Panama´s communities and the Canal
Panama has long been an attractive tourist destination, given the ease of travel and wide array of experiences. Visitors can enjoy two different oceans, experience the mountains and rainforest, learn about native cultures, and take advantage of vibrant urban life.
Envoys programs in Panama take students deep into the country, engaging with indigenous peoples and learning about the human history of this fascinating country. We also have the rare opportunity to participate in a coral bleaching evaluation project, critical to future environmental protection efforts.
Envoys students pursue rigorous research projects during our programs in Panama. Project themes and research questions are identified during the pre-trip online courses through a process of consultation with school leaders, academic experts, development practitioners, and business professionals. Potential project themes include:
- The concept of the Panama Canal as an international resource
- The protection of indigenous peoples’ rights under international law
[Envoys] knows kids extremely well…they know how to be cool with them while still commanding authority and establishing ground rules…I was incredibly impressed with the protocols established and put in place by Envoys.Micah M., Traveling Faculty Friends Seminary Peru 2015
With its emphasis on empathy and general intelligence in planning, Envoys has quickly emerged as a premier global program provider. They are well worth the attention of any of our schools.Paul Miller Former Director of Global Initiatives,NAIS
Envoys was at the top of their game from start to finish. What initially interested me was their focus on curriculum during pre-departure meetings and the program itself. Envoys cares deeply about the experience of the participants and faculty. [They] constantly ask for constructive criticism and make changes when necessary.Joe Vogel, Executive Director Global Education Benchmark Group
Envoys carefully constructed an educational trip for students that purposefully engaged them to think, reflect, act, and enjoy. The travel logistics were always well-planned, and I had peace of mind knowing that my teen-aged daughter was in safe, responsible, and caring handsAlice T, Parent Deerfield South Korea, 2015
I could not have been more satisfied with the performance of Envoys throughout the entire process of planning and executing this trip. All Envoys staff demonstrated the utmost professionalism and dedication, as well as knowledge and competence. I am so glad that [we] chose to partner with Envoys!Rick S, Traveling Faculty Hingham Japan 2015
The team at Envoys did their very best to ensure that the the “i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed.” The staff was also quick to respond to any and all questions that arose prior, during and after the trip. My husband and I greatly appreciated the time Envoys took to provide preparation tips as well the planned activity schedules to help make our child’s South African trip a safe and memorable adventure”Regina J, Parent Dalton South Africa 2014
We had an amazing program. It was a biology teacher’s dream and Felipe and his crew couldn’t have been more thorough and professional to work with. Thanks for all of your efforts to organize an unforgettable experience for us all.Gerry, Traveling Faculty LCC Colombia, 2016
As a parent I felt the experience was well orchestrated and managed by Envoys. As a participant my daughter loved the whole experience; it is something she will treasure for the rest of her lifeLinda T, Parent Hingham Japan 2015
I don’t think it is possible to pull a trip like the Amazon and the many activities that you directed without the sense of purpose you have, without your drive for experiential learning for teenagers. All our experiences with the envoys team were amazing!Angela, Traveling Faculty RoundSquare Colombia 2015
It was not only the good times with our friends or the relationships we built but how we were after we came back, returning to this agitated society with a new view of ourselves and not just our impact on the world, but the world’s impact on us.Gabriela, Student Deerfield Colombia, 2014
The individuals we worked with, without exception, were all professional, courteous, patient, and greatly attentive to detail. As stated above, Envoys is flexible and works hard to make sure that if you have custom aspects to a trip that you want to add, they will work hard to make it happen for you.Adam H, Faculty Belmont Hill Japan 2016
I can honestly say that this was the best 10 days of my entire life. I feel as though I have grown as a person, and that I have made lifelong connections. This experience changed my life, so thank you very much to the entire Envoys staff!
