A new group of students arrived from the Republic of Panama in January. Sponsored by the Panamanian education agency, Institute for Training and Development of Human Resources (IFARHU), this program allows high-achieving undergraduate students to travel from Panama to study at Wilkes. The students first participate in Wilkes’ nationally accredited Intensive English Program and then pursue bachelor’s degrees.
Wilkes has been welcoming students in this program since 2016 and the group arriving in January is the fourth cohort in the IFARHU program. Here are 10 things you might not know about our newest group of Panamanian Colonels:
1. There are 39 students in the latest cohort – the largest group to date.
2. The new cohort brings the total number of Panamanian students pursuing an undergraduate education at Wilkes to 90.
3. The students come from education centers in rural areas of Panama and from some city schools.
4. All of the students are the first in their family to attend college.
5. During the first week that the students were here, they saw snow for the first time.
6. Students initially attend Wilkes’ Intensive English Program to prepare them to take college classes in English. They will study English a year or longer to achieve the level of mastery needed to begin taking classes.
7. All of the members of the new cohort are housed together in Slocum Hall. When they begin taking college classes, they will be moved to University residence halls and will live with the rest of the undergraduates housed on campus.
8. This cohort plans to study a diverse group of academic majors: nursing, engineering, business and more.
9. The University’s Office of International Engagement matches the students with friendship families. The program helps the students adjust to life in a new country and build a support system
10. Education happens outside the classroom too: Students attend workshops focusing on study skills and stress management. They also go on field trips to introduce them to United States culture. These trips go way beyond museums: One of their first trips was to go snow tubing! (See #5 on this list!)