Conclusion Post

Thank you for following me this far!

I’ve given myself a week to sit and ponder everything from Panama, see what I missed about being back in the United States, what I learned, etc. My main goal of this trip was to figure out what I wanted to do in terms of my career, a lot of what we learned about in Panama was the transportation aspect which I still don’t have an interest in. I got (what I think was) a glimpse into retail supply chain at Proctor and Gamble which is still my favorite place to visit. They discussed how detergent is made differently depending on the region and how it is optimized to b work at its best.  I thought that was so fascinating! We also focused on how different business models require different approaches. I like how a company takes a product that is already working great can tweak it to make it work even better depending on external factors that might be difficult to control otherwise. When I arrived home I accepted a business internship with a local food truck called Bakers Wakery, while I didn’t get a very clear idea about what I wanted to do career wise, but hopefully this internship will give me an even more clear idea of what I want to do. I think it will and very excited for the opportunity, I should be able to take what I learned in Panama about conducting good business relations in this opportunity. I think I learned more about how businesses run on a global level. I think that working in a global context would be something I’d want to incorporate into my professional career. I was fairly against living in a foreign country (namely Mexico per my previous study abroad trip) but Panama was fairly Americanized so I’m not sure if that helped me to feel better about living abroad or maybe it was the wide availability of air conditioning. I still think that I’d be happiest if I were to live in the United States and travel for an extended period of time out of the country preferably in a Spanish speaking country. I came into the trip thinking I’d be interested in working at a 3PL but I was underwhelmed at both 3PLs I visited, I don’t really know what I was expecting but I knew I wasn’t blown away or interested enough to do that or the rest of my life, however I certainly understand the importance of using one. I received some advice from one of the 3PLs, learn a third language. Their advice was to take Japanese, Portuguese, or German as the top three but they also mentioned Italian which I have been wanting to pursue a for some time more just for pleasure than anything else, but now I have a good excuse. I might take part of my summer to do that.

This study abroad trip was incredible! I learned so much about global business and the inner workings of different businesses. I think it helped that I was already done a large part of my business courses. I was able to understand how each part of the business groups works together. I didn’t understand what I was doing last year at the Puebla study abroad trip, I had only Microeconomics. Being able to have all the information laid out in front of me was nice. I will say that I am very glad that I had taken Spanish before I went. Not necessary but certainly helpful! There were two businesses that we visited that we had to have an interpreter and I feel like I got a little more out of those experiences than everyone else because I was able to hear it twice, once in Spanish and once in English. One of those two places however didn’t have an interpreter on hand so I got to play interpreter which was a blast! I learned so much about what I am capable of doing in Spanish. I think that helped to increase my confidence. I am ready to get into the fall semester and take some more business classes to continue shaping what I want to do with my future career.

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 5.43.31 PM.png
This has been one of my favorite views since getting back. I can’t ever get both of them to sit still at the same time. This was after a rainy Farmers Market trip in Fayetteville!




Where did the time go?



Even though today was a free day I got up early because a group of us were going to go see monkeys! It was probably my favorite experience of the whole trip. They came right up to the boat and just wanted to eat bananas. It was so incredible and we got to see some boats headed to the canal so there was a little bit of supply chain involved. Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 6.07.19 PM.pngThen we stopped by a zoo on the way back, you know you’re in a foreign country when deer are in an exhibit, it was a really neat zoo, very small but mostly animals that you can find in Panama. There was also a big eagle thing called the aguilar that has a wing span of about 12 feet. It was crazy he was huge definitely could’ve taken me down. I had lunch and took a short nap, then studied for our final exam and went to bed early.



The last hard part of our trip was our final, which was a teaser. It wasn’t too bad if you even halfway paid attention to the lectures. It was two essays and a few short answers. I wish most of my tests were like that! After that a group of us went for a last hurrah at La Taberna, the restaurant closest to the Holiday Inn. Then we killed time until we headed to Casco Viejo to finish souvenir shopping and eat dinner. I finished everybody up but didn’t go crazy. Dinner was at a nice hotel restaurant, I had risotto which is one of my favorite dishes, but my mom can cook it much better. Hands down the best part of my night was the dessert I ordered. I spilt a chocolate sundae and churro sandwich with someone. It was a perfect way to end the trip.


