written by Qiao Chu
I have travelled to over 20 countries so far, with family, with close friends, or by myself. None of the trips have given me the same level of experience that the SCM Panama trip has given me. If there is one thing you need to know about how much fun this program can offer you, you need to know about our Panama trip. It’s educational, worry-free, wild, and full of surprises.
Escaped from the freezing Boston, our trip started in Colón city with a warm welcome at an old colonial hotel. Ever since then, our days were filled with different adventures, and our nights were full of salsa, pool and roof top parties. The daily schedule was so well designed that you wouldn’t possibly feel bored. Educational visits to logistic facilities and companies were shuffled with trips to Fort San Lorenzo, fishing port, pineapple plantation (where I had the best pineapple in my life), wild jungles, and much more. One moment you found yourself strolling around the narrow streets of old Panama City shopping in small boutique stores, the next moment you could be in the center of downtown surrounded by skyscrapers.
Oh yes. Of course we saw the Panama Canal with Panamax passing through the locks. It was a sunny afternoon. We finished a fancy lunch with the breathtaking ocean view. The breeze came with the perfect temperature. We stood by the edge of the observatory watching the giant Panamax lifted by the locks. That’s when we felt so proud of what mankind could achieve.
Our class decided to stay for an extra weekend before school started. We picked an island in Bocas Del Toro. Can you believe that we were the only ones on the entire island and the sea area around it? I have never lived in such a remote condition before. Everything was super natural. The water was clear and calm. When we were swimming in the ocean, the wild dolphins were jumping 15 meters away. When we were hiking in the jungle, the baby sloth was chilling on the tree beside us. Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, partying or just lying in the hammock falling asleep while watching the stars, it was a paradise, our paradise.
If you think that after the intense orientation, a whole semester of study, the two-week “social period” (IAP) with the scale network peers, people already knew their classmates well. Trust me, we felt exponentially closer to everyone after the panama trip. We started our weekly game night after the trip just to maximize the time we could spend with each other before graduation. We knew things changed when we could talk in tons of inside jokes developed from the trip, laugh at the embarrassing moments, eager to plan our next trip together, and wish the time goes by slower. We are a family now.
I absolutely love our Panama trip. There is only so much that I can describe to you, so you have to experience it yourself. Thank you SCM for making it happen. It is going to be a lifelong memory, for each one of us.