Brenau in Panama

Expanding global opportunities for students

May 25, 2022
Anne A. Skleder

¡Saludos desde Panamá (Greetings from Panama) Brenau community!

Our trip to Panama included a visit with a group of Brenau students who participated in a service-learning project led by Dr. Kelley Brock-Simmons from our College of Education. The small village and its school were chronicled in “Esperanza Speaks” by Gloria Rudolf, and the students heard from the author in a virtual event earlier this academic year. While reading the book, they also spent time on campus with our students from Panama, which greatly prepared them for their study-abroad experience.

Brenau visits Panama
Brenau students and faculty learned about biodiversity in a visit to the rainforest.

I’m so proud of these students: Keren Kapwadi, conflict resolution, Johns Creek, Georgia; Sarah Nolan, finance, Gainesville, Georgia; Imani Tornes, psychology, Fayetteville, Georgia; and Annabeth Vandiver, elementary education, Sautee, Georgia. I know they will serve as great ambassadors to promote study abroad among their fellow Brenau students!

While our students and faculty gave back to this community, it’s clear that they have gained much in return. Our students and their professor shared with me the many ways this service-learning trip was transformative for them, because they gained perspectives they could only achieve through experiential learning. It’s a great illustration of what Brenau seeks to accomplish through our Quality Enhancement Plan: teaching the world and learning from the world.

An essential goal of the Miller Institute for Global Education is to ensure domestic students travel abroad to gain these experiences first-hand and bring their broadened perspectives back to campus. Goal three of Brenau’s strategic plan, “foster a culture of inclusion and belonging throughout the university community,” includes multiple strategies focused on multicultural and global understanding.

The world is changing rapidly, and Brenau is committed to ensuring students are prepared to succeed while enrolled and after they graduate.

Brenau visits Panama
In the Presidential Palace, the magnificent art depicting the history of Panama also shows the close relationship between our two countries.

This summer’s Panamanian project is the first such experience since the pandemic began in 2020, and we’re excited about deepening and broadening opportunities for Brenau students to study abroad.

I am grateful for all of Brenau’s friends in Panama, including Bernardo Meneses at IFARHU, Panama’s financial aid agency, and Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, Panama’s minister of education, and their fantastic teams. I also look forward to strengthening ties with Universidad Especializada de las Américas and Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá.

I was glad during our short trip for a few opportunities to see more of this beautiful country, including the iconic Panama Canal. The people of Panama truly welcomed Brenau, and it was a pleasure to be immersed in the culture.

Until the next post, please follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more of what’s happening at Brenau.