Presidential Leaders Fellowship Class PhotoThe global situation related to the spread of a novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease is rapidly changing. We are in an unprecedented time and have made the very difficult decision to cancel Jumpstart TU in Panama this summer.

This is disappointing as we were looking forward to spending time with you and your new classmates, yet we believe it is the right decision for your safety, as well as for the faculty and staff that travel with the group.

JumpstartTU Abroad is a short-term, intensive experience designed to prepare new TU students for the challenges and opportunities that distinguishes a TU education. JumpstartTU, an introduction to study abroad is designed for the incoming TU student in order to:

  • Build curiosity and excitement about university studies
  • Expose entry-level students to global issues in context
  • Expand their lens on the world and other cultures
  • Build a cohort of friends prior to beginning university
  • And encourage study abroad while at TU

JumpstartTU Abroad is a one-week experience that blends learning about another country and culture with field experience with local NGOs and intergovernmental agencies in order to discover global issues in an international context. Summer 2020 begins the fourth year of Jumpstart in Panama where retention of participants at the University of Tulsa averages 98%.  Students who have attended JumpstartTU report having a cohort of friends before beginning TU, stronger confidence that they will succeed, and an enhanced view of the world in which we live.

Dates: Two JumpstartTU Sessions will be offered. Each camp will have 75 participating students:

  • June 12-19, 2020 (75 students)
  • July 10-17, 2020 (75 students)

In order to apply, you will need the email address and password you used for your TU Insider Account to access the JumpstartTU application. If you forgot your password, use the prompts on the login page to create a new one.


Applications Open: January 15, 2020

Application Deadline: April 1, 2020

Selected students will be notified by: April 10, 2020

Location: Panama City, Panama

Costs: $1,000 non-refundable program fee. Partial scholarships are available (see application).

Total cost:  Cost includes airfare, accommodations, in-country travel, entrance fees, 3 days field experience with NGO or inter-governmental agency, and some meals.

Students must pay their $200 nonrefundable enrollment fee by May 1. Students must pay their JumpstartTU fee by Monday, May 4, 5:00 p.m. Central Time, and accept their place in the program by completing the liability form/conduct code via an online form provided by TU. Notice of acceptance will be distributed by April 10 with further instructions.


Why Panama?  Panama is the epicenter of the Americas serving as a connecting point between North and South America. The City of Knowledge Foundation is a nonprofit city housing over 180 NGOs conducting research on sustainability pertaining to the environment, economics, policy, education and women. Located on the former U.S. base for the Panama Canal, the City of Knowledge is a full-service campus designed for student groups. Jumpstart TU will expose students to importance of research on global issues, the unique biodiversity characteristics of Panama, global trade and world consumption and the culture of indigenous people and their contributions to Panama. Examples of experiences include a three-day intensive field experience with nongovernmental organizations, site visits to Embera Village, home to one of five indigenous people of Panama, the Panama Canal, guided walking tours through some of the most famous rain forests, and introduction to Panamanian dance and culture.  The field experiences provided unique opportunities to engage with local communities and explore the areas outside of Panama City.

Jumpstart TU FAQs

What is Jumpstart TU?

Jumpstart TU is a week long program designed to prepare students for university life prior to beginning their first year as a college student. The University of Tulsa is committed to providing the necessary preparation and skills for incoming students and national research shows that students who are connected with peers, faculty and staff prior to beginning college are significantly more successful in transitioning to college.

How does it work?

Students selected to participate in JumpstartTU will receive detailed information regarding the program by Mid-May. Students will be expected to complete some readings and exercises that will prepare them for the week long experience in Panama. The application process provides information on the process, deadlines, and the scholarship application process. The application deadline is April 1, 2020.

How much does the program cost?  Jumpstart TU is a unique program with proven success for incoming first year students.  Due to the demand and growth in the program, we have created a scholarship model designed to ensure students from all backgrounds have a chance to participate.  TU, in support of the program, subsidizes the program to make it affordable.  For those where the fee is still a challenge, partial scholarships are available.  See the application for steps in applying for a scholarship.

Who is directing the program?

The Vice Provost for Global Education along with a team of 10 staff/faculty are leading Jumpstart. The team TU are experienced in student services and university life and are well-versed in Panama and the partners that we will utilize throughout the experience. There will be TU representatives with the students throughout the program.

Where do students stay?

