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Fact Sheet:
Language(s) in which classes are available:
English Max credits offered: 3
Program Type: VT faculty-led Areas of Study: Ecology, Environmental Studies, Fisheries Science, Forestry, Natural Resource Conservation, Sustainability
College Sponsor: *Open to All Majors, CNRE
Program Description:

cals panama

panama map 

Field(s) of Study

Sustainability, Natural Resources, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Agriculture


Additional Information

Virginia Tech course, VT Faculty led, VT credit (3 cr.)

Itinerary Information

Days 1 - 3: Panama City where we will be staying in the canal zone. Learn about the history and economic importance of the canal. We will visit the Canal and the old Spanish Quarters (Casco Viejo) and will spend a day at the Embara village.

Day 4: Travel to the field station in the Cocobola nature reserve. Orientation and lectures.

Day 5: Hike through the rain forest with local guides, visit waterfalls, set up cameras in the forest. Assist with wildlife inventories and GPS mapping. with local scientists.

Day 6: Work with researchers with mist netting, wildlife inventories, and wildlife cameras.

Day 7: Tropical forest exercise / tree mapping. Service learning (working on the farm, tree planting, etc.)

Day 8: Visit subsistence farms and nearby villages. Meet families and participate in farm activities. Hike to the river for a swim.

Day 9: Pack up and travel by road and boat to Kuna Yala (the San Blas Islands). Learn about the history, culture and modern challenges facing this indigenous group. Sleep in huts on Kuna Yala.

Day 10-11: Visit other remote islands by boat. Snorkel and enjoy.

Day 12: Return to Panama City. Wrap up session and dinner on the Causeway.


Panama City & San Blas
Wintermester, Jan. 1 – 13, 2018

Issues in Sustainability and Natural Resource Management in Panama

This two-week faculty-led program in Panama explores the Global Issues related to natural resource conservation.

You will learn about:
  • Tropical forest ecology;
  • Natural resource management and conservation issues;
  • Indigenous cultures in the Autonomous San Blas Region;
  • The impact of climate change on tropical environments and cultures;
  • Local, regional, international impacts of tropical deforestation;
  • Latin American history and culture;
  • Agricultural practices and related issues in developing countries;
  • Incredible landscapes, unique ecosystems, biodiversity;
  • Field work, data collection, & more.

Why Panama?

Panama is a beautiful country with a diverse array of landscapes and ecosystems. It hosts remote and spectacular rain forests, river gorges, water falls, volcanoes, fertile agricultural areas, coral reefs, pristine remote island archipelago's and tree covered highlands. Panama also is home to indigenous groups, including the Embara and the Kuna. Gain an understanding of how these people attempt to embrace their cultures and traditions, while also welcoming new ideas and change. Panama is rich in history, & serves as a global economic engine via the Panama Canal.

For more information about the program, please visit the college website.


No prerequisites; open to all majors. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Contact faculty program leader for exceptions.


Participants will earn 3 semester hours of Virginia Tech academic credit.


Click the "Apply Now" to begin an application.


Program Fee

The program fee is $2,950. This includes airfare, in country transportation, travel insurance, housing, & all meals while in Panama. A $500 non-refundable deposit is required. The deposit is due after acceptance into the program and should be payable to the “Treasurer of Virginia Tech” at the Bursar’s office. This deposit will be applied to the program fee ($2,950).
The program fee does not include: Wintermester tuition and associated tuition-related fees (see the Bursar's website for Winter tuition & fee rates, passport fees, immunization fees, & day to day ‘spending money’.

University Tuition & Fees

Tuition and university fees are billed separately from the program fee according to University Bursar policy. 3 credit hours of tuition + fees will be billed by the University Bursar. See here for credit hour rates for the appropriate term:

Contact Information

John McGee,
VT, Dept. FREC
307C Cheatham Hall,
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-2428

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2018 09/28/2018 ** Rolling Admission 01/06/2019 01/19/2019

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