Panama - Panama City

Partner Organization:  Nuestra Señora de la Merced and Nuestra Señora de Fatima Parishes (Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy)

Location:  Panama City - Panama

Number of Students:  2 students

Dates:  Students must be flexible.  Date will be determined in coordination with the site partners

In person opportunities summer 2022: Yes

Virtual opportunities summer 2022: Yes

Additional Information:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, if we are unable to deploy students in person, students will not be obligated to complete the ISSLP and may withdraw without penalty. For students wishing to continue with the ISSLP in virtual mode, ISSLP staff will work with them to be placed with a virtual international service option.

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  Proficiency in Spanish required
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  None
  • Major Requirement:  None
  • Student Minimum Age:  None
  • Special Requirements: Interest working with children, youth and the elderly.
  • Other:  Experience teaching or tutoring will be very helpful. There will be opportunity for students to create and lead sports and arts clubs, so interest in those areas will be helpful.

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment: 

(The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the Spring semester. Additional training sessions may be added as needed.)

  • First Aid & CPR Training
  • Teaching and Working with Children Workshop
  • Teaching English as a second language.
  • Self Defense

Site Description:  

Nuestra Señora de la Merced Parish and Nuestra Señora de Fatima parishes are located in the El Chorillo neighborhood in Casco Viejo- Panama City.  Among their ministries, the Parishes manage the “C.B.F.I. Nuestra Señora de la Merced” School and the elderly home, “Hogar de Ancianos San Pedro Nolasco.” Nuestra Señora de la Merced school has elementary, middle and high school levels and serves the surrounding community of El Chorrillo.

ISSLP students spend most of the time working at the Nuestra Señora de la Merced school. The School serves students ranging in ages from 2 years old to ninth grade.  The school has a computer lab, music hall and a small gymnasium which can be used for special events, workshops and activities. The elderly home, Hogar de Ancianos San Pedro Nolasco, which hosts around 30 people, is located on the same compound as the Nuestra Senora de la Merced school.

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: Scope of work may have some changes based on the needs of the partner organizations at the time of student arrival/engagement.

This site can be in person and/or virtual for summer 2022.

This section reflects the most recent scope of work for students who deployed in the last few years to Panama. This scope of work may change based on the needs of the organization at the time of student arrival and/or due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The ISSLP students’ main role and responsibility is to enter fully into community life as a positive presence.  Students provide two extra pairs of helping hands to support different areas at the school and the elderly home. During the mornings and early afternoons, students will work at the school supporting English, science, math and computer classes (depending on the students interests and the needs of the school.) In the same way, ISSLP students are expected to help to organize workshops and additional activities related with sports (mainly rugby and soccer, but not limited to those), music and arts in general.

In the afternoons and evenings, ISSLP students can support the activities in the elderly home if there are opportunities available. During the weekends, ISSLP students are encouraged to organize sports and art related activities where the children and youth of El Chorrillo community could participate.  

In 2018 and 2019, ISSLP students assisted and supported teachers in English and Math classes at the school. They also ran after school English classes 3 days a week and organized activities for the boys who live at the school during the weekends. 

During the summer of 2021, one ISSLP student worked remotely with Nuestra Señora de la Merced in two sixth grade classes four days a week. The student offered assistance to English teacher by teaching certain lessons via PowerPoint, adding worksheets to their virtual workbooks, and practicing conversation with the students.

For 2022, students are expected to assist in the classes that are needed and to run again the after school program. Organizing activities during the weekends in the community is an important project that the students can take lead on.

Housing & Lodging Information:

Students share rooms in dormitory dedicated for volunteers and visitors located either in the school’s facilities or at one of the parishes.

For More Information:

Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (Mercedarios)–Panama:

Former ISSLP Participants:

Ashley Burkholder '22 (ISSLP 2020)* (Virtual 2020 Ecuador-Chimbo)
Thinh Vu '24 (ISSLP 2021)* (Virtual 2021 Guatemala VSEC)
*Did not deploy due to COVID-19 pandemic
Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection and orientation process.
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Upcoming Events

October 2021

Application Close | ISSLP 2022
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 7:00pm
Postgraduate Service Lunch | Alliance for Catholic Education
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

November 2021

Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Getting Something to Eat in Jackson
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Mini Postgraduate Service Fair
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Taste of PATH
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 7:30pm
Information Session | Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (PSIM)
Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Dignity and Justice Workshop
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Catholic Social Tradition (CST) Minor Brunch
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:30am
Higgins Film CLASSics | Blue Collar (1978)
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 3:00pm
Virtues & Vocations Presents Howard Gardner: What is Good Work?
Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

December 2021

Signs of the Times Brown Bag Lunch Series | Housing
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 12:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm