How do I even begin to put these last three weeks into words!? This study abroad trip to Panama has taught me much more than I ever expected. Not only was I exposed to aspects of Supply Chain Management and Logistics, but also given valuable advice from highly respected business professionals. Culturally speaking I do feel like I became less ethnocentric and more open minded and accepting of the unknown. I experienced some of the greatest highs on this trip, adventuring to new places and forming life time friendships. I also experienced obstacles and challenges that I believe helped build my character. This was an opportunity that unfortunately not many people get to experience and I am so lucky to have the chance to take what I’ve learned and apply it to my life and future career. I’m definitely sad that it’s over but I am grateful for my time spent in Panama. Everyone should take advantage of what the University of Arkansas has to offer!





Thursday was a free day which we all really appreciated! We had the chance to do some very touristy activities around Panama City but also explore some of the places that locals go regularly. Our driver, Alex, hung out with us for most of the day and took us to the skate park where we got to watch him and his friends skateboard. We also went bowling and visited the big PANAMA sign to take pictures. I loved having the opportunity to spend the day immersed in the culture of Panama and have fun with everyone in our group.

Friday we took our final exam! The exam consisted of a few short answer questions and essay questions. As I was taking the exam and literally running out of space to write because I had so much to say, I realized how much I have learned on this trip. It was amazing to see how much information I absorbed and how I could apply it to real world situations. This experience was extremely more valuable to me than sitting in any regular classroom hearing a lecture. We spent the rest of Friday in Casco Viejo, where we got a tour of the presidential palace. It was beautiful and filled with rich history. Casco Viejo is of my favorite places we visited in Panama and I’m so glad we were able to spend quite a bit of time there on this trip. Now it’s time to pack up and head out bright and early tomorrow morning!


The whole crew at the Panama sign in Panama City!



Bowling with the crew!


Visit to the Presidential Palace!




Yesterday, we took the early morning train out to Colon for a visit to the Manzanillo International Terminal. We rode the Panama Canal Railway which is primarily used for transporting containers from port to port but also functions as commercial transportation. Once we arrived, we had a meeting with a lady named Rita Wong who spoke to us about the port located there as well as the Free Trade Zone. I could tell Rita was a very knowledgeable woman and I admired how she taught us not only about business, but also ethics and strategies to succeed. She talked to us about fulfilling our social responsibility as a business, when moving a company to a foreign country it’s important to invest in the people of that place because they are the ones that will be supporting your business. She discussed how MIT worked throughout the community in Colon by creating hospitals and schools. It made it clear to me that in the future I want to work for a business that is involved in helping its community. After MIT, we visited Logistics Services Panama, a company that provides A to Z logistics services. We were able to tour the warehouses and see the employees work on providing value added services like labeling, repackaging etc. It was a great opportunity to physically see the processes behind supply chain and logistics rather than just hearing a lecture and taking notes.

After a busy day visiting multiple businesses, last night we received instructions for a group presentation that was due this morning! I don’t know how we got so lucky 😉 Talk about being put under pressure. However, I was really thankful for my group and how great we all worked together. I think we handled the stress well and were able to give a quality presentation this morning to several Panamanian business executives. The idea was to take everything we have learned from these past three weeks visiting companies, and apply it to the prompt we were given. We were essentially a tennis ball manufacturing company that wanted to globalize their business and bring tennis to Panama. It was a challenge because tennis isn’t necessarily a big sport played in Panama, but we were able to put a creative spin on it that emphasized why Panama was a good location for our operations. Giving this presentation was a great experience that allowed for valuable feedback from very successful people so to me it was definitely worth it.

We just returned to the City of Knowledge and I think we are all ready for a nap. Our trip to Colon was a success!


Taking  the train to Colon!



MIT port!


Working hard in our hard hats!


This week started off by visiting the Panama Canal Railway! I officially decided that rail transportation is one of the main reasons I think logistics is so interesting. (Every day we visit a new place though I think that’s my new favorite new reason I like logistics) Anyway, we learned a lot about how the Railway started and how it helped build the canal and continues to work with the Canal today. Next, we visited Maritime University to see a simulation of how to bring a boat through the canal. We learned that the captains of the Panama Canal have to participate in a program that lasts almost 20+ years. It’s very competitive as there are over 300 applicants and only 4 are selected. It amazed me how specialized of a job this is and how many variables you have to take into consideration when driving a ship. It was a really great experience that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else except in Panama!




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Saturday was Excursion Day! We traveled to the beaches of Portobelo to spend some time in the sunshine! It was definitely one of the most beautiful places I have been in Panama. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to snorkel, swim, play sand volleyball and hang out together. Because Panama is so small, it’s great to be able to see so much of it. We have swam in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the last week! I could totally get used to living in this tropical climate.

