Learn by Studying Abroad in Panama

At Kalu Yala, studying abroad gives student-interns and young professionals the opportunity to apply their passions in the real world. They work as part of our first civic institution, the research and development team. Team members utilize their studies in the search for best practices in sustainability and quality living while doing so in beautiful Central America. Unlike other education programs, we insist on learning through exploration.

We enable you to orchestrate your own adventure.
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things you'll need to know

  • represented


    Our alumni represent over 160 universities throughout the world.

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  • what to


    This list is just our take on what we’ve found to be useful. If it doesn’t say “Mandatory” - it’s not!

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  • Appreciation


    Learn about Parent Appreciation Day and Professor Appreciation Weekends.

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  • Tuition and


    Tuition can vary depending on the semester. Learn about financial aid opportunities here as well.

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  • Student


    Read about the work and experiences of students at the institute.

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Institute Staff

our fearless leaders


we can answer that

  • What is the Meal Plan like?

    Those located in San Miguel and Panama City are provided lunch and dinner during the week, but do not receive dinner on Fridays. Due to the nature of their work, Kalu Yala-based programs receive 14 meals per week, with meal schedule varying around time spent in the field. Meals are not provided on weekends/off days.  Our chefs provide filling meals that are delicious and healthy, using what is locally available. Vegetarian options are always available; several of our staff members are vegetarian, so you will be in good company!

  • Can I get credit for this in school?

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It largely depends on your school and your program. We have had participants receive anywhere from 0 to 19 credit hours which have included internship credit, independent study credit and actual course credit. As with scholarships, this takes legwork from you. Knock on as many doors as possible starting with your adviser and study abroad office, and we’re happy to help fill in the blanks.

  • What airport do I fly into?

    Tocumen Airport (PTY).

  • Do you have to be an undergraduate student?

    No, 70% of participants are undergraduates and 30% are out of college or in their graduate studies. We also regularly serve as a point of reflection for people considering a career change. What everyone has in common is the desire to contribute to creating the most inspiring place on earth.

  • When will the town of Kalu Yala be built?

    Kalu Yala already exists, with staff living there full-time and a global community of students and guests which is growing and constantly engaged.  Our base camp infrastructure is built, with the ability to host both the institute and our events.  Actual roads and homes will begin to be built in 2017.  Like any real town, it will never be complete.

  • Can I change the program dates?

    Dates in Panama are set in stone but we invite you to do work before and after the program through working with your Director online to do pre-arrival research and post-program project documentation. If your school requires more time- we can make it happen- no worries. There is plenty of work to be done!

  • Do I have to pick a first-choice program when applying?

    Yes. If you’re torn between two programs, a phone interview will help guide you to which one is right for you.

  • Where does our research go after we leave the program?

    All research reports are reviewed in order to see how they could potentially help the town of Kalu Yala better understand complex or nuanced subjects. Furthermore, all studies are catalogued to form a foundation of knowledge available to all.

  • Where does my tuition go?

    All tuition goes directly back into the institute, students, and their research.  Because we believe in complete transparency, our budget is available to the public and we are happy to discuss it in detail. We work hard to maximize every dollar and achieve extremely high satisfaction ratings from students and their parents.

  • Does tuition cover the cost of my flight?

    No. You are responsible for purchasing your own flight to Tocumen Airport (PTY). Airport transportation is covered by Kalu Yala Entrepreneurial Internships 3 days prior to and 3 days after the semester.

  • Do you offer scholarships?

    At this time, we only offer scholarships to the residents of the local San Miguel and San Martin communities. We have had many students receive scholarship, grant and fellowship money, though. Their advice has been to knock on as many doors as possible: from your adviser to the scholarship office to other organizations you participate with. Over 20% of our students use tuition assistance through their universities.

  • How can I send mail to my student in Panama?

    We have a Mailboxes Etc. service that allows for people in the U.S. to send packages or letters to Panama. Each letter or package will be shipped to Miami where it goes through customs and then is forwarded to a P.O. Box here. Your student will be responsible for paying the shipping fee when it arrives in Panama. Caution, shipping can be very expensive depending on the weight of a given package. Mail costs $11/kg to pick up in Panama!

    Kalu Yala

    Attention: (Recipient’s Name)

    PTY 8616
    2250 NW 114th Ave Unit 1P
    Miami, FL. 33172-3652
  • Can I use this program as a vessel for my own project?

    Yes, we get lots of proposals from participants who want to use us as a project to increase their portfolio or write their thesis.

  • Can I get another job while being a student in Panama?

    It would be very difficult to manage both a job and the program so we request that participants come down solely to focus on the program. Also, labor laws are very strict in Panama so finding a job here while still in college would be challenging.

  • What and where is San Miguel?

    San Miguel is the last town before you enter Kalu Yala. Community Development & Public Health Programs are based there. Each semester, participants have different projects they work on within the community. It is in central Panama, about an hour’s drive from downtown Panama City and thirty minutes from the international airport. About 500 people live here.

  • What is there to do in San Miguel?

    There is a beautiful river that runs through the town, basketball courts and soccer fields. It is always fun to hang out at the local cantinas and fondas(restaurants) to eat and listen to ‘típico’ music. Also, you are close enough to the property to go on hikes through Kalu Yala.

  • Will I be able to stay at all three venues?

    No, your venue is based on your program. However, you will be able to use the amenities at other venues. You are always welcome to camp at Kalu Yala.

  • Can I talk to someone before completing my application?

    Of course! Please call (404) 474-1924 or email hello@kaluyala.com. We speak to applicants, parents, advisers and professors on a regular basis.