NOTE: SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, SIT may have to modify programs. Visit the SIT website for more details.
Explore rain forests, coral reefs, highland canopies, and coastal mangroves as you study tropical conservation and ecology.
WHY STUDY TROPICAL ECOLOGY IN PANAMA?
Panama has some of the world’s most biodiverse and complex ecosystems, from highland cloud forests to Caribbean coral reefs. You’ll conduct seven weeks of field studies in five unique settings in Panama and Costa Rica and visit world-renowned research institutions. You will learn how to observe forest dynamics, check water and soil quality, and measure bird, amphibian, and insect diversity.
In Panama City, one of the leading bases for international NGOs and the United Nations, you’ll explore conservation topics such as sustainable agriculture, indigenous resource use, and ecotourism. You will also conduct four weeks of independent, original field research project on a topic of your choice.
Your program also includes five homestays during which you will learn about urban and rural life, experience local culture, and examine the environmental challenges these communities face.
In addition, you will develop the Spanish language skills needed to discuss ecological issues and conduct field research through classroom learning, cultural immersion, homestays, fieldwork, and excursions.
- 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.
- Hike highland ecosystems and lowland rain forests and live in local communities.
- Conduct extensive fieldwork in a wide variety of tropical and marine ecosystems.
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields, as assessed by SIT. There is no language requirement. Taking coursework in or independently studying Spanish prior to arrival is highly encouraged.
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website
for details on the program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
KEY TOPICS OF STUDY
- Tropical forest dynamics
- Neotropical mammal, marine, avian, and amphibian ecology
- Marine and coastal ecosystem connectivity
- Ecological field research methods and methodology
- Carbon, climate change, and resource use
- Contemporary socio-environmental issues shaping the tropics
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
- 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 for semester programs.
- 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
Review the Budget Sheet posted above for detailed information on costs and fees. Costs vary per term and are subject to change.
Tuition and fees for the program are set based on the host institution’s rates, and will be charged to the participant’s UNC student account. Always refer to the Budget Sheet on this page, and not the host institution’s posted rates, as it is customized for UNC students. Review the Budget Sheet for additional Cashier Billed Expenses and Out-of-Pocket Costs. The Study Abroad Office strongly encourages students to budget carefully for their time abroad.
Getting Started: Funding Study Abroad
Follow these steps to apply for this program:
- Complete the required UNC application by clicking “Apply Now” at the top of the page. If you have not done so already, create a profile to start your application.
- Follow the instructions on your UNC application to submit the supplemental application required by the partner institution.
- In order to participate in the program, both the Study Abroad Office and partner institution must accept your application. Note that decision notification timelines may differ.
A NOTE ABOUT PASSPORTS AND VISAS:
For information on requesting ARS accommodations (academic, health, and mobility concerns) for a study abroad program, contact the Advisor for Access
It is strongly recommended that students have in their possession by the application deadline a valid passport with an expiration date no earlier than 6 months after the program end date. Due to visa regulations, students should consult their Study Abroad Advisor before making international travel plans prior to the program start date. Students accepted into this program will need to travel to a Spanish consulate here in the United States, with passport in hand, to obtain a visa permitting them to study in Spain.
NOTE About Language Placement Tests:
If you are not taking Spanish at UNC but believe you have the equivalency required, please take the free UNC online language test (this is not the language placement test that you may have already taken). Send your name, PID, and email to Elizabeth Bruno (firstname.lastname@example.org). She will add you to Sakai where the test is set. You will then take the test at any time and will have 40 minutes in which to complete the test. Once you have completed the assessment test, send him the link to the Study Abroad language assessment form and he will complete that based on your results.