Hi, my name is Tyler LeValley and I’m a marketing major at UA. I chose to study abroad to improve my cultural perspective and to better understand how companies operate internationally. I primarily chose this program because I did not want to commit to the costs and time commitment of a lengthier program farther away from home. I also think that Panama is a very important country to global trade and logistics in addition to being a very fascinating cultural melting pot. To prepare to go abroad, I conducted lots of research on the various businesses we will visit and on Panama as a whole. In addition, my fellow students and I took many opportunities outside of our shared class to bond and get prepared. For example, about a week ago, we took a shopping trip together in search of clothes and other supplies we would need. Right now I am writing this blog post from the Houston airport waiting for my flight to Panama, and the gravity of this experience has still not quite set in. I feel incredibly excited but also somewhat anxious. It feels like this has all happened so fast and I feel a sense of pressure to make the most of this opportunity. From this study abroad experience, I hope to gain insight about the business world from people who have already found success in their respective industries. I also hope to build upon and improve my soft skills, such as communication. Finally, I want to have fun, interact with the Panamanian culture and people, and try new things.