We woke up bright and early for our flight this morning and headed to the airport which was very hard. It was a lot harder to leave this study abroad than my last in Mexico. I had such an incredible experience from start to finish here. The airport was very different than XNAs security process. You check in with your bags at the front like normal, show your passport boarding pass, then you head over to another line to show your passport and boarding pass again, then through normal security type things, then we went to our gate and had to go through security again, and this time there was a pat down. It was a little too personal for me and very different than the security I’m used to. We weren’t allowed to exit the gate area and no liquids were allowed so no water either. We had our passports checked again once we were in the gate. Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 6.11.08 PM.pngI think the total passport check count at this point was five it made me nervous because I felt like I was going to lose it. I got a window seat again, there was guy between me and another classmate who took up more than his share of the row, but maybe as Americans we value personal space more, he was a Panamanian citizen. The flight was beautiful though! I don’t love flying over the ocean, probably has something to do with the fact that I watched Cast Away when I was too young. The area around Cuba was my favorite. The flight was a little bumpy but that’s standard for Atlanta. Customs here took around an hour which wasn’t too long considering the size of the airport so my passport was checked just one more time in person, once by a machine. Grabbed lunch; I’ve decided this trip has completely messed up my eating and sleeping schedule. This best part of the trip is coming. As a group we were talking about the movie Bad Moms with Mila Kunis and then we started talking about her husband Ashton Kutcher, thinking nothing of it we got on the escalator and I turned around to talk to one of the boys and I see this man, and I was like huh that kind of looks like Ashton Kutcher, but there’s no way. I went down a little bit to talk to the other girl because you know girls would know. I tried to keep it cool but I’m sure I looked sketchy but yep it was Ashton Kutcher. I rode the train in the Atlanta airport with Ashton Kutcher and his daughter!! I was (and still am) so flabbergasted. I didn’t take a picture so you’ll just have to take me at my word. I didn’t want to be creepy stalkerish.

Presentation Day

Today was our biggest day of the trip, presentation day. Unfortunately, the hotel continental breakfast didn’t get the memo. My group got up ate and started rehearsing our run-through was right at 20 minutes which is exactly what we needed! Everyone was pretty antsy that morning on the way to Logistic Services Panama. Our group drew to go last, which I didn’t mind too much I was just ready to relax and sleep a little bit. The first group was the hammock group, they did an incredible job and I was really glad we weren’t following them. They explained very thoroughly their market and even expanded and went on to explain that allow hammocks had a strong market there was an area that could be improved upon, the stands. I thought that was a really unique thing, it made their project stand (haha) out. The hiking group was next and they focused on places to hike, opening a hiking only store and not just displays build into other stores and they were asked about offering a renting hiking kit which sounded promising. We took a short bathroom and stretch break and came back for the volleyball group. They talked about awareness and putting in the hotels. Which we saw few courts near the beaches but nothing too substantial and certainly nothing like you’d see in the South. The group focused on if they could market correctly it would be a great business venture. A way to grow the market was to add nets in hotels and start to enter the market that way, which again I thought was well thought out and unique. Then it was our group I think we did well, we talked about travel and why Panama City in particular would be a great hub for travel inside of Panama. I think we did well but I was mostly glad to be done! We had lunch at the other set of Locks for the canal n the Colon side which was by far my least favorite meal. I didn’t eat it so that says something. We went back to the hotel in Panama City for nap time. We made up for our not so great lunch by having one of the best dinners! We did an authentic Panamanian food and wine pairing class. It was great! I learned a lot of fancy adult skills and the food was incredible there was a hot dog thing that was probably the best food I’ve had in Panama. Our instructor for the class even taught us how to make our own cocktail, that he called the Arkansan.


Logistic Days

Monday 6/5

Today was our transportation focus day we went to the Panama Canal Railway Company and the Locks. We got to watch how the containers are put on the train. It was mesmerizing. Before we were able to watch that we had a short lecture on how the railway operated. It is actually a joint venture partner with Kansas City Southern Lines so not too far from Fayetteville. The railway is used in lieu of the canal. It is the cheaper method to move products across the country especially for smaller shipments. The rail charges per container. But by far my favorite part was watching the operators stack containers, it was like watching an intricate game of Tetris. Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 6.16.53 PM.pngAfter we were finished at the rail company we were going to head straight over to the Miraflores Canal Locks but there weren’t any ships to watch so we took a lunch break at the hotel, which most people used to go to the laundromat by the plaza. The Canal was not what I was expecting. It was mostly a museum which made it a lot more entertaining than a lecture. We got to walk around and look at exhibits and there were a few interactive machines. One calculated your percent of water in your body and another you could move the locks on the (simulated) canal. We went all the way to the top to watch for a boat to come through but it was so packed you couldn’t get a spot on the rail to see, so I headed down to the floor that sold ice cream and actually got a decent spot to watch. At first there was only a little sailboat which still costs about $2,000 to pass through the canal, to conserve water they waited for a cargo ship. I got a little scared for the tiny sailboat the cargo ship was massive. I spent most of my time watching for the water level to rise on the other side of the locks but the locks operated in the opposite manner the water level was dropping where the boats were, which I only noticed when the sailboat only had its poles left above the ground level. The process seemed to take a while but in reality, it was only about 30 minutes once the cargo boat got in the canal. The passage was a tight squeeze for the cargo ship only 1 foot on either side of the ship. After we watched the ships pass through we headed back to the hotel. My group met up to work on our tourism project and were able to get a few hints from Dr. Esper which eased my mind. I’m a huge fan of working against a clear rubric.