Culturally speaking, I think I have adapted quite well in these past two weeks. One of the most important things I have learned on this trip is how to most effectively use the resources that you have. Whether it’s ordering meals, asking for directions etc. there’s always a way to problem solve by using what you know. It doesn’t always go smoothly, for example, sometimes I still have to play charades when trying to get my point across and yesterday I did accidently go into the men’s bathroom, but you live and you learn right!? I have found that the Panamanian people do appreciate when you put forth effort to speak their language even if you aren’t perfect. I am so grateful to be gaining all of this international experience and getting out of my comfort zone. Talk to y’all soon!






We have definitely have kept busy over these past couple days! Thursday, we went to Ceva Logistics, a multinational company that integrates end to end logistic solutions. They are one of the top five logistics companies in the world bringing in revenue of $8.5 billion per year. While we were there, we got to tour their offices and warehouse. The size of the warehouse was HUGE and I couldn’t believe how many little details went into ensuring that everything ran smoothly. Their office was actually located in what is called a “Logistics Park” which is a whole area of logistics companies and warehouses together. We had the opportunity to drive though the whole park and see the companies that had sites there. I recognized several companies like Nestle, Kimberly Clark, DHL etc. It really put into perspective how globalized these companies are and how much representation they have in the international market.

Next, we visited Copa Airlines, which is the major airline for Latin America. It was interesting to learn about their history and how they evolved from such a small business to now a dominating player in the airline market. Copa is one of the fastest growing and largest companies in Panama that employs over 9,000 people. They maintain their status as a top airline because of their on-time performance/punctuality and also their focus on smaller markets. They are also part of the Star Alliance which consists of 27 other major airlines around the world which gives them a competitive advantage. We learned about the importance of air freight and storing cargo on planes. It is a very intricate process that often times goes unnoticed.

Friday morning, we headed to the presidential palace for a tour, turns out it had been struck by lightning earlier so we couldn’t go in. We have tried to visit several times and it hasn’t worked out so I think it’s fate that we are not meant to be there. Sometimes this happens on study abroad trips but you just learn to roll with it! Friday afternoon was the first time we got to visit the Canal! We are spending most of next week there but got to have a first glimpse today. We looked at the Miraflores locks and saw the process of how ships move through the Canal. What amazed me the most was the fact that this complex process hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. I am really excited to learn more in depth about the Canal and its expansion. We spent Friday evening touring Casco Viejo (aka the Old City) and went shopping at some great local places. Our group always has so much fun exploring together. Less than a week left…WHAT.

P.S. As you may have noticed, I’m in a phase of making all my blog titles in Spanish but my vocabulary is very limited…It will get better.



Visit to Copa Airlines!


Casco Viejo!


First look at the Canal!


It’s been a really busy week for us in Panama City! On Tuesday morning we visited the American Chamber of Commerce Panama (aka Panamcham). The main purposes of Panamcham are to promote commerce and foreign direct investment between US and Panama, promote and protect free enterprise, and encourage ethics as well as achieve business objectives. Panamcham helps provide networking opportunities for many companies like Dell, Marriott, Proctor and Gamble, American Airlines etc. We also discussed the Panamanian economy and reasons Panama is ripe for foreign investment. Tuesday afternoon, we visited the US Embassy. Hearing the issues that are dealt with on a daily basis at the Embassy was very interesting to learn and talk about. I realized how big of a problem education is in Panama and how drastically that effects their economy. We heard some very honest opinions about how poor the education is here and how it forces businesses to hire more educated employees from other countries instead of Panama. The education policy clearly needs to be reformed but because the president’s term is only five years with no chance for reelection, many leaders feel that there’s not enough time to make a big enough impact in this area with so little time.

On Wednesday, we visited three very well-known companies. The first was Super 99, which is essentially the Walmart of Panama. (Fun Fact: It’s owned by two Razorback alumni) Super 99 earned $740 million in revenue last year and is continuing to expand and thrive in the Panamanian economy. I thought it was really cool that we actually got to talk to the owner of this business and hear his advice/encouragement. Next, we visited Unilever, which is a consumer packaged goods company. I am still not over how cool their office was. They call it the “Tower” because Unilever takes up several floors of this huge skyscraper in the heart of Panama City so that all people in different aspects of their business can work closely together. I loved the atmosphere of their office but also really learned a lot of upper-level and important information regarding their supply chain, most of which was pretty over my head. Lastly, we visited Proctor and Gamble. This was my absolute favorite visit of the day. P&G mostly talked to us about what their company actually does and how they strive to improve everyday lives. I do enjoy learning about supply chain but what I love most is learning about all of these different companies and what their purpose is. P&G made it clear to me that they care a lot about helping in their communities. Their “Children’s Safe Drinking Water” product was a specific thing I loved about this company as well as their involvement in assisting with disaster relief. P&G just made a really great impression on me!

We are trying to pack learning and fun into every second of every day which is definitely exhausting but so worth it. Our group is always keeping me laughing and we work so well together that it’s easy to make the most of everything. Love being here in Panama!



