Sustainability Internships

Location: Panama City, Panama
Deadline: March 31, 2017

At Kalu Yala Sustainability Internships, we work as an independent study abroad to allow individuals to awaken and pursue their career and personal passions through hands-on learning. Our vision, our ultimate goal, is to transform educational standards and be the leading pioneers in experiential learning.

Programs take place in 2 venues: Kalu Yala, a rustic eco-village setting where we’re conducting the research and development to build the world’s first sustainable, modern town, and San Miguel, the closest community to Kalu Yala where we’re working to improve the local education system, health systems, and economy while strengthening local relationships and preserving local culture. Since Summer 2010, we’ve had over 700 students from 23 countries, 46 states, and 240 colleges attend.

Biology based in Kalu Yala
Business & Entrepreneurship based in Kalu Yala
Community Development & Education based in San Miguel
Farm-to-Table Culinary Arts based in Kalu Yala
Public Health & Wellness based in San Miguel
Sustainable Agriculture & Animal Science based in Kalu Yala
Outdoor Recreation based in Kalu Yala
Design Thinking based in Kalu Yala
Media Lab based in Kalu Yala

Interns are encouraged to come up with and implement their own semester project. Some interns choose to do solo projects while others work in groups to make their dream a reality. Along the way, our Program Directors are always happy to help them plan and lend a helping hand.
Examples of intern projects from our programs projects can be seen on our website. A few past projects are:
Designing and building an outdoor recreation park with low ropes course, hillside amphitheater, stage, putt-putt golf course, and volleyball court
Multisite water testing followed by water purification feasibility study (both for Kalu Yala and the neighboring town of San Miguel which currently does not have potable water). We are continuing our efforts here working with the local municipality and hope by working together we can fix this important issue.
Designing, planting and taking care of our 10-acre permaculture farm
Teaching English, art classes and after school sports and science clubs in 4 schools in rural Panama.
Working with the local health facilities to host health seminars and bring in experts to the rural town of San Miguel
Identification and database creation of native insects and plants

Working to build a truly sustainable community, Kalu Yala is based around new urbanism architecture, organic food, wellness, recreation, education, preservation, and conservation of the natural environment. Kalu Yala is located in the rainforest highlands of Central Panama in a 7,000-acre valley that backs up to the Chagres National Park. We’re currently working to reforest former slash-and-burn cattle pastures with our agroforestry efforts while laying the groundwork for the town to come. The internship program allows students and young professionals to come to Panama and gain cultural exposure, work experience, and knowledge in order to create a project that will ultimately help shape this sustainable community.  

Upcoming semester dates:
Spring 2017: January 23rd- March 31st
Summer 2017: May 15th- July 21st
Fall 2017: September 11th- November 17th

Students can apply online by filling in the application form here:

or email me at for more information.

I should mention that our staff is happy to assist students who wish to acquire academic credit and speaking Spanish is not required! We also can work with students on payment plans and seeking financial assistance.

Please let me know if you have any further questions, if you’d like me to remove you from my contact list, or if you think another colleague would be better suited for me to contact in the future. THANK YOU for your continued support in getting the word out about us- your help is greatly appreciated!!

Regards from Panama,

Kathleen Kelso
Assistant Director of Admissions
Kalu Yala Institute

Mission: Our purpose is to give students the opportunity to awaken and pursue their professional and personal passions through hands-on learning.

Vision: Our ultimate goal is to transform educational standards and be the leading pioneers in experiential education.