Tuesday 6/6

Today we got to travel on the train to the other side of the country (which is basically the distance to Bentonville from Fayetteville) but we were able to see the canal. I really wish my dad was with me. He is a huge train person and the ability to take a train across the country and take in the sights of Panama and the Canal was such an incredible opportunity. There was an open air observation deck where you could go out and look at all the passing scenery without the constraint of a window. Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 6.17.10 PM.png We hopped off the train where our bus met us and took us directly to Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) which is just a very fancy port. It has a few automated cranes that stack containers. One special thing about MIT is they are the main value added service provider. They do maintenance, add stickers, etc. MIT was about twice the size of the Panama Railway Company in terms of TEUs (twenty-equivalent-units). MIT was probably the most high tech company we had been to yet. There were more operators inside doing their jobs. Most of the crane operators sit in a hunched position but with the automatic crane only monitors are needed.  We then headed across the logistics park to Logistics Services Panama, where they had snacks and coffee for us. That’s always appreciated by college students. We got to tour their warehouse facilities which was different than the other warehouses that we’ve seen. We were able to see how things are added on. For example we walked upstairs and watched the boxes of shoes be transported up there via a conveyer belt, unloaded, workers would put stickers on, re-boxed them and sent them on another conveyer belt to be out-bounded. All the other facilities that we have visited have been forklift operation only, so this was a more in-depth look.

Weekend in Panama

Friday 6/2

Finally a day where we could sleep in! I loved it, but was still up for our continental breakfast. Our group was able to meet up to and get a game plan on what to do for our travel agency. I’m really excited for our project. I think it will be incredible, I’ll dedicate a blog to it later in the week when we have everything pulled together. We headed to Casco Viejo a little bit after lunchtime to do a walking tour, it was kind of rainy when we got there so we had time to shop instead. I was able to pick up quite a few souvenirs for my parents. It wasn’t a marketplace type area like I was used to, almost all of the shops were indoors without great AC. Most of the shops were touristy however there were a few “luxury shops” it was weird to see the contrast just one street away. A lot of the “luxury shops” were similar to what you would see on the Fayetteville square so that made me feel at home. The walking tour was good, standard for what you’d expect Alex our guide did a good job. We stopped by a few churches and he pointed out a few architectural features. We all stopped at a rooftop bar for dinner, however they were no longer serving the same appetizers as they were last year when the other group came, so we went to 3 different places before settling in. It was a really neat experience to be able to eat on a rooftop, something that is lacking in the NWA area.

Saturday 6/3

Today was another beach day, I don’t get to go to the beach very often so it is treat to have been able to go twice on this trip. We got to the beach and took a boat over to the island which was such a neat experience. It was a tiny trout fishing type boat but we went slow so it wasn’t quite as roller-coasteresque as the ride last week. One of the best parts of the island were the dogs, I missed mine a little extra then. I bounced between the water and the beach all day it was great. This beach was much better than Playa Venao, the water was so clear so we were able to see all the fishes. That was an experience! The fish were not afraid of us at all! They came up and bumped us a few times and every time they did at least one of us would yelp. The fish were a fairly big probably about the size of a kleenex box. I think we bonded more as a group at this beach so that was really great. I would never had approached anyone on this trip had I not studied abroad with them, I’m just not as adventurous as I would like. Everyone was badly burnt so almost all of us headed straight to bed, or at least to the rooms for the night.

Sunday 6/4

First free day! I was determined to not stay in the hotel all day. My dad has always ingrained in me that “you don’t travel all this way to just stay in the hotel all day long” I did sleep in a little bit though it was great. A group of us left the hotel to go ride bikes along Amador Causeway. We were able to rent bikes cheaply, I got one by myself the rest of the group got a four person tented bike type thing. Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 6.27.09 PMWe biked down to near where we ate dinner our first night here and stopped for lunch. Unfortunately this was not an air conditioned restaurant. That is one thing I’m ready for, good AC everywhere and not hot and humid all day long (well at least until later in the summer for Arkansas.) The way back we were all over being hot and sweaty, so that was not as fun. The view was incredible though! On one side you were able to see the skyscrapers and the other you were able to see ships passing through from the canal. We headed to Casco Viejo, I had read about a brewery place that had craft panamanian beers. It was a really neat experience, I think a business like that would do very well in NWA (and it has.) After that we were able to wander around Casco Viejo without a big time constraint. I bought quite a few more souvenirs so I feel a little better about that. I had two dreams that I was back home and didn’t bring anything back with me.

Business Week

In general business’s don’t love weird college kids taking pictures so sorry this is lacking in pictures.