The City of Knowledge is a foundation located on what was previously the U.S. base when the United States operated the Panama Canal (https://apps.ciudaddelsaber.org/portal/es/foundation). It is a full scale campus with local markets, an open air pavilion and other amenities.  On the campus is the Holiday Inn where for summer 2020 all Jumpstarters and team leaders will reside.  The Faculty/Staff leaders stay at the same hotel so students have 24/7 access.   More details on amenities (wi-fi is included, for example) will be provided.

Who are our Panamanian Partners?

JumpstartTU will be partnering with 5 organizations in Panama City.  Please Note:  Final itineraries will be provided to each student prior to departure.  In some cases minor changes may occur.


MUCEC is a non-profit charity supporting distressed women in Colon, Panama.   Begun in 1985 by the Sisters of Mercy Sister Barbara Ozelski and Sister Dina Altamiranda, MUCEC’s pastoral mission is helping the unemployed and abused women in Colon.  Woman are provided educational sessions on self-identity and feeling empowerment and their children are provided educational day care.  In order to foster a culture of identity and empowerment, MUCEC embraces the motto “Si Podemos” or “Yes We Can.”


CATHALAC is an international organization founded in 1992 and based in the Republic of Panama, whose mission is to promote sustainable development through education, applied research and technology transfer in watershed management, climate change, analysis and environmental modeling and risk management.  During the JumpstartTU Program, students will participate in a watershed education program to learn about their importance and role in our ecosystems and daily lives.


Geoversity is an ecosystem of leaders and organizations collaborating in the pursuit of breakthroughs in human design, enterprise, and creative expression that are inspired by nature.  Geoversity strives to bring about a popular shift in worldview, moving away from values and practices that set humankind apart from nature, toward a fully evolved oneness with nature.  The Geoversity secretariat is administered by the Earth Train Foundation, a U.S. public educational charity, and Fundación Earth Train, a not-for-profit foundation based in the Republic of Panama.


Luna Llena de Tambores was founded in 2010 by Alfredo Hidrovo, artist, musician, songwriter, musical motivator and facilitator, nature photographer and cultural agent of Panama.  Luna Llena de Tambores is a popular monthly festival for Panamanian families that occurs on every full moon night and is magical in that the whole audience (thousands in size) participates in the production by playing the drum.  Hidrovo’s latest project, Music that Heals consists of going into communities of specials needs and social risk where through music and drumming people connect with their happiness which allows them to heal.


Olga Sinclair, following her famous father’s (Alfredo) footsteps, became a world renown Panamanian artist in her own right.  Following her dream to teach children art as a means of countering violence, in 2010 she created the Fundacion Olga Sinclair (FOS) where workshops from across the world teach young children the power of music, meditation, and art as a path way to “artistic impression and promotion of socio-cultural and racial union.”  FOS well-known art workshops have inspired over 85,000 children across the globe.

What is included in the program?

The Program is designed to be a guided package meaning students will be provided transportation from the airport to the Holiday Inn check-in upon arrival to Panama. Transportation is provided throughout the week guided by our local experts and TU faculty/staff. All entrance fees are taken care of and the 3 day field experience is guided by our local experts. Students should be prepared for $30 U.S. dollars per day for meals. Some meals are included including 3 dinners and a closing banquet.

What is Panama like?

Panama is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Being the major trade hub with the Panama Canal, companies from across the globe trade through Panama. In the heart of the rainforest, Panama is a humid and tropical, yet a beautiful country surrounded by the Pacific to the south and the Atlantic to the North. Because of the U.S. control of the Canal until 1999, Panama utilizes U.S. Currency and there is just one-hour difference in time. And yet it is culturally rich making it a wonderful location particularly for individuals experiencing another country for the first time.

How does my student get to Panama?

TU staff will work with each student to make sure the details when available.

Does my student need a passport?

Yes.  Passports can take 6 to 8 weeks so it is recommended if your student does not have a current passport that they begin the process now.  The passport is good for 10 years so it is well worth the investment whether or not your students goes to Panama.  You can get an expedited passport in approximately 2 weeks, however, it is more expensive.  Most countries require a passport have at least six months left prior to expiration.  If your student’s passport will expire within six months, we recommend you have it renewed now.

Does my student need vaccines?

Please consult your healthcare provider to determine whether or not you want your student to have any vaccines.  We will mainly travel in and out of Panama City.  We will take walks in the Rainforest just outside of Panama City (about 30 minutes away) and some of the teams will visit areas near Colon, Panama Port Authority, Portabello, and other small communities in the area. We do not go into the inner jungles nor do we travel east towards Columbia or to the western part of the country.