Earn credits toward your degree and gain career experience while exploring the beautiful islands in the Bocas del Toro Province of Panama.
|Location||Bocas del Toro, Panama|
|Credit Type||Resident Credit|
|Sponsor||Learning Abroad Center|
|Student Type||UofM Students|
|Student Year||Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors|
|Language||No Language Prerequisite|
Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Panama's first National Marine Park, Bocas del Toro, Panama is known for its abundant ecosystems and biodiversity, and it is the perfect place for you to extend your studies, make a positive impact, and develop interpersonal and professional skills over the summer term. This program partners with local organizations, schools, and businesses in the Bocas del Toro region that will provide experiential learning opportunities with a focus on building meaningful connections around the world. For the internship, students will be placed independently at a local organization, school, or business based on personal and academic interests, and career goals.
Students will live on Isla Bastimentos, a beautiful island located in a national marine park (Parque Nacional Marinas Isla Bastimentos) and home to several indigenous communities. Internship placements will be a short boat ride away on surrounding islands.
Participants will live in dormitories at the Learning Abroad Center student center on Isla Bastimentos. The newly constructed student center houses classroom space, student dormitories (double-occupancy), shared bathrooms, kitchen and lounge space, and laundry facilities. The student center is based at Red Frog, the first lodging establishment in Panama to be Green Globe certified for sustainable practices in the tourism industry.
Most meals are not included in the program cost, however students have access to a full kitchen in the student center and a nearby grocery store. There are also many cost effective dining options in the surrounding community.
Participants will have the opportunity to spend time exploring Panama City before arriving in Bocas Del Toro. Additionally, the program will include a long weekend excursion to Costa Rica and a trip into the mountains of central Panama.
The LAC arranges an optional coordinated flight in consultation with Village Travel, a local travel agency. Group flight information will be available by the program application deadline, if not before. The program staff or homestay families will meet this flight at the airport. Information, booking, and payment are handled directly by Village Travel. Consult Village Travel’s website for information on the coordinated flight. If you make your own flight arrangements, you are required to provide the LAC with a copy of your flight itinerary. Select a roundtrip flight that has a flexible return date, since most students change their return date. Flying standby is not allowed.
A University of Minnesota instructor will be teaching the internship course, assisting with program excursions and cultural activities, and provide general student support throughout the duration of the program. Spanish language courses will be taught by local instructors.
Learning Abroad Center programs are:
|Program Type||Study Abroad Center|
|Program Level||Internship Course (3xxx); Spanish Language (1001-1004)|
Students earn 6 to 7 credits through internship and optional language program
Participate in a 6 credit internship or a 3 credit internship with a 4 credit Spanish language course. Enjoy small classes and individualized internship opportunities in a variety of fields including healthcare, sustainability, teaching, wildlife conservation, ecotourism, business, and more. The Summer Internships in Panama program is 8 weeks.
Participate in a 6 credit internship and internship course.
Participate in a 3 credit internship and internship course; Take a 4 credit Spanish language course.
Syllabus for Beginning Spanish I (PDF) FOST 1xxx (= SPAN 1001)
Syllabus for Beginning Spanish II (PDF) FOST 1xxx (= SPAN 1002)
Syllabus for Intermediate Spanish I (PDF) FOST 1xxx (= SPAN 1003)
Syllabus for Intermediate Spanish II (PDF) FOST 1xxx (= SPAN 1004)
Medical Spanish and Community Health Service FOST 3xxx (=SPAN 3404)
This is an advanced language and culture course designed to train students to achieve effective communication with Spanish-speaking patients. The course guides students to reflect on their internships in a health-related field and apply academic knowledge to work done with community health care partners in the Bocas del Toro region. It should be noted that students in this course not be involved in direct patient health care. There will be visits to health-care facilities and lectures from professionals in different areas of health care in Panama. Participants will learn specific medical vocabulary in Spanish, ask questions and provide answers in common medical situations in Spanish, conduct patient interviews, etc. in Spanish, keep a journal on their internship experience, give a final presentation on work done with community, discuss readings related to the field of health, health care and indigenous communities.
This course is offered at no additional cost on programs six weeks or longer. The Learning Abroad Center will email out registration instructions, or you may contact a program team member.
Academic internships are an excellent way to gain professional experience while becoming more immersed in Panamanian culture. Previous Spanish language coursework is not required, but more opportunities are available for students with a background in the language. Participants can expect to work about 8–15 hours per week, and will earn 3 or 6 credits through your time at the internship combined with the Internships in Panama: A Comparative Approach to the Panamanian Workforce course.
