• Barge traveling up the Panama Canal

    Capstone in Panama - Winter

  • Course Leader, Chris Schrage, overlooking a section of the canal

    Capstone in Panama - Winter

  • Group of UNI students in front of a Panama Canal sign

    Capstone in Panama - Winter

  • Large crane structure at the canal for lifting materials

    Capstone in Panama - Winter


On this program, students will have the exciting opportunity to visit the Panama Canal, major global trade companies, an isolated indigenous community, participate in service learning, and much more! 

Panama is emerging as a leader in business and trade and is one of the newest free trade partners to the United States. In this context, students will gain experience in trade and supply chain in a totally different environment than Iowa and the United States. At the same time, students will learn about rich traditions, cultures, and indigenous peoples in order to better understand the relationship between culture and business. All majors are welcome, and College of Business Administration majors will find the experience particularly enriching.



Course Leaders

Chris Schrage, Instructor

Department: Marketing & Entrepreneurship
Phone: 319-273-2126
Email: christine.schrage@uni.edu
Campus Address: CBB 5

Chris loves to share her passion for international travel with students and has led 15 groups to Nicaragua, 4 to China, 3 to Ghana, and taken over 40 teams to competitions globally. She looks forward to leading students abroad again this coming winter! 


CAP 3155: Socio-Economic Reality of Central America (2 credit hours)

This experiential course explores the socio-economic realities of Central America, integrating into that exploration the concepts learned and skills gained through the Liberal Arts Core. The course requires that students study the impact of culture on the working environment, gain an understanding of the social and economic condition of a particular country and explore how culture might impact that country’s economic status in the global economy. The experiential component requires that students work closely with citizens of the country, gaining a more personal view of the culture and sensitivity to the social-economic realities of the community.

Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the fall semester, although the capstone course is scheduled as a winter break course. The Study Abroad Center will enroll participants in the capstone course. Please contact the program's course leader for more information on academic requirements 

Course objectives:


  1. Gain an understanding of dimensions upon which a culture might be defined.
  2. Gain an understanding of the impact of culture on the work environment.
  3. Gain general knowledge about the economic situation of a Central American country.
  4. Apply knowledge of cultural dimensions to a specific culture to acquire a deeper understanding of that culture and its social norms.
  5. Explore the ethical and social responsibilities of companies operating in less developed countries.


  1. Utilize oral and written communication skills acquired through the liberal arts core.
  2. Use critical thinking skills to identify and evaluate the specific cultural dimensions that enhance or hinder the economic development of a specific country.
  3. Gain new language skills or enhance foreign language competency through immersion in a foreign language environment.


  • In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program's course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study. 
  • Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
  • Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken the program's capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.


Tentative Program Dates: Monday, January 3 (depart) - Monday, January 17 (return), 2022

Sample itinerary is subject to change.

Program will arrive to and depart from Panama City. Tentative list of activities: 

  • Two days of community service
  • Panama City and Canal Tour (Miraflores) Museum
  • Visit Isla Barro Colorado, a man-made island formed when the Chagres River was dammed to form the Panama Canal. The island is managed by the Smithsonian Institute, and its isolated tropical ecosystem is studied by scientists from around the world.
  • Train ride alongside the canal from Pacific to Atlantic and then to MIT Port in Colon 
  • American Chambers of Commerce as well as the offices of Maerks, the largest container ship and supply vessel operator in the world
  • Visit with the Embera Puru Tribe
  • Explore the operations of the new Canal and visit the control tower 
  • Visits with local businesses


Housing & Meals

Students will stay in a variety of accommodations arranged by the Study Abroad Center and paid for before departure. Most meals are included in the program cost. Students are encouraged to try the local foods.

Program Costs

Capstone in Panama - Winter

Estimated Program Cost:


* estimated total cost of participation, actual amount depends on type of housing accommodation selected, actual airfare purchase price, personal spending habits, and other factors

Click Below to View Detailed Budget Sheet:

Cost of studying on-campus*

*per semester, estimated, will vary per person

Tuition & Fees:


Room & Board:




Personal Expenses:






Source: https://admissions.uni.edu/costs

Dates & Deadlines


App Deadline: 
Friday, October 1, 2021
Program Dates: 
Monday, January 3, 2022 to Monday, January 17, 2022

The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:

  • Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this cumulative GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
    • If your cumulative GPA is lower than 2.5, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (103 East Bartlett):
    • Letters of reference from two academic contacts (e.g. academic advisor and former or current professor) supporting your pursuit of study abroad. If you are attending a faculty-led study abroad program, one of the letters must be from a course leader. However, if the program has two course leaders, only one of the letters can be from one of the course leaders.
  • Must be over the age of 18 years old
  • Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
  • Must be in good standing with the University
  • UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements if applicable.
  • Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
  • All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
  • Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.