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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Housing Options: Homestay Minimum GPA: 2.5
Click here for a definition of this term Areas of Study: Anthropology, Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Hispanic Studies, Independent Study, Interdisciplinary Design, Latin American Studies, Marine Science, Sciences, Social Policy & Administration, Zoology Program Type: Study Abroad
Language of Instruction: English, Spanish Click here for a definition of this term Class Year: 2. Sophomore, 3. Junior, 4. Senior
Program Features: Independent Field Research
Program Description:

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Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation

Explore rain forests, coral reefs, highland canopies, and coastal mangroves as you study tropical conservation and ecology in one of the world’s most ecologically diverse countries.

Program Highlights

  • Study in one of the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems in the world.
  • Engage in seven weeks of travel and field study in Panama and Costa Rica and visit world-renowned research institutions, including the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and EARTH University.
  • Hike the highland ecosystems and lowland rain forests while living in local communities.
  • Conduct extensive fieldwork in mangrove forests, threatened seagrass beds, and pristine coral reefs.
  • Live in Panama’s vibrant capital and largest city.
  • Conduct four weeks of independent, original field research on a topic of your choice. 

Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.

Independent Study

During the final four weeks of the program, you can choose to use your new language and cultural skills and the academic knowledge you have acquired to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) on a topic of interest to you. Typically, research projects are conducted in cloud forest highlands, coral reefs, lowland forests, mangroves, rural villages, indigenous communities, or other places appropriate to the topic.

Samples topics:

  • Rain forest dynamics
  • Tropical forest diversity
  • Regeneration of canopy emergents in primary forests
  • Mammal conservation
  • Sustainable fisheries
  • Coral reef organisms
  • Mangrove health

Key Topics of Study

  • Tropical forest dynamics
  • Neotropical mammal and amphibian ecology, coral reef organisms, and avian diversity
  • Marine and coastal ecosystem connectivity
  • Ecological field research methods and methodology
  • Carbon, climate change, and resource use, including indigenous resource use
  • Contemporary socio-environmental issues shaping the tropics
  • Explore controversial conservation topics including hydroelectric dams, sustainable agriculture, indigenous resource use, protected areas, environmental services, and ecotourism.

Money Matters

Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.  

SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:

All educational costs, including educational excursions

  • All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
  • Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
  • Health and accident insurance

Scholarships

  • SIT awards nearly $1.6 million in scholarships and grants annually.
  • All scholarships and grants are need-based.
  • Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.  
  • The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program. 
  • Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.

Contact SIT Study Abroad





Further information about SIT Panama specific to Wheaton College students

Wheaton College is committed to providing students with opportunities to broaden their understanding and vision beyond the borders of this campus and this country. We work in collaboration with carefully selected partner institutions around the world to support our students as they prepare to study abroad and while they are overseas. Students must apply to Wheaton's Center for Global Education as well as the institution through which they plan to study abroad. The most up-to-date information can be found on the program provider's website above.       

Courses & Credits:
Students enroll in four to five courses each semester. 15 to 16 U.S. semester hours will earn 4.0 Wheaton credits. Independent Study Projects and/or Internships must be individually approved for credit at Wheaton. Do not assume your project or internship is automatically approved. 

Housing & Meals:
Students spend much of their experience in home-stays; when traveling they will be housed in guesthouses, educational institutions, hostels, or small hotels depending on local conditions and customs. All meals are provided by home-stay families, group meals or stipends. 

Budget Information:
Students studying abroad will continue to pay Wheaton tuition. Students are not charged Wheaton room and board, or the Wheaton technology, laundry, or student activities fees while on a study abroad program. Wheaton will, in turn, pay the program for all tuition and academic fees. Additionally, Wheaton will cover the cost of the program international insurance or sign students up, and pay, for CISI international insurance for the duration of the study abroad program.

Students will pay housing directly to their study abroad program. Some study abroad programs include meal plans while others do not offer meal plans and students will shop for and prepare their meals independently. Students will book and pay for their own flights.

Fees billed by Wheaton will be charged to students on their regular Wheaton College student account during regular billing cycles (July/December). 

Federal, state, Wheaton need-based and merit scholarships will be applied to these charges for Wheaton-approved programs. Students must consult with the Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) for a comprehensive review of their aid. If a student receives aid beyond the cost of Wheaton tuition, they can request a refund through SFS.

Please do your research as housing and meal costs vary greatly from program to program. This Budget Worksheet can help you estimate the total costs of your program. Refer to your SIT program website for an overview of all anticipated expenses.

Scholarships:
SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. SIT also awards scholarships to Posse Scholars. See the SIT website for more available scholarships. 
                     
For Wheaton specific questions contact:                                                                                     
Center for Global Education
5  Howard Street
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766-2322
globaled@wheatoncollege.edu
508-286- 4950

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2022 10/01/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.