SFS-Panama: Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies

Program Details

Program Location Bocas Town, Panama
Sponsor School for Field Studies
Program Type Co-sponsored
Course # SA 35011
Duration Semester
Upcoming Program Dates
Spring 2023 01/27/23 to 05/09/23
Current Program Dates
Fall 2022 09/02/22 to 12/13/22
Page Links
Click here to apply for this program!
Please Note: Due to COVID-19, programs may be altered or adapted with little notice

Overview

Put tropical paradise in perspective. Spend a semester in the dynamic community of Bocas del Toro, where you will experience everything from underwater ecosystems to rich green rainforests. Go behind the scenes of this “paradise” as you study the impacts of tourism and development on the unique habitats of this island system. Evaluate local and national environmental policies and study the principles of sustainability and conservation as part of an in-depth field research project.
  • Snorkel in the waters of the archipelago to explore coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds as you study sea stars, turtles, rays, dolphins, and schools of tropical fish
  • Visit the Pacific coast and the mountains of Boquete: Explore the Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park, take a canopy walk through cloud forest, and tour a sustainable coffee farm
  • Spend a day in Ngäbe communities: Speak with local Indigenous leaders, visit a women’s co-op, and take a forest walk with a local guide
  • Conduct a comprehensive field research project: Develop a research question, collect and analyze data, write a paper, and present your findings.
For more program information, please visit the program website. This program is sponsored by:School for Field Studies.

Eligibility

The program is open to Purdue students who have completed at least two semesters of university study by the start of the program. Successful candidates will demonstrate academic success, maturity and a desire to experience another culture. 

Prerequisite: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science.

 

GPA Requirement: 2.8 on a 4.0 scale
Language Requirement: none


Purdue Credit

Direct Credit available from the following: [College of Agriculture] [College of Liberal Arts]

Students interested in completing courses while abroad from Purdue colleges or departments that are not listed above should discuss this with their study abroad advisor before applying to the program.


Academic Program

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:

  • Climate change impacts
  • Rainforest and marine ecology
  • Indigenous tourism and sustainability
  • Marine protected areas
  • Conservation and natural resource management
  • Ecosystem health assessments
  • Tourism impacts on ecosystems and human populations

All students take three 4-credit disciplinary courses, one 2-credit language and culture course, and a 4-credit capstone Directed Research course. Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to foster inquiry and active learning. Each course combines lectures, field exercises, assignments, tests, and research. All courses are taught in English.

Please see SFS website for full course descriptions and syllabi.


Excursions

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 and cloud forests in the Chiriquí Highlands, 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.

Housing

The Center, once a beachfront hotel, lies among the slender palms and warm waters of Isla Colón. You’ll take your classes over the waves of the Caribbean and among the surrounding rainforests and reefs. The laidback tourist hub of Bocas Town is a short taxi ride away, with access to shops, restaurants, and a vibrant culture that is as unique as the mix of people who live here.
  • Dorm living in 4-person bunkrooms
  • Classroom on a sheltered dock above the ocean
  • Air-conditioned student lounge, lab, and staff offices
  • Casual al-fresco dining area, and on-site cooking staff
  • Swimming pool, kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling
  • Volleyball, spikeball, and beachfront hammocks

Estimated Program Costs

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss. 

Students should carefully note what costs need to be paid to Purdue University or to a co-sponsor or agency, and what costs need to be paid at the overseas study location.  This will vary by program.

The program fee includes: tuition, all meals, local travel, and class-related excursions.

Costs for this program are estimated and subject to change. The cost figures listed below are for: Spring 2023

Costs per semester to be billed by Purdue and Co-sponsor
Program Fee $18,650.00
Study Abroad Fee $914.10
Housing $4,950.00
Purdue International Insurance (per month) $32.00

Approximate additional costs per semester
To be paid by the student.
Round-trip Airfare $700.00
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses $0.00 - $2,990.00
Travel Documents (passport, photos) $175.00

Financial Aid

SFS offers many scholarships and/or 0% interest loans (no FAFSA form required). Please see the SFS website for more details.

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.


Application Deadlines

For full consideration, students must submit all supporting documents before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline.  To insure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an online application, a My Study Abroad account is created. Applicants should consult this page often to check on the status of the application.

Program Application Deadline
Most Fall Semester Programs Mar 1
Most Spring Semester Programs Sep 15



Returnees Information

Click below to search for Purdue students who have participated in this program and are willing to be contacted.  If you get no results, you can use the search form to find people who studied in the country you are interested in.


Resources

The websites listed below contain information about this program. The accuracy of information at external sites cannot be guaranteed.


For more information on this program, please contact the Study Abroad Office by phone (765) 494-2383 or email studyabroad@purdue.edu.