Monday 5/29
Finance and Banking week, my dad would be in heaven. I finally got the coffee machine to work so there was fresh coffee today it was a little weak but good and free. First we headed to Banco Nacional check sorting center. It was the most interesting part of the day. We were able to see how all the checks are sorted. They are sorted by number and accounts and by which bank. It was able to take a picture of each check and if it wasn’t read correctly it is sent to a person to correct it. The software is also able to read the amount on each check so it can be correctly reconciled to the correct bank. I stayed at the front so I could listen to the Spanish translation. Alex had to be there so we could understand what was going on. I actually got a lot of the information that was said in Spanish. After we visited that branch we visited their museum and listened to a presentation on the history of banking in Panama and why Panama is such an integral country in trade. It created a passageway for the Gold rush even before the canal was built. It was interesting to find out that Panama had a strong trade/travel component before the canal was built. Banco Nacional fed us a little bit of food before sending us off to Banistmo bank, which was my groups bank. We had quite a few Arkansas alumni in the room and even one rising senior. It was amazing to see how a Walton degree can take you international places. Banistmo is the second largest bank in Panama and places a great emphasis on customer service. They have a strong focus on innovation which is probably why they are the second largest bank in Panama. They increased their ratings drastically in the past few years since they made the switch to focus onto the customer. We got to visit their corporate relaxation floor, which had a handful of TVs, some gaming consoles, ping pong tables, a pool table, and their cafeteria. We also got a great view of Panama City! We finally headed to the SoHo mall for lunch at 4:00 so at that point it was basically dinner. SoHo is the “nice” mall in Panama City, as in I bet the only thing I could afford to buy in there was food. The mall had a Ladurée macaroon shop, which is famous especially in Paris. So now I’ve been to two, one in Paris (which is a whole other story) and one in Panama City. Then we all headed back to the City of Knowledge to fight over the three washers and dryers (which don’t actually dry your clothes).

Tuesday 5/30
Today we visited Panamcham and Super 99. Panamcham is a coalition between Panama and United States businesses. Their vision is “to be the primary advocate, educator and business catalyst for bi-lateral commerce between the United States and Panama” This presentation was by far the most clear and concise that we’ve had. Our presenter covered every aspect of Panamcham and anticipated all our questions. Some of the world’s largest companies are members of it; Dell, Canon, Delta, etc. Panamcham services 79% of Panama’s GDP. It was interesting to see how government worked with businesses in an international context. Super 99 was probably one of the most laid-back presentations. We all sat around a round table and asked the CEO Martinelli questions about what made Super 99 such a competitive company. He was incredible! There wasn’t a question he didn’t answer in depth. Then he showed us the warehouse and let us wander around and look at all the inventory. He was genuinely invested in us learning from his business. After we hit both of the businesses we headed to a reception held by Jamie Figueroa, who spoke at the U of A a few weeks prior. We were able to meet with the first Panamanian graduate of the U of A, who graduated in 1955. He just talked about how great education was and how grateful he was for his U of A degree and that it was amazing to see the opportunities for other Panamanian students. We met at a CEO club type place, from what we could understand it was a group of CEOs who got together to promote business relations.

Wednesday 5/31
Today we visited P&G and I think it will be my favorite presentation of this whole trip. The woman who ran it did an incredible job of keeping the energy up! I didn’t even feel like we were in there for 3 hours. P&G does an incredible job at leadership development so that was encouraging to see. One of my favorite things that I learned was that they adapt products to the region so for example detergent, in Panama the water is saltier so there would be less salt additives will still work in every water type but is tailored to be its best. I thought that was fascinating! We talked a little bit about Ecommerce which didn’t interest me as much. We learned about the uberization of shopping, so basically you hire someone to shop for you and deliver it to your house. I was able to learn so much more about P&G especially because it is such an ambiguous company, I had never really understood what it was and what its main goal was. It was just incredible! After P&G we headed to lunch in a mall food court. I had some tacos al pastor which were nothing like what I was able to get in Mexico, but still very good. I really enjoyed that mall, it was filled with lots of interesting shops with products that I could most likely afford except for their premium shops such as Gucci and Valentino. My group had Llamasoft our last company of the day and after doing research I was so excited to visit them. It seemed like they were focused on improving supply chains and optimizing strategy which interests me for a future job. When we got there, we went up to the 30th floor and I was a little disappointed the office was not big enough to handle our group of 20 so most of us stood during the presentation. I was a little disappointed to find out that Llamasoft was mostly a software business centered around creating and coding instead of optimizing supply chains. I think that I would want to work with their software but not on the backend that does all the coding, so that was a little disappointing. When we got back to City of Knowledge we checked in to the Holiday Inn with Wi-Fi that actually worked! It’s amazing, good AC, Wi-Fi, and no puddles in the floor. Tonight was another free dinner night at La Taberna, the restaurant closest to the Holiday Inn, we didn’t end up getting our food until 9pm so after we ate I headed straight to bed.
Thursday 6/1
Happy June! There was a continental breakfast this morning it was a major highlight of my day! I tried passion fruit, eh not a fan. We headed off to Copa airlines first. It was an interesting presentation but I didn’t learn too much about business, just how an airline works which just wanted to make me travel. They also reiterated why Panama was such an incredible place to do business which when boiled down is basically just their location. Copa is one of the best airlines in the world it was 2nd in on-time performance. No presentation can live up to the P&G presentation’s energy. For lunch we went to another mall, my favorite mall so far has been the one we went to yesterday. We went to Ceva logistics after lunch. I liked their presentation and what a 3PL does. One thing they said during the presentation that made me think was that it is basically a requirement to speak two languages but three is preferable. So I asked their opinion on which one was the best after Spanish and I got a list so it doesn’t really matter too much just the ability to learn and speak another is what they’re looking for I guess. So I might try to learn Italian at some point since I’ve been wanting to for a while. We were able to tour their warehouse which was fairly similar to Super 99 but there were more boxes of products. We had to leave our phones and everything on us to visit the warehouse, and we had to wear super attractive vests and hardhats, we even had to back through security to make sure there wasn’t any shrinkage. We were told that they had little to no problems with shrinkage. They have three different centers in Panama the one we visited, one at the airport, and one in the colon free trade zone. Since I had to explain to my parents what a 3PL was I guess I’ll explain it here as well this is what I sent them “It’s a 3rd party that a company would hire to run their logistics.” I really like what a 3PL does, in theory it would use the software that Llamasoft produces. I would like to visit more 3PLs. I was so excited to get back and have my leftover pasta but as it turns out, the fridge turns off with the rest of the electricity. So the way the hotel works is you have to put your key in a slot to turn on all the electricity.

