus

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: habitat and biodiversity assessment, underwater surveying with transects and quadrats, tourism SWOT analysis, basic Spanish language skills, interview methods, and quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include coral reefs, tropical rainforests, coastal forests and beaches, Indigenous Ngöbe communities, island ecosystems, coffee farms, the Caribbean Coral Restoration Center, Panama City and the Panama Canal, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows, marine protected areas, banana farms and other agricultural operations, riverine ecosystems, and the vibrant small-town community of Bocas.


Other Panama Programs

Semester

Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies

15 Weeks
18 Credits
Spring 2024
Jan 30 - May 10
In the Field
Fall 2024
Sep 4 - Dec 15
Filling Fast
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$22,000
  • Room & Board$5,000
  • Total$27,000
Summer Session 1

Tropical Island Ecosystems: The Human Impact

4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jun 2 - Jul 1
Closed

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$5,200
  • Room & Board$1,650
  • Total$6,850

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