GIVE

In the past, our study abroad to look at agricultural issues in another country has gone to Belize. This year, however, is the first year that we are heading to Panama! During the week of spring break, our students and faculty will fly to Panama to observe the agricultural operations there and get to experience, first-hand, some of the history of the country. During the trip, participants will visit the Panama Canal, eat at some of the local restaurants, and study the culture in an immersive experience. Below is a detailed itinerary.

Itinerary

(Printable Panama Itinerary)

Friday, March 2

Arrive in Panama City

From Panama City's Tocumen International Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel overlooking the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal for in-country orientation. The hotel's location allows you to see the ships passing through the waterways of the Canal and the Bridge of the Americas.

Saturday, March 3

Experience a partial Canal transit

You will start on the Pacific entrance of the Canal and travel through all three historic locks, Bridge of the Americas, Centennial Bridge, Gatun Lake, and the famous Galliard Cut that was excavated through the Continental Divide. Emphasis on the original Canal construction and future locks will be presented. This is a full day journey that provides an interesting perspective on history as you transit this Eighth Wonder of the World.

Sunday, March 4

City tour, Miraflores Locks, Canal Musuem and wildlife viewing

In the morning, you will be picked up for a day tour of the Panama Canal corridor. Together, we will drive to the Miraflores Locks to visit the Canal Museum and watch ships transit the locks. Afterwards, we will travel to Gamboa to board a boat. You may see crocodiles, lizards, monkeys, sloths, birds and other native species in the area. The remainder of the afternoon will be spent on a walking tour of the winding cobbleston streets and enjoying the colonial architecture of the old city, Casco Viejo.

Monday, March 5

Travel west for visits to a poultry farm and pineapple plantation

On this day, we will visit a 500+ acre pineapple plantation, seeing the entire process from planting, harvesting and packaging the fruit. Later, we will visit a small-scale organic poultry farm. We will taste Panama's national soup, Sancocho, made from scratch. Jesus, the owner of the farm, also grows organic yams, otoes, vegetables and microgreens. The evening will be spent at your hotel in Playa Blanca, enjoying the pool or beach, or choosing to relax in another form.

Tuesday, March 6

Farm visits (sugarcane, cashews and cigars)

We will depart Playa Blanca and head toward the popular mountain town of Boquete. We will visit a multitude of agricultural staples of the Cocle province of Panama. 

Wednesday, March 7

Coffee and medicinal plant viewings

In the morning we will depart Boquete (rated one of the top 5 retiree destinations in the world!) and head to a small local farm. We will see medicinal gardens, a traditional baking house and a solar drying system for fruits and vegetables. We will visit a coffee plantation that will hopefully illustrate why the terraced fields of Panama are geographically favorable to produce some of the finest beans.

Thursday, March 8

Free Day!

Choose your own adventure on this day, at your own cost. You are free to remain at the resort and relax, or purchase a different excursion such as ziplining, birdwatching, hot springs, hiking, etc. These opportunities are subject to change based on availability.

Friday, March 9

Cerro Punta, "The Breadbasket of Panama"

Today we will leave Boquete and travel to the town of Cerro Punta, the breadbasket of Panama. We will see great views of the mountains and travel through the dairy industry of Bugaba. We will visit a renowned horse farm and see one of the world's largest orchid collections. This evening, we will enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the popular restaurants in town. 

Saturday, March 10

Departure

After breakfast, we will travel to the David airport for our return flight to Panama City and onward flight back to the United States.

*This itinerary is subject to change without prior approval. Please note that if a last minute cancellation occurs, a replacement technical visit of equal value will be arranged.

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FAQs

Q: What will we be studying?

A: Our program is set up to be an immersive cultural experience for our students to study agricultural issues in another country. The program is conducted by AEC faculty and encouraged for AEC students, but any student may apply and particpate in our study abroad to Panama.

Q: Is the country safe?

A: We have a contract with Thor Expeditions, a third party provider that specializes in creating academic study abroad programs in foreign countries. In addition, this contract and program has been approved through UF Legal. There are preventative risk policies in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable study abroad experience for our students.

Q: Are there any scholarships/financial aid opportunities for me?

A: Yes! The University of Florida International Center has a variety of scholarships that you may be eligible to apply for here. Additionally, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has scholarships available. You can look over the information they have on needs-based scholarships for our Global Gators here, or download the scholarship application. These scholarships are not guarunteed, but can offer some financial assistance, if awarded.

Q: What is the program cost?

A: For undergraduate students, the program fee is $2,755. For graduate students, the program fee is $3,003. This includes the cost of tuition, most in-country meals, and in-country transportation. It does not include the cost of airfare, any optional excursions you may want to participate in for the free day, or any personal items you may want to purchase. Contact Ms. Becky Raulerson (beckyraulerson@ufl.edu) or Dr. JC Bunch (bunchj@ufl.edu) for additional questions regarding cost.

Q: Will UF help me get my passport?

A: You will have to obtain your passport on your own, before departure. While you have to fill out the application, secure a photograph and cover the cost of the passport on your own, there are places available on campus to get an application and photo.

Q: Can I obtain course credit from this experience?

A: Absolutely! While there are three pre-session and two post-session meetings, you will get 3 credit hours by studying in country for nine days.

Q: Do I need to know Spanish prior to going?

A: No. Rudimentary knowledge of Spanish may help you converse with some of the locals, but you do not need any prior Spanish knowledge to participate.