Playa Venao Weekend

Thursday 5/25

Today was another travel day so we left around 7:15 and headed towards chitre. We stopped for empanadas on the way at a place called queso chelo they were very good! Kind of tasted like a calzone. Then we headed to Santa Monica which is an agricultural business place and did a tour of their greenhouses. The tour guide we had didn’t speak English so I got to play translator. It was actually really fun and I’m glad I was able to. The owner who caught up with us later spoke English but didn’t intervene or correct me so that was pretty cool. Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 6.32.38 PM.pngHe was a past president of the arkansas alumni in panama so we meant a new Arkansas alumni! We also ran into a guy on the farm from Jacksonville, it was comforting to hear an accent! The greenhouses were interesting. They were water proof and you had to walk though two doors to get in so you wouldn’t let bugs in. It was very humid in there too. Just comes with being climate controlled. Then we hopped back on the bus to continue into chitre. The bus was so bumpy that my Fitbit counted the bounces as steps. But I slept almost the whole way regardless so I don’t have much to say! One thing I did notice on the way is that you can rent a car for a short driving distance (or at least that’s what I understood from the sign). We went by the oldest church in the Western Hemisphere but it was closed so we couldn’t get in to look at the architecture. The outside was still beautiful though! We had lunch at the center in Chitre I had a sandwich and it was good but kind of sweet which was strange to me. We stayed at La Cubita resort and when we arrived we were greeted with cool towels for our necks very swanky. The pool and the hot tub were closed so that messed up my plans to chill by the pool. We did an art class and painted a plate it was kind of like painting with a twist so I had fun. It took almost two hours though and it was right through dinner so we were all hungry! The girls went to the hotel restaurant and had a girl’s night. It was nice to spend time with just the girls. Then I went back upstairs and took the best shower! It had incredible water pressure, everyone had been raving about how great it was and it did not disappoint! The AC was also great so I slept like a rock.

Friday 5/26

We started the day at Cubita with a continental breakfast. It was pretty good, very different than an American continental breakfast. They had cornbread that was sweet for breakfast which is something that I would never have guessed. After breakfast, we all headed to the store to grab the essentials so I grabbed water and oranges. Then we headed towards the Beach Break hotel. That was a bumpy ride! We got there around 2 and went straight to the beach. It was a black sand I had never visited one before. It was a little dirtier than the beaches I had visited before. It was absolutely gorgeous. I bounced between the beach and the pool the rest of the day. We had pizza around 5 and then we went back into the ocean. The waves were very powerful I haven’t ever been pulled that strongly before. The room served its purpose but wasn’t anything luxurious the AC worked great though we all slept really cold!

Saturday 5/27

It was so easy to wake up to the sounds of waves crashing! Breakfast was bread and scrambled eggs with fruit. I think America is one of the few countries that doesn’t have bread for breakfast. Immediately after breakfast i took surfing lessons. I never stood all the way up but got close so many times and had a blast! I got pulled a couple of times pretty hard but learned how to dive under the waves to keep that from happening. The instructor said he was glad I wasn’t afraid of the water it made it a lot easier to teach me. It was worth every penny! I loved it!  After we got done surfing the whole group headed over to isla iguana. The name did it justice. We saw at least 15 iguanas chilling around what was more amazing were the hermit crabs. You could hear them scurrying around there were hundreds if not thousands. It was a wildlife preserve island so we had to take a boat over there, and by boat I mean small trout fishing size boat. It was incredibly bumpy we went airborne every time we’d hit a bump! The water was so much more clear and the sand was more of a beige color. We saw a handful of puffer fish which scared me a little bit I’m not a huge fan of swimming with poisonous things. We stayed for a couple hours and then headed back to Beach Break for the rest of the day. I promptly went back into the ocean with the intentions of not getting all the way in so i left my sunglasses on. Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 6.32.15 PM.pngNot a good idea, I got swept by a wave and rolled right into someone else and obviously lost my sunglasses in that event. We had pizza again for dinner then we hung around the beach and the pool for the rest of the night. The sunset was beautiful on the beach but it was nothing compared to the stars. I was walking along the shore and saw (and heard) waves crashing in and a clear night sky filled with stars. I think that will be my favorite memory. It was the epitome of peace.