Visit to Panamcham!


Visit to P&G!





This past Thursday we traveled to the interior of Panama to visit Chitre and Las Tablas. On the way, we had the privilege of stopping in a town named Parita and seeing a traditional ceremony/parade that celebrated Panama’s freedom from Spain in 1821. The streets were decorated and people danced in costumes and masks to authentic music. I really admired how this whole town came together and put forth so much effort to uphold old tradition. It was an event on this trip that wasn’t necessarily planned but I’m so glad we happened to be there to witness it. The next couple days we spent on the beach surfing, riding horses, hammocking etc. Basically living the dream. Don’t worry, the school part of “study abroad” is definitely coming up. Today, we spent majority of our time at the Banco Nacional de Panama, which essentially deals with the administration of all banks that are part of the exchange of compensation in Panama. There, we learned the process of exchanging checks between banks and how crucial of a role it plays in their overall banking system. As mentioned in previous blog posts, overcoming the language barrier has still been a main obstacle for me. I was frustrated at times when they were explaining something in Spanish for a few minutes and I had to wait to be translated to. At the same time, I had to remind myself to just be patient and grateful that I even get the opportunity to be confused in a foreign country. I’m trying to embrace every moment here in Panama and I think I’m actually starting to adapt to the humidity. Week one down, two to go!


Me & Kappa Houseboy Andy throwing the key at old ruins in Panama Viejo!


Beach day!


Made a stop at the famous Quesos Chela for empanadas and orange juice with honey!


Riding horses on the beach wasn’t exactly as glamorous as the movies make it seem but still fun, still fun!



These first couple days in Panama have been packed with great opportunities and exciting new adventures! To start, Panama is far from what I expected for several reasons. The city is very modernized and much bigger than I anticipated. I have yet to find my bearings but hopefully in the next few days I will catch on! It is definitely more difficult because Panamanians don’t really use street signs and the curvy roads seem all scrambled together, where as in the U.S. streets are clearly labeled and laid out much like a grid. That being said, I do love how laid back the Panamanian people are. Today we went to the Universidad Catolica Santa Maria La Antigua (aka USMA) and heard a lecture over the history, culture and economy of Panama. The professor discussed how their perception of time is so relaxed that it could be completely normal for someone to show up an hour late to something. I also noticed in the car how many drivers just do their “own thing” regarding stop signs etc. Driving here is probably best described as organized chaos! Another huge aspect that has taken me by surprise is the language barrier. Before coming here, everyone I had spoken to said how Americanized Panama was and that most people spoke English as well as Spanish. In these first couple days I have not necessarily found that to be true. Yesterday, I had the hardest time trying to order some ice cream. I wanted to ask for my ice cream in a bowl but instead apparently I was asking for a kiss…It all ended up fine it just took 15 minutes to get my point across and finally the help of some fluent Spanish speakers in our group. Shout out to Perla and Cristal. Today, we also visited the Museum of Biodiversity, designed by Frank Gehry. It was so interesting to learn that millions of years ago, Panama was ocean covered. Due to underwater volcanoes and the movement of tectonic plates, over time islands were formed and massive amounts of sediment from North and South America filled in the gaps to form the land bridge, Panama. Even though it’s not a big piece of land, the formation of Panama significantly changed the flow of water between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans which caused major climate changes. I was mind blown learning about the entire thing. Tonight we went to the Panama vs. Venezuela soccer game. It was incredible to experience, especially as a tourist because not many tourists typically go. It was probably the most I have felt like I was in a foreign country but I loved it! I’ve already experienced so much and it’s only been two days. Stay tuned for more updates on my adventures!



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P.S. I tried Coconut Rice today and it’s amazing I’m still thinking about it.





This marks the first time I have ever actually blogged, but I am so excited to start my study abroad experience and be able to document these memories. So far, this past week our group has had classes in Fayetteville to get us ready and in the mindset to study abroad in Panama. We have talked a lot about what it really means to be a “global” company as well as discussed the benefits and drawbacks of globalization. Along with that, we looked into how to truly measure the impact of “distance” between countries using the CAGE (Cultural-Administrative-Geographic-Economic) Analysis. We also read articles over Global Supply Chain Performance Erosion and Reshoring. On top of all of that, we did find some time for the classic ice breakers to get to know one another. I think it’ll be so funny to look back and remember how quiet everyone was at the beginning and how much we didn’t know about each other. Meanwhile, I have been packing away and hoping my luggage weighs less than 50 pounds…packing for 3 weeks is a bit of a challenge. I am currently sitting in the airport at 4:30 a.m. waiting to fly out of KC to meet everyone at the Houston airport. Cross your fingers that I find them! I’m so excited to be in Panama in just a few short hours and keep y’all updated on my endeavors! ~ Adios USA ~ Hola Panama ~

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