summer session I


Tourism and Tropical Island Ecosystems


This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. 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:

  • Ecosystem health assessment
  • Biodiversity observations
  • Impacts of tourism on island ecosystems and human livelihoods
  • Approaches to sustainable tourism


On the Tourism and Tropical Island Ecosystems 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 each course to view a description and download the syllabus

SFS 3000 Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices 4 credits

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: terrestrial and marine observation and surveying, tourism SWOT analysis, research design, interview methods, assessment of local tourism providers, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and Spanish language skills.

Field Sites

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

Spend your summer with SFS!

Get more out of your SFS experience when you take back-to-back summer sessions. More time to explore the ecosystems and communities, more time to learn about complex environmental issues, and more time to build practical skills. Each summer session focuses on a different topic, and you’ll have time to travel independently between sessions.

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All program components are subject to change.