Sunday 5/28

We got lucky and didn’t have to leave the beach until 2. So, we were able to spend the whole morning on the beach. After we had the standard breakfast of bread and eggs, a few of us went to ride horses on the beach! They could only take 4 at a time so we split into two groups and my group went second. We used the time before our horseback riding to walk the shore from end to end and look for shells. It felt great to wade in the ocean peacefully. I didn’t get in far enough to get pulled by the waves. We got back to horse riding just in time. I got a smaller brown horse and we headed out along the beach.Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 6.32.08 PM.png My horse enjoyed antagonizing the other horses. He would get up close and nip and them which made me a little nervous but overall, he was a chill horse. He galloped a few times but it was always to meet up with another horse. We returned the horses and had lunch at Beach Break before heading back to Panama City almost all of us took a nap until dinner at the halfway point. We got back around 8:30 and grabbed our bags and headed to bed.

Introduction days

Sunday 5/21

Today was our departure day so I spent most of the time on the plane… well scratch that I spent most of the time in the Atlanta airport. My parents dropped me off at the airport and waited to make sure I got through security which was sweet. We waited at XNA for around an hour which wasn’t too bad. There was a small group of us there so we had the opportunity to sit and talk. The flight was fairly smooth but, we hit a rough patch going down into Atlanta. Going through Atlanta was very easy we were just one terminal away from where we landed. A group of us got lunch at T.G.I. Fridays and it was very good and filling. Then we headed to the gate to wait for a few hours. I worked some on our company introductions and talked with those around me. I walked the terminal end to end and it only took 20 minutes. Then I settled back down and talked until it was time for departure. I didn’t enjoy the plane ride to Panama very much. Coming in to the city an announcement came over that we were going to prepare for landing because we were coming into some bad weather, at which point I still thought we were over water so I was none too pleased. But obviously, it worked out just fine. While we were flying, I could see Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean I wish we had an earlier flight so I could’ve seen it in the daylight but I guess that’s what the flight back is for! I did get to see a beautiful sunset though. IMG_8437 Customs through the airport was very easy to go through it only took us about 30 minutes to go through. Nothing like an American customs line. We all shoved into this van with all of our luggage, we were like little sardines. It was so humid when we first stepped out you could immediately tell we were in a foreign country. We went straight to the supermarket from the airport to pick up the essentials. It was a fun experience, it reminded me a lot of being in Mexico. It was interesting to see how the prices were different. One thing I noticed was that Silk Almond milk was almost $7 when at home it only costs $3.  After the supermarket we made it back to the dorm and got all checked in. I headed straight to bed but some people stayed up a little later hanging out.


Monday 5/22/17

We had a later morning today which was very nice. We had to be downstairs for breakfast by 10. We had some amazing coffee and pastries while we talked about our day ahead which was mostly tourism based. Then we walked down to the plaza inside the city of knowledge to become acquainted with the base. I was dripping sweat within the first 2 minutes of being outside. I didn’t get anything to eat at the plaza because it was too hot but I made sure to buy a snack. It was really interesting to see all the different school children in the compound. It was comforting that when I went to the bathroom there were a few high school aged girls gossiping just like in America, but what an amazing thing to see translated across borders. There was a neat bookstore there with mostly Spanish books. I saw a cookbook in Spanish that I might run back and get. Then we hopped on our bus but it was a lot better without all of our luggage. We went on a bus tour of Panama City and it was very beautiful. Our tour guide Alex was very informative and kind. We got out at a few places. Once at a Chinese monument place that had a great view of the main bridge. Part of the day we were on the Pan-American highway that ran from Panama to somewhere up in Alaska.  It is approximately 19,000 miles long and cuts through Dallas so not quite Arkansas but close. We were able to visit Casco Viejo which is the old Panama City. It looked like a mix between Europe and Mexico. The architecture was beautiful and there were many neat shops. IMG_7905We only got a few hours to spend down there but we’ll be going back next Friday so we’ll have plenty of time to see everything and of course buy plenty of souvenirs. On the way to dinner we stopped by one of the large Panama signs and took a photo opportunity break. We got a great group photo of all of us. For dinner, we ate at a place called Mi Ranchito. Dr. Esper bought all of us a sample platter of  traditional Panamanian (fried) food; plantains, sausage, fish, empanadas, yucas, and some cheese thing. I had jumbo shrimp with the eyes still looking at me… It wasn’t deveined either. I don’t like food that can still look at me. The thing that throws me off the most about Panama is that the sun sets around 6:45 and in Arkansas it is currently setting at 8:30 so that’s what time my body things it is. Its messing up my sleep cycle. So my roommate and I met up with one of her friends from the Panama trip the year before who was here for an internship to walk around the City of Knowledge. Almost everything was closed and it was only 8:00pm. We just walked back to the dorms once we figured out everything was closed. I headed straight to bed. Even though we had a long day it was filled with lots of activities and we have a hike tomorrow that we have to leave at 6:30 for.