Eliza C, Student Hingham Japan 2015
Every single person working for Envoys is excellent and committed to the kids and their experience, not just during the trip, but before and after. We would recommend Envoys to anyone looking for a high quality and enriching summer experience.Amy G, Parent Envoys Malawi 2014 & 2015
The Envoys staff has been amazing. I have bonded with each of them in different ways and they made the trip to Colombia nicer that I expected. Envoys helped me open myself up to interacting with the locals wherever we traveled!Illeana G, Student Deerfield Colombia 2014
My goals were to learn about post-conflict Colombia and step out of my comfort zone. These were fulfilled each and every day through activities, reflections, and first-hand experience.Julia D, Student GEBG Colombia 2016
I was incredibly impressed by the care taken by Envoys. Before we even hit the ground, there was an emphasis on comprehending impact on our destination’s environment that I appreciated..Throughout the trip, our Envoys leaders made sure that we continued to be conscious of impact. That awareness of cause and effect is something that often gets lost when traveling, and Envoys did not allow it to. During this trip, there was never a moment I did not feel safe and cared for nor a moment where I did not feel I was learning something!Keylee S, Student Dalton South Africa 2014
“Many student groups participate in ‘Voluntourism’. This trip did not attempt that, but rather funneled the collective energy of each member into meaningful, mutually beneficial cultural interactions..Thank you so much for this unforgettable and transformational experience.Altana, Student Friends Seminary South Africa, 2016
The Envoys staff were very open about sharing their first-hand experiences, which was a game-changed in terms of learning about post-apartheid South Africa. Also, having everything planned to the T made me feel very safe. I knew that I was in good hands.Gio H, Student Friends Seminary South Africa 2016
The Envoys Staff were exceptionally committed to us and to the goals of our trip. They were thoughtful, kind, caring, friendly, with great sense of humor, yet serious in their connection to the ethos of professional development that was our trip’s purpose. I was struck over and over again by how they literally RAN to be in the right place to respond to any given situation.Constance, Traveling Faculty Friends Seminary Colombia 2016
Day 1 (Arrival)
We fly into Panama City, capital of Panama. Founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1519, the dense urban center is surrounded by a belt of tropical rainforest.
Day 2 (Panama City)
After a thorough health and safety briefing, we head out on a walking tour of the famed Casco Viejo district. Built in 1671 after much of the original city had been destroyed by the privateer Henry Morgan, the well-preserved city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003.
During the evening, Envoys students and staff work together to review the content covered and learning goals set during our online courses. Students set out goals for learning about Latin American culture, interacting with local citizens, exploring the wildlife, and sharing the adventure with their families and classmates. This process empowers students to take responsibility for their own development during the trip, both for their research outputs as well as their individual growth.
Day 3-5 (San Blas Islands)
Our adventure begins! We travel to the indigenous Guna Yala region, taking boats to the San Blas Islands.
During our visit to the islands, we embed into the Guna community, learning about their unique culture and traditions.
We spend time visiting with local students and compare the similarities and differences between our daily routines. Depending on the community needs, we may undertake a small service-based project in collaboration with the locals. By staying on the islands, we have the opportunity to go fishing and snorkeling, and to learn a variety of wilderness survival techniques. This learning helps students gain a sense of personal competency while also opening their eyes to the different skill-sets necessary for success in different parts of the world.
Day 6 (Gamboa)
We return to Panama City and continue by private bus on a leisurely drive to the small town of Gamboa outside of Panama City. Given the exertions of the trip so far, the respite is well worth it!
Day 7 (Gamboa)
We rise early in the morning and head to the Canopy tower in Gamboa for bird watching with local experts. Envoys students practice identifying birds and considering how the different species have arisen.
On our return from the tower, we stop by the famed Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal, a reminder of the importance of this nation for international trade regimes.
Day 8-9 (Embera Community)
We spend the next two days visiting an indigenous community of Embera people.
Sleeping in tents within a large shed constructed by the community, students enjoy numerous opportunities to learn about the unique cultural and social traditions of the Embera people. Our students learn about the use of plants for medicinal purposes, hike with the native people through the rainforest, and take a relaxing tube-ride down the Chagres River.
During the evening, Envoys instructors provide lessons and lead discussions on the various issues surrounding the human rights of indigenous peoples. These lessons provide key background to allow students to better empathize with the Embera people.
Day 10 (Panama City)
We return to the capital, reflecting on the wonders that we’ve encountered during our time in Panama. Envoys staff work individually with students to revisit their learning goals, considering the gains that they have made and the areas where improvement is needed. We discuss the outputs of the student research projects, ensuring that the experience will continue after we return home.
International flights home.