Hello my name is Camila Ramirez! I am currently a freshman here at UA majoring in International Studies & Management with concentrations in International Business, Latin American Studies, and Human Resource Management. I was in GBA 146 when I first heard about the UA Freshman Business Access Program to Panama. Sam Young came in and spoke to us about the program. I remember thinking that this program sounded like a perfect fit for my major and educational interests. I am so excited to study abroad in Panama and immerse myself in a culture I’m not super familiar with. I am also really looking forward to practicing my Spanish and seeing how Panamanian Spanish differs from Puerto Rican Spanish. This trip means a lot to me and I’m so grateful to be able to have this kind of hands-on exposure to International Business. So far to prepare for this experience, I’ve been doing a lot of research on Panama and the companies we’re visiting.  A few of us also had a shopping trip to bond and up our business casual outfit game and get anything else we needed for the trip. Doing that before coming on this trip has allowed us to really get to know each other better and create a good group dynamic and rapport.  Speaking of business casual, I packed a lot of clothing for this trip (arguably too much). I am a very anxious packer, so I pack wayyyy more clothes than I need just in case I need it or don’t like what I was originally planning to wear. So, I’m worried that my suitcase will be over the weight limit when we come back. Also, before going on this trip we did some mock presentations to prepare for a presentation we have to give on one of the companies we visited when we come back to UA. Doing this presentation has given me a really good idea of what questions to ask and how to prepare for the business visits! 

I am really anxious about meeting with such important people, and I worry that I’ll say or do something wrong and leave a bad impression. I am also worried that I’ll be so worried about not messing up that I’ll forget to enjoy the experience. So, for this trip I’m going to work on my mindfulness and make sure that I’m remembering to live in the moment. All my worries and fears aside, I am thrilled to be in Panama! Panama is such a culturally and historically rich country and it’ll be really interesting to see the canal and learn about the canal and Casco Viejo. We have a really awesome itinerary ahead of us and I already know it’s going to be an amazing week! I am really excited to go snorkeling in Portobelo, from my research it seems to be a really beautiful, and I’ve never been snorkeling before, so I’m thrilled to be able to experience that. Of course, I am also excited to learn about international business in such a hands-on manner.