Tuesday 5/23/17

This morning was early but it wasn’t too hard to get up since the sun rose at 6:00am. I was trying to make coffee this morning and I couldn’t figure out the coffee maker, there’s no way that I can be doing it wrong there’s only one button. It has bothered me all day. It took us until 7:00am to actually leave the compound. The hike wasn’t nearly as bad as Alex our guide made it out to be. He made me think it would be 2.5 miles straight uphill through the jungle and then the same way back down. It was actually just a paved road up a mildly steep hill that people were biking up. I was absolutely drenched in sweat. The view at the top was beautiful, you could really see the contrast between the old town and the new city, you could even see the areas that were developing. IMG_9490We could also see the canal and all the containers being passed through there. My trainer would be proud of me I stayed at the front of the pack! We thought we were going to beat the bus back down so Alex said we could go to McDonalds until the bus caught up, but we actually saw the bus on the way down so we were able to catch a ride to down. I was starving and dying for some coffee so I ordered the special of the day which I thought was going to be a biscuit type thing and a normal black coffee. The biscuit thing was two hamburger butt buns, a slice of ham, and cheese. My coffee wasn’t black like I thought it was going to be, I think they watered it down to make it an Americano like me. I stayed at the front to try to help everyone else order which was good practice since ordering food isn’t my strong suit. On our way back to the dorms we saw a sloth! It was incredible I’ve never seen one in person not even at a zoo! IMG_7948When we arrived back at the dorms we had plenty of time to shower and get turned around, although my hair didn’t dry because it is pretty humid here. We had our first lecture day at USMA today it was about the Panamanian economy. Economics isn’t my favorite subject so I didn’t love this lecture. We talked about a lot of things related to the GDP and unemployment rates. To me econ is interpreting a lot of graphs. We discussed all the different areas of industry in Panama and how they related to the GDP and how that changed throughout the years. I thought it was interesting that Panamanians invest more than they save because they trust the government. I’m not sure if I would make that decision in the United States. On the way to the bathroom I made a new friend, she knew I was American and lost so she asked in English if I was looking for the bathroom and then apologized because she didn’t speak a lot of English, to which I responded in Spanish that it was okay and she seemed relieved that I could speak some Spanish. She wanted to practice her English with me so that was a neat experience. After that we headed to Albrook mall to have lunch and look around to gather information for our respective “companies” that we were assigned and of course shop. Albrook Mall is the 3rd largest in Latin America so I was a little overwhelmed when I first got there. Just because it was so huge with so many stores. I think we saw three food courts. For lunch I had the hardest time ordering. I have been trying to eat healthier which can be hard when the workers don’t understand what I’m trying to say and when I don’t understand what I want and/or how to get it. I started off wanting a bowl but it turns out that’s only available with lettuce and I’m not sure about the lettuce here yet so I had to do a plate thing. I thought there was a steak type option but it looked very saucy and I wasn’t sure about that on white rice so I got grilled chicken. I didn’t want any extra spicy things or vegetables so at least that was easy “no, gracias” almost everyone can do that. The sauce was another issue I wanted the chipotle sounding one but it turned out to be a black looking sauce so I just pointed to an orange one. It worked out great though, my rice plate was great a little spicy though! Walking around the mall reminded me of the Angelopolis in Puebla, so I wasn’t feeling a lot of culture shock in the today. I wasn’t able to find a lot of stores that centered around travel except for a luggage store so I think our project will take a bit of creative thinking. When we got back to the dorms I went on a swim in the pool here it was only ½ a mile, the pool felt good to splash in but not good for swimming to work out. I stopped for dinner at Sabor Chicken and got a chicken breast with fries for only $5. It could’ve used some southern barbeque sauce though. Im excited for our lecture about the Panamanian consumer, I like learning about how buying patterns differ between countries, so I’m especially excited to see how that relates to supply chain. I hope this points me in the right direction for what I want to do with a supply chain degree.

