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  • Locations: Panama City, Panama
  • Program Terms:  
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
College/School: College of Sciences and Mathematics Department/School: Geology & Geography
Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Auburn University Faculty-Led Program AU Faculty Director(s): Chandana Mitra,
Majors: ALL MAJORS Click here for a definition of this term Student Level: G-Graduate, JR-Junior, Professional, SO-Sophomore, SR-Senior
Click here for a definition of this term GPA: 2.25 (Undergraduates), 3.0 (Graduates) Applicant Restrictions: AU & Non-AU students may apply
Program Description:

Panama Spring Break Program –
Culture, Changing Environment and Climate


Explore the Panama Canal watershed from a whole new perspective!

Auburn University and the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) introduce a unique 3 credits, Spring Study Abroad Program on Climate Change and Environmental Management in the Republic of Panama. 
This course is intended to give students a general understanding of the potential impacts of climate change and climate variability on Panama´s water resources. Through a mix of lectures, hands-on laboratory exercises and field trips, students will explore direct and indirect effects of a changing climate on water resources management. Throughout the course, students will learn to use technologies and to apply cutting-edge research methodologies for the analysis and monitoring of natural and human systems affected by climate change.

The 2018 program will focus on the study of the Panama Canal Watershed. Beyond its well-known importance as a waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, this watershed supplies raw water to be treated for human consumption in the cities of Panama, Colon, Chorrera and Arraijan; about 70% of the country’s total population. It also serves water for hydroelectric energy generation at the national level. Furthermore, multiple human activities are developed along the Panama Canal Watershed, including industrial, agricultural, fishery, tourism, forestry, livestock raising among others; and it is home to different communities including indigenous groups. All these factors together make this watershed one of the most vulnerable areas of the country, susceptible to any changes in the climate, and hence a proper management is essential for its conservation.

The Culture, Environmental Management and Climate Program is a one-week spring course in which students will:

  • acquire basic knowledge and skills on the science of climate change
  • analyze trends in climatic variability and human vulnerability in Panama
  • explore direct and indirect effects of a changing climate on water resources and their managementPanama Barge
  • receive lectures and guest presentations by local experts, perform hands-on exercises and go on field trips to various sites  
At the end of the program student will:
  • have a broader understanding of environmental sustainability in Panama, present and future
  • recognize and critically analyze concepts influencing water, ecology, forest, urban management in Panama
  • apply knowledge gained from lectures, field trips on sustainability and cities, to identify problems, find solutions
  • become confident and ready to take up challenges
  • learn new ways of doing research and in-depth study of topics related to climate change and environmental management

During the 2018 Spring Program students will have the opportunity to visit (*): 
  • Casco Antiguo
  • The Panama Canal Miraflores Visitor Center
  • Gamboa Rainforest
  • The Panama Canal Environmental Economic Incentive Program
  • Soberanía National Parks 
*These sites are subject to change.

Download a copy of the Spring 2018 Course - Panama Study Abroad Flier


  • Students with at least sophomore standing
  • Minimum GPA of 2.25Group1 Panama
  • Successful candidates will demonstrate academic success, maturity and desire to experience another culture.
  • Basic Spanish proficiency is a plus but not required


  • Program Application deadline: January 1, 2018
  • Start date on location: March 10, 2018
  • Program end date: March 18, 2018


Course: GEOG 5720 / 6720 (3 credits); HONR 3087 Honors Study & Travel: Panama (3 credits)
Language of instruction: English

Download a copy
of the syllabus_PANAMA study abroad_spring 2018 


Group2 Panama

Program cost is $1,670. Students on this program will pay the Program Fee in lieu of tuition (regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency). Students will be registered for one of the courses listed above during the Spring 2018 term. In addition to regular course registration costs, students on this program will pay the program fee that includes AU international insurance, AU trip cancellation insurance, transportation within Panama, lodging, excursions, and environmental and cultural visits.

For detailed description of program costs, download a copy of the 
Estimated Student Budget

Payment Schedule: 

  • First payment of 50% of program fee appears on eBill: January 11, 2018
  • First payment of 50% of program fee due on eBill: Feb 2, 2018
  • Second payment of 50% program fee appears on eBill: February 8, 2018
  • Second payment of 50% program fee due on eBill: March 2, 2018

“I had a fantastic time with CATHALAC in Panama. I’ve studied and traveled overseas before, but I would say that this experience has been my 


favorite. The program was very well organized, particularly given that we were the first bunch. I’m truly amazed at how much I learned in such a short time span. I 

thank you folks at CATHALAC for all that you do and hopefully I will see you all again one day in beautiful Panama.” – Taylor Craft, Natural Resource Management, Auburn University, Spring 2016.
“Working with CATHALAC was a great experience because it is an international organization that is diverse within itself in all areas from nationalities to disciplines. It allows a space for everyone to contribute and provide information while learning on environmental issues. I enjoyed my time working there because I got to see how my major applied outside of the world I am used to seeing every day and it opened my eyes to new opportunities.” – Martha Santos, Ranch Management, Texas Christian University, Spring 2014. 


About Panama

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is the southernmost country of both Central America and, in turn, North America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital is Panama City.

Culture Panama

Panama has always been a crossroads between cultures, earning the nickname “melting pot”. With a population of almost 4 million people, 67% of it 

is made up of mestizos (Amerindian mixed with white) and mulattos (white mixed with black); 14% black; 10% white; and 6% Amerindian (indigenous or natives) and a 3% is made up of various ethnic backgrounds.

Apart from being home to the Panama Canal, one of the modern world wonders, and the fastest growing economy of the Central American region, Panama is gaining more recognition for its natural treasures: access to both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, pristine archipelagos and untouched jungles, all contributing to its incredible biodiversity.


The Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean, CATHALAC in Spanish, is an international organization that promotes sustainable development through applied research, education and technology transfer, on environmental issues such as integrated water resource management, climate change, climate modelling and risk management.

To know more about CATHALAC, please visit:


If you do not have a PASSPORT: Please check for the nearest local passport office and forms. Auburn Abroad recommends that you apply for a passport as soon as possible. If you already have a passport: Please check the expiration date. Passports should be valid for at least 3 months following your scheduled time abroad.

U.S. and Canadian citizens traveling by air to and from Panama must:

Panama Flag
  • Present a valid passport when entering or re-entering the United States. Panamanian law requires that travelers present a passport valid for at 
  • least three (3) months.
  • Purchase a tourist card at the airport in Panama before clearing customs or contact the issuing airline to purchase $5.00 tourist card prior to boarding plane. Tourist cards are for sale at the airport, however, we recommend making this purchase prior to arrival to minimize time at customs. The tourist card should allow a stay for up to 90 days. The tourist card is granted to citizens from Argentina, Canada, Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan and Australia, among others.
  • Present tickets or documents for return or onward travel
  • Have sufficient cash (advisable US$500 or more) and a credit card for emergencies.


All selected applicants should review travel information about Panama available from the United States Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control:

Department of State Information on Panama:

CDC Health Information on Panama:

Other recommended and useful information can be found at:



This program is currently not accepting applications.