INFO FOR: 

Panama - Global Health and Development
Professor Sherri Porcelain, Department of International Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

Program Dates: January 3 - 13, 2012
January Intersession

This program is designed for students with a genuine interest in international development and global public health and who seek to gain a unique field experience that one often reads about in textbooks and journal articles.  Students will travel to a remote indigenous village in the San Blas islands of Panama.  They will live in austere conditions and work on a specific development project with the Kuna Indians.  The San Blas is a magnificent archipelago of 366 islands of which 66 are inhabited by an estimated 60,000 Kuna Indians. 


Courses (3 undergraduate or graduate credits):
INS 510
This course involves meetings with community health members, traditional healers and community members.  Students also participate in school activities and meetings with school teachers and students.  Additionally, students will live with families and participate in some of their daily activities. 

About the Professor:
Professor Porcelain has been involved in off-campus teaching and training international field research teams with UM students for over 20 years.  She has traveled with UM and other university student groups to the San Blas Islands, Panama, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, South Africa, and many other countries. Most recently, in the summer of 2007 she led 11 UM students to Ghana for a water and public health assessment program in coordination with the Ghana Health Mission.  She has also worked with a team of UM students in the post-earthquake assessment with the loval government of Ica, Peru.  Professor Porcelain has a long history working with the Kuna Indians in the San Blas Islands and is familiar with the Tule language and fluent in Spanish, which is also spoken in the village.  She led a previous course to the islands in January 2010.

Program Costs:
The program fee is $750 and includes the following:

  • Accommodations
  • In-country travel, including domestic flight
  • Local transportation
  • Meals
  • Entrance fees



The following are not included in the above program fee. Students are also responsible for:

  • $4,800 for 3 credits of tuition
  • International airfare
  • One day of meals
  • Passport fee
  • Anything not specifically mentioned above


Please budget for additional expenses. The estimated costs are about $770 and do not include independent travel outside of the program.

To Apply: submit the Application for UM Courses Abroad to Allen Hall room 111. Application must be signed by the instructor or email approval must be attached to application.

Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until December 1.

Contact: For more information, contact Professor Sherri Porcelain at 305-284-3128 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Erica Moussa at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).