Wednesday 5/24

Since the coffee maker still wasn’t working this morning I walked down to the coffee shop in the Plaza. I paid $5.30 for an iced mocha, just like being at home, reminded me of Starbucks.  We headed straight to USMA for our lecture on the Panamanian consumer. I enjoyed this lecture! The professor was easy to understand and really funny! We learned about the culture of Panama which was helpful to understand the consumer. Panama is a very young country with a median age of only 29 years. Panama is also a hard place to define the culture, it’s not part of Central America culturally, but geographically it is. Panama became very Americanized while the United States was still operating the canal, the American dollar is used here and there are tons fast food companies moving down to Panama. We also talked a lot about how the Panamanians are different than us, they have a less strict sense of time, put less of an emphasis on manners and lifestyle, and they will take time out of their day to be polite. Personally, I think America could stand to take time out of their day to be polite.  All of this ties into how to market to the average Panamanian consumer. I wish we could’ve talked more about how to use that information to appeal to the consumers. We were supposed to do a cooking class today but it didn’t work out so we had lunch in the cafeteria. I had chicken and rice again. So much rice, it’s probably from Arkansas since we’re a major exporter of rice. After we ate we went to the Biodiversity museum it was nice, but I’m not much of a museum person, I got my audio guide in Spanish to practice. My absolute favorite part was the video that we watched, it was called Panamarama, it was in a panorama and we got to see all the different types of animals in Panama. It was probably one of my favorite museum experiences so far. Once we got back to the dorms I went on a “run” it was harder in the humidity but it was a nice way to use my break before our group dinner. Dinner was fun, we all ordered as a group so the passing out of plates was very entertaining and our poor waiter didn’t speak enough English for that so I got up and helped him. I had shrimp wrapped in prosciutto in a passionfruit sauce, it was really good.




My name is Madysen Bailey and I am a Supply Chain Management major with a retail concentration. I completed my Spanish minor a few days ago and had been taking Spanish classes for 7 years, it feels weird to be done with that chapter of my life, but I am so excited to see how I can pair my Spanish language skills with my supply chain interests. Some of the regions we will be visiting in Panama are fairly limited with respect to English speaking people, so in theory I will get plenty of practice, hopefully in business settings. Fall 2016 I took Business Spanish and widened my vocabulary with respect to business words. I finally learned how to say my major and some of the classes I was taking. My vocabulary up to that point was mostly centered around everyday life and casually communicating with those around me. As a part of our program we will have to send a “Thank you for having us” email to a contact at each business we will visit, I would like to be able to translate and send them a Spanish version of that. I am still not 100% sure what I am going to do with my supply chain degree. I was attracted to this study abroad program in Panama because I believe that it will pull my Supply Chain major and Spanish minor together in a global context. My main goal for this 3-week adventure is to figure that out. Fingers crossed! One of a handful of articles we read for our pre-departure class mentioned a Country Portfolio Analyst and that was intriguing to me. Being able to use numbers, supply chain, and Spanish all wrapped into one. I researched it but it doesn’t seem to be a very well established field. I don’t think I would every want to live abroad; I would like to be able to travel often especially to Spanish speaking countries. I didn’t stray too far from my hometown of Fayetteville, AR for school.

These are my two new puppies Pearl and Bella it will be hard to leave them for three weeks. My mom has assured me she’ll send me pictures of them so be on the lookout for that

The first time I went out of the country I was 11 years old and traveled to Puebla, Mexico with my church, I was able to return last summer for the University of Arkansas’ study abroad trip there. I earned 72 business internship hours and immersed myself in both the language and the culture of Mexico. I worked in a business called Talevera. They produce pottery goods, everything from coffee cups to bathroom sinks. I was tasked with setting up an incentive program for the workers as well as charting which products were sold the most frequently. This summer my group has been tasked to look for opportunities for our fictitious travel agency “Esper” with a focus on helping our management team better understand Panama. This week before we depart on Sunday the 21st we have been in class at the University of Arkansas from 10:00-1:00 Monday thru Thursday. We’ve read a few articles and talked about them. The articles mostly center around a global world/market. I enjoyed debating the pros and cons of globalization on Tuesday, it was interesting to be able to dive deeper into the issues around globalization. Wednesday, we did CAGE (cultural, administrative, geographic, and economic) analysis on the pros and cons of moving operations to another country. We analyzed a medical device company called kiwi. We used an article to bring us background facts and help formulate a design for the new company. Thursday, we had lunch together and discussed our itinerary for the trip and got a chance to bond. I am really excited to spend the next 3 weeks with my classmates and our professors Marc Scott and Terry Esper.  In addition to this blog and our group project we will be graded on our professionalism and our presentation on certain companies that we have been assigned to provide a short intro to. We will also have an exam on our last Friday there. I will try to keep my blogs structured with some academics to start and then personal. That way there’s a little bit for everybody. I hope you all enjoy my writings over the next three weeks. I’m leaving Sunday the 21st at 9:25am out of XNA so thankfully not too early! I will be stuck in the Atlanta airport until our flight leaves for Panama City at 6:25pm there’s only one flight out of Atlanta each day to Panama City so our whole group will meet up there. That means I will be stuck in the Atlanta airport for 6 hours going to Panama so at least Atlanta is a big airport with lots of things to do. Hopefully I won’t run out things to do there because on the way back I will have an 8.5-hour layover on June 10th. I’ve been debated leaving the airport and visiting the Coke museum after I go through customs. Last time I went through international customs in Atlanta their system was down and it took about 2-3 hours.