Summer in Panama

Applications for the Summer 2024 program are now closed. 


Please contact with any questions about the program or application process. If we cannot answer your question directly, we will forward it to the appropriate member of our faculty or staff. 


Program Overview

Summer in Panama is a 5-week study abroad experience open to undergraduates in all years and majors. With course offerings in both English and Spanish, the program enables participants to delve into Panama's colonial past, vibrant present, and uncertain future as they experience the country’s cultural, economic, and natural diversity.

Students live and study in Ciudad del Saber, a research institute and residential space occupying a former U.S. military base in the Canal Zone outside of Panama City. Located approximately 10km outside Panama City, the campus has regular bus service to Albrook Terminal, Panama City's main transportation hub. Students can also easily hire an Uber to take them to and from the city. In addition to enrolling in two courses (see details below), students participate in regular cultural activities and workshops led by the nation's foremost scholars, creators, and leaders. Weekends present opportunities to explore the country through excursions to points of historical, cultural, or economic significance, such as Panama Viejo and the Casco Antiguo; an Emberá village; Colón, Portobelo, and the beaches of Isla Grande; and, of course, the Panama Canal.

Orientation ManualItinerary



About Panama

Panama serves as the crossing point of the western hemisphere, bridging North and South America and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. With 29,157 square miles, it is slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina and encompasses islands, beaches, mountains, rivers, and lowlands. Its tropical climate means that average daily temperatures rarely drop below 78 degrees Fahrenheit, even at the highest elevation. The country is known for its biodiversity; its 986 recorded bird species, for instance, surpasses the number found in the entire United States.  

Panama’s natural diversity is complemented by its cultural diversity. The majority of the population identifies as mestizo, but there are also significant Indigenous, African-descendant, and Aisian-descendant communities.  Panama recognizes seven Indigenous ethnic groups (Guna, Teribe, Buglé, Ngäbe, Naso, Emberá and Wounaan), who maintain their languages and cultural practices. The afro-Panamanian population combines the descendants of those brought to the region as slaves in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries with immigrants from the West Indies, who immigrated primarily to work on canal construction in the early twentieth century. This massive engineering project also brought immigrants from other regions, particularly China.  

The Panama Canal, completed in 1914, has played a decisive role in shaping Panamanian culture and history. The U.S. controlled the Canal Zone from 1903 through 1999, when Panama regained full sovereignty of the territory within its borders. As a result, English remains a widely taught and spoken language. Panama was also the first nation to adopt the U.S. dollar as an official currency in 1904. Today, most transactions take place in U.S. currency and the value of the local Balboa, which is issued only in coins, is pegged to that of the dollar. The Canal still plays a critical role in the Panamanian economy, which is primarily driven by the service sector, particularly finance and trade.  


About Ciudad del Saber 

Fundación Ciudad del Saber is a non-profit organization founded in 1993, when a group of Panamanian leaders came together with the idea to create a “Socratic forum” in the former Panama Canal Zone. Its mission is to “be an innovative community that drives social change through humanism, science, and business.” The FCDS campus inhabits 120 hectares of the former US military base Fort Clayton and houses businesses, innovation incubators, non-profit organizations, governmental and parastatal entities, and institutions of higher learning. It provides a vibrant environment for students to live and learn among an international community of change makers.  

A Look at Ciudad del Saber:
A Look at Facilities and Services at Ciudad del Saber:
Living and Learning During Summer in Panama 2022:



Students must enroll in two (2) courses, each worth 3 credits. Courses meet Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays according to the following schedule. Workshops and cultural activities will take place on Wednesdays and during the evenings.
Required Course
LAST 3130: Society and Culture in Panama (English; SPAN 3350 Credit available)

Additional Courses (Choose 1)
PSDV 3200: Development Issues and Strategies in Panama (English)
SPAN 3130 or 4130: Topics in Latin American Literature (Spanish)


Housing and Meals

Students live in double-occupancy rooms in the Ciudad del Saber dormitories, which feature a twin bed and desk for each student, television, small refrigerator, lockbox, bedding and towels, private bathroom, private balcony and access to a shared kitchenette on each floor. All have wifi access Weekday breakfasts (M-F) are included in the program costs.
While enrolled in the program, students will enjoy the full range of amenities available at the Ciudad del Saber complex. The compound features a food court with a variety of meal options, as well as on-site bars, restaurants, and various stores. Additionally, students will have access to recreational facilities including a park, gym, pool, and sports fields (equipment rental not included in program price).


Program Cost: $6,800

Tuition: $3,300

Housing and Logistics Fee: $3,500

Program price includes 6 Tulane credits, GeoBlue international medical insurance, housing,  transportation to/from airport, some group meals, all costs associated with group excursions.

Program price does NOT include airfare to/from Panama, passport/visa expenses, most meals, vaccinations, laundry, and other incidentals.


Financial Aid

Summer in Panama will offer a limited number of partial scholarships on a needs basis. Students will have the opportunity to opt in to consideration during the application process. No separate scholarship application is necessary.

Students may also check out this chart of opportunities for undergraduate funding across Tulane's campus. 


Registration and Billing

All registration will be processed by CCSI staff. Students will initially be enrolled in one 3-credit Latin American Studies placeholder course, used for billing purposes only. They will be enrolled in their respective culture and language courses after orientation.

Tuition and fees are charged to student accounts in the late Spring. Students are responsible for making sure that the bill is paid in full according to the policies outlined on the Accounts Receivable website. Students can access their accounts through the Gibson Portal.


Refund and Cancelation Policy

If a student cancels their reservation in the program less than 60 days prior to the Program start date, Tulane will charge a cancellation fee according to the following Cancellation Fee Schedule.

  • Withdrawal or cancellation from 31 to 59 days prior to the Program start date - the cancellation fee is $500 plus all non-recoverable costs.
  • Withdrawal or cancellation from 1 to 30 days prior to the Program start date - the cancellation fee is 50% of the published Program fee or the total amount of non-recoverable costs, whichever is higher.
  • Tulane will be entitled to retain the entire Program fee for withdrawals or cancellations occurring on or after the Program start date.


Accessibility and Accommodations

Tulane University is committed to making all its programs accessible to all students. Persons requiring special facilities should notify the CCSI Personnel as soon as possible. All effort will be made to accommodate them, but students should be aware that reasonable accommodation may be required.


Medical Insurance and Travel Emergency Assistance 

CCSI enrolls students in a comprehensive study abroad medical insurance policy provided by GeoBlue. This insurance is included in the cost of the program. 

Tulane provides students with travel emergency assistance through Crisis24. Information about this program is available through the Tulane Global website.


Applicant Eligibility 

Both Tulane and non-Tulane undergraduate students are encouraged to apply. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.5 and have completed the equivalent of 2 semesters of Spanish (SPAN 1010/1012 OR SPAN 1120). They must hold a passport valid for at least six months following the program end date. 


Application Materials 

Application available through the Tulane Study Abroad portal.  


  • General Student Information
  • Current Official Transcript
  • Personal Statement (approx. 250-350 words)
  • One faculty recommendation (Students taking Spanish-language courses are encouraged to submit a letter from a Spanish professor.)
  • Proof of Valid Passport
  • Proof of Covid-19 Vaccination
  • Copy of Student ID Card 


Application Deadline: March 1, 2024 


If you have questions or would like more information, contact CCSI:  

Phone: (504) 862 - 8629
100 Jones Hall, Tulane Uptown Campus