Parents Guide to Kalu Yala

Studying abroad is one of the most rewarding experiences a student can have during their college years.

At Kalu Yala, we provide a community setting that not only prepares your son or daughter for a rewarding career, but also instills them with the skills, confidence, and compassion needed to address today's social and environmental issues on a local and international scale. 

Program Summary

The Kalu Yala Institute is for students and entrepreneurial minded people who are passionate about finding solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Each program follows a project-based curriculum for ten weeks with academic instruction and hands-on work in multidisciplinary teams. Through lectures, workshops, individual and group projects, Kalu Yala enables students to test their passions in the real world. Unlike other education programs, we believe learning should be combined with doing.

  • Program duration: We offer 3 semesters a year– Fall, Spring, and Summer. Each semester is 10 weeks.  
  • Program location: A lush rainforest valley in Tres Brazos, Panama– about 50 minutes from Panama City. Education and Public Health & Wellness students also live and work in the rural community of San Miguel.
  • Program disciplines: Agriculture, Biology, Business & Entrepreneurship, Construction Arts, Culinary Arts, Design-Thinking, Education, Engineering, Media Arts, Political Science, Public Health and Wellness.

What Alumni Say

  • 92% of alumni would recommend Kalu Yala to a friend. According to our alumni and 3rd-party review websites, we are one of the most highly ranked study abroad programs in the world. 
  • 98% positive reviews on, an online directory of study abroad programs. 
  • 94% of alumni have stated their experience at Kalu Yala positively contributed to their career growth, citing beneficial application for medical school applications, developing soft skills needed for community development, transformative exposure to new academic fields, among other beneficial impacts.

Academic Benefits

  • Eligible for academic credit at most universities
  • Engaging interaction with faculty and staff in a welcoming living/learning environment
  • Hands-on application of knowledge and theories 
  • Culturally immersive with opportunities for language-learning (Spanish), homestays, and teaching / volunteer work. 
  • Proven to be desirable experience for graduate and medical school applicants.  

Career Benefits

  • Jumpstarts an international network of ambitious professionals and visionaries
  • Improved leadership, public speaking, and communication skills
  • Enhanced cultural awareness and foreign language skills (Spanish)
  • Fosters entrepreneurial skills and qualities, particularly working in restricted environments and/or with limited resources

Parent FAQ

How much does this study abroad program cost?

Is this experience eligible for academic credit?

How can you ensure my child's safety?

Who will be leading my child in their studies?

What are the housing options and meal plan?

How much spending money will my child need outside of the program?

Is Panama a safe country?

What travel and/or health documents will my child need?

How can I stay connected with my child while they are abroad?

Did we miss something? Ask us directly at

Join Us for Family Appreciation Day!

We love to see our students' families visit, see our students' projects first-hand, and join the conversation about sustainability. Every semester, we hold Family Appreciation Day the day before Inspiration Week– giving you and your student the chance to travel together in Panama's sunny, tropical paradise.

Upcoming Family Appreciation Days:

  • Spring 2018: February 23, 2017
  • Summer 2018: June 13, 2017
  • Fall 2018: October 12, 2017

Have questions about Kalu Yala? Ask us directly at