Located in the heart of the Americas, Panama has long been one of the most influential nations in the western hemisphere. Ever since the construction of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century it has developed steadily into a diverse and multicultural country with influences coming from all over the globe; it has also become one of the most highly developed countries in all of Latin America. Embarking on a high school program abroad in Panama is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a beautiful country while undertaking an enriching educational adventure.
Panama is located in the dead center of the continental divide and is bordered by Colombia to the south, Costa Rica to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The country is relatively small, with a population nearing just 4 million citizens. Still, because of the strategic importance of the Panama Canal, the nation remains a very prominent player within the American landscape.
Panama City, which is built on the Pacific mouth of the Panama Canal, is the country’s capital, largest city, and is called home by nearly half of Panama’s population. While Panama City was founded roughly 500 years ago, today it consists mostly of high rise buildings and boasts a very modern infrastructure. A high school program abroad in Panama City will expose you to one the most globally influential and culturally diverse cities in all of Latin America.
Other potential destinations where you can embark on a high school program abroad in Panama include Boquete and Bocas del Toro, both smaller destinations where you can have a much more intimate experience of Panamanian culture away from the big city. Some high school programs will also take you travelling across several different locations throughout Panama and Central America.
High School Programs in Panama
There are many different types of high school programs in Panama that you can choose to enroll in. If you are looking to obtain academic credit for an educationally-oriented trip to Panama, then you may want to begin by looking into the variety of study abroad and language immersion programs offered for high school students in the country. These programs can be a great way to gain intimate knowledge of Panama’s culture and history while learning alongside peers from all over the world.
Because it is one of the most bio-diverse countries on the planet, adventure travel programs are also quite a popular type of high school program abroad in Panama. Throughout the duration of your adventure travel experience you may engage in a variety of activities such as kayaking, trekking, and engaging in conservation efforts amid Panama’s rainforests.
Lastly, community service trips are another possible form of high school program abroad in Panama that many international students choose to embark on. Panama ranks highly on the human development index, but still many sectors of its population continue to be underserved in areas such as education, healthcare, and other social services. Environmental preservation efforts are also a popular form of volunteer work.
Scholarships & Costs
Panama is an inexpensive destination to live in for high school students coming from many industrialized countries, but program fees can still mount up while covering such costs as housing, transportation, meals, and tuition. For information on ways that you can get started covering the costs of your trip, check out our scholarship directory and fundraising page. If you work hard at it, a high school program abroad in Panama can be made affordable for everyone!
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays are generally the most popular form of housing while you are enrolled in a high school program abroad in Panama, providing a rare inlet for fully immersing yourself in Panamanian family culture. Student dormitories are also sometimes made available for study abroad programs, and adventure travel programs may make use of a variety of different accommodations ranging from hotels to camping.
International students coming from many countries will not have to obtain a visa unless they plan on staying in Panama for longer than six months. The rules are stricter regarding some nations however, so check out our Embassy Directory for more information about the Panama’s visa policy for your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Language Immersion. If you are currently studying Spanish, you will be pleasantly surprised by the degree to which your language skills soar while you are enrolled in a high school program abroad in Panama. Make an effort to speak as much Spanish as possible both in and outside of classroom settings!
Center Stage. Panama is not only the central apex connecting North and South America, it is also a country where cultural influences from around the whole planet have converged because of its geographical importance.
Personal Growth. Spending a significant amount of time in any country away from home is bound to be a tremendous growth experience, and in Panama you can be sure you will get the most out that journey.