UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Spring Break: Panama: Global Immersion Experience (CPBE/HONR)

Bocas del Toro, Panama
Panama City, Panama
Terms offered: 
Spring Break
Program Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
EA Advisor: 
Maria Barra


Panama serves as the crossroads of trade for the Americas. Panama is the perfect location to address the i-series question "What are the new realities of international business given the changing global economic environment?".  The centerpiece of this course is a global experience in Panama to evaluate the challenges and opportunities that globalization has brought to the country. The course provides a cross-disciplinary examination of the present and future impact of globalization on Panama with a focus on its political, economic, technological, social, cultural and environmental dimensions. This course will help students understand how globalization is connecting economies and cultures throughout the world. The course fulfills three general education requirements: DSSP, DVCC, SCIS.   

Home to one of the most strategic waterways in the world, Panama plays a significant role in global trade and the world's logistics infrastructure.  From Panama City to Lake Gatun, to Colon, students will identify and understand contemporary issues that impact the global economic environment. The strategic location of Panama as a bridge between two oceans and the meeting of two continents has made the country a maritime and air transport hub as well as an international trading, banking, and services center. 

Over the past decade, Panama has been one of the fastest growing economies worldwide. Panama is politically stable and a free economy, making it an attractive marketplace. The growth is likely to remain one of the highest in Latin America. Panama’s favorable economic development has been triggered by the fact that it is the fastest growing tourism market in South America and the second largest banking sector in the world. The expansion of the Panama Canal and its major Colon Free Trade Zone are significant factors in Panama’s success. Panama has also made notable progress in reducing poverty in recent years. Panama is well positioned to continue making progress on ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity as a result of growth prospects and the Government’s renewed attention to inclusion. Panama presents an excellent economic development case study to examine international commerce and evaluate the impact of global trade and climate change.

Panama has a strong ecotourism industry, offering a wide range of cultural experiences, eco-friendly accommodations, adventure opportunities, and community-based tours. The diverse landscapes, including tropical rain forests and active volcanoes, provide unique wildlife encounters and great opportunities for learning about and experiencing examples of ecotourism. 

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

UMD freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to apply.

Four pre­-departure meetings will be held in February and early March. The purpose of these pre­-departure meetings is to orient and prepare the students for both the culture and business environment they will experience. In preparation for the program, the students will get an overview of each country, have guest speakers regarding the current business climate they will experience, and be required to complete course readings and videos. These meetings will help you to become more familiar with Panama news issues and concerns, challenges and opportunities of doing business in Panama. Furthermore, the i-series course questions will be addressed.  

At the end of the study trip, each participant will complete a final exam and a reflection/study trip journal. A final class session will take place where they must submit their work and discuss the lessons learned from the course.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following three (3) credit UMD courses:

  • CPBE270: College Park Scholars: Business, Society & the Economy Education Abroad
  • HONR289Z: Business, Society & the Economy Education Abroad

The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit. This program has also been approved for the DSSP, DVCC, SCIS requirements of the General Education program.

Global scholarships of $600 are available for faculty-led programs for students enrolled in 1) the Robert H. Smith School of Business, 2) QUEST, or 3) the College Park Scholars Business, Society & the Economy (BSE) program.  Open only to students who have not previously earned credits from a UMD global program and/or transferred in any credits from a foreign university.  Please note that there is a global leadership & service requirement for all scholarship recipients (details on application). More information can be found here.

You will stay in shared accommodations in hotels throughout the program.

Costs are current for Spring Break 2020. 

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Education Abroad Fee $500
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $45
Tuition $1,280
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Housing Fee $375
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $150
Visa $0
Passport $145
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $800
Course Materials $0
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $300
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $180


Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancellation due to low enrollment.

Dr. Mark H. Wellman is currently a faculty member in the Department of Management and Organization at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and he serves as director of the College Park Scholars Business, Society and Economy (BSE) program. Dr. Wellman is recognized for his innovative courses and his memorable, relevant experiences outside of the classroom. He has designed global study courses to the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia as the faculty director for the programs, and over 425 students have participated in his global immersion programs since 2009.  He is the recipient of many honors, including the prestigious University of Maryland Brit Kirwan Award and the Outstanding Faculty Educator Award.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs

Panama is world-famous for its 48-mile canal that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. Students will be provided the opportunity to visit the canal and witness this engineering marvel at work.

Panama is home to more species of birds and trees than the whole of North America. There will be opportunities to discover beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and endless educational activities. Some of these activities may include rainforest tours, surfing, snorkeling, diving, hiking, camping, bird watching, and rafting. 

Additional activities include the Boquete Coffee Tour. Some of the best coffee in the world is produced on coffee farms in Boquete.

The Volcan Baru Tour will provide you the opportunity to visit a dormant volcano just south of the Continental Divide and is is one of the only places in the world where one can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea at the same time.  

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following activities:

  • Bocas Del Toro (ecological visit)
  • Miraflores Locks Visit
  • Panama Canal History Museum
  • Biomuseo - Museum of Biodiversity at Panama
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Spring Break 2020 10/01/2019 10/11/2019 03/14/2020 03/22/2020