The following internship placements have been identified for the upcoming term, please note that some placements have a limited number of spots. If you do not see a placement that you are interested in, inquire at the Learning Abroad Center about the possibility of doing an internship in that field. Spanish language skills are not required for any of the following placements:
Floating Doctors interns are involved in many of the daily operations and clinics that the organization runs in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Interns assist with helping the team pack pharmacy bags for community clinics, assisting at the local nursing home, assisting with education activities with community members (such as teaching hand washing or dental hygiene), shadowing on house calls and/or patient follow up visits, scribing for the doctors, working with admin, and much more. Intern responsibilities will vary depending on Spanish language proficiency. Interns will assist with day clinics and educational activities, but will also partake in occasional three to four day overnight deployments with the Floating Doctors team to communities on islands that are an hour or more away from headquarters. Up to five placements likely available for the upcoming term.
*Floating Doctors placements will have an additional program fee.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Bocas del Toro Research Station is a research and outreach center located in the Bocas Del Toro archipelago. Interns assist with ongoing Smithsonian research projects at the station under the supervision of andin coordination with a station scientist. Up to two placements likely available for the upcoming term
Coral Restoration interns can get hands-on experience while interning with a local organization focused on improving the health of our oceans. Placements available related to marine biodiversity, propagating and growing reef building coral, or growing the online presence and social media of Coral Restortation Center.
Give and Surf works to provide sustainable empowerment to communities of Bocas del Toro, Panama, through education, self-determined community development, and positive respect of culture and traditions.
Work with local villages to establish community gardens. These gardens offer the local communities the opportunity to provide healthier food for their families, educate themselves on sustainable farming techniques, and also earn revenue by selling extra food at local markets. This placement is a good fit for those with a passion for agriculture or experience in developing community gardens.Moderate Spanish language ability is preferred but not required.
Get hands on experience leading and teaching classes for students ages 3–12. Create lesson plans, design new activities and programs. Interns may work in preschool/kindergarten classes or with after-school programs, or a mix of the two.
Share your passion for sports and recreational activities by helping to lead and plan various programs local community centers. Start a new sports league, design a teen sports clinic, and create opportunities for youth to learn new skills in a safe, fun environment. Past interns have created a swim lesson and ocean safety program, a teen girls stand up paddle mentorship program, and offered various sports clinics.
Help to expand extracurricular activity offerings throughout communities in the Bocas del Toro region. This placement provides an opportunity for the intern to share their passion for a specific skill or hobby and create a program for students. Past intern projects include: marine education program, yoga classes, photography program, English classes.
Learn the ins and outs of running a nonprofit organization by assisting with the general administration of a local nonprofit organization. Interns are involved in fundraising, volunteer recruitment, program delivery, financial planning and budgeting, and other day-to-day operations.
Work with a local nonprofit organization to help them share their stories and successes with their existing support network as well as to reach new audiences by managing and creating content for their social media accounts and exploring new social media platforms for the organization to use.
Work with a local nonprofit organization to help them share their stories about organization ongoings, volunteer participants, and the communities that they support by documenting work through photos and videos. Interns will spend time with volunteers and community members documenting projects and daily activities.
|Program Term||App Open Date||Deadline*|
|Summer 2020||Mid-May to Mid-July 2020||Mar 1|
Contact Lindsey Lahr if you are interested in applying after the deadline.
See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately one week prior to the in-person session.
Cost of Participation for Summer 2020 is estimated between the range of $7200-$8600, finalized fees are forthcoming.
The program fee includes housing, program administration, welcome and farewell meals, some additional meals on excursions, international health insurance, entrances to program-related excursions and site visits, airport transfers, and in-country transportation for all program related activities. Students must also budget for passport and passport photos, most meals, spending money, and miscellaneous living expenses.
Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.
To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:
|Center Name||TC Learning Abroad Ctr|
|Education Abroad Term||Summer 2020|
|Program Name||Summer Internships in Panama|
|Track Name||Summer Internships in Panama|
After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email toLindsey Lahr or call at 612.625.9370.
Evan: Studied in Panama Summer 2019, is a Health Services Management Major, and did an internship with Floating Doctors
Megan: Studied in Panama Summer 2018; is a Biomedical Engineering Major, and did an internship with Floating Doctors