JumpstartTU - Center for Global Engagement


JumpstartTU is a one-week international experience designed to serve as an introduction to the University of Tulsa’s (TU) academic and campus life through a transformative, intensive experience in Panama.

First-year students enrolled at TU experience JumpstartTU in July prior to beginning their first semester of college.  Core values of JumpstartTU include:

  • building curiosity and excitement about entering college.
  • focus on learner-centered education through engagement with our local partner organizations.
  • emphasis on team collaboration and interdisciplinary discovery, and
  • help students engage with Panamanian communities to discover similarities and differences from our own U.S. communities.

Students travel to Panama alongside TU staff and faculty and work in small teams.

JumpstartTU exposes students to the importance of collaborating with a multitude of experts to learn global issues, the unique biodiversity characteristics of Panama, global trade, world consumption, and the culture of indigenous people and their contributions to Panama.  

Program dates: July 7-14, 2023 (tentative)

Cost: $3,000 * Need-based Travel Grants are available – apply below!*

Includes airfare from Tulsa or Houston to Panama City, accommodations, local transportation, all entrance fees and activities, 3-day field experiences with the Panamanian partners, some meals, local guides, travel insurance. Students will be accompanied by TU staff and faculty.




The application deadline is February 1, 2023.

This is a competitive program with limited spots. Apply early!

Questions? global@utulsa.edu or 918-631-2329


    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 scholarships available. The application deadline is February 1, 2023. Students will be notified of their status by March 1, 2023.

    Are there travel grants?

    Yes. Need-based travel grants are available. High need and first-generation college students are encouraged to apply. Instructions on how to request travel grants are included in the application process.

    Who is directing the program?

    This program is organized by the Center for Global Engagement and the Office of Integrative and Experiential Learning at TU. CGE and OIEL teams 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 whole 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. It is a full-scale campus with new residence halls with 24/7 emergency information, local markets, an open-air pavilion and other amenities. Students and TU staff will stay at the Holiday Inn, Panama Canal at the City for Knowledge.

    Who are our Panamanian Partners?

    JumpstartTU has a number of local partners that we have worked together for many years. Here are some of them:

    • Voces Vitales: http://www.vocesvitalespanama.org/
    • Luna Llena de Tambores: http://www.lunallenadetambores.com/
    • Geoversity: https://geoversity.org/
    • Urban Farms Global: http://www.urban.farm/

    What is included in the program?

    The Program is designed to be a complete-package meaning students will be provided flight from Tulsa to Panama City and transportation from the airport to hotel 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. Breakfasts are included as well as 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 will the students get to Panama?

    TU staff will work with each student to make sure the details are in place. We are currently in the process of airline reservations and depending upon the demographics of the Jumpstart students, we may have two departure cities—Tulsa and Houston. Jumpstart students will be accompanied by TU faculty/staff. More details will be included with registration.

    Do students need to have a passport?

    Yes. Passports can take 6 to 8 weeks so it is recommended if students do 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 the student 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 the passport will expire within six months, we recommend you have it renewed now.

    Do students need the COVID Vaccine to participate in this program?

    Yes. The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and has made international travel more complex. TU has the health and safety of our students in the forefront of all decisions and we are constantly monitoring travel regulations and the best mitigation measures. Currently, Panama requires vaccines for entry or quarantine for 72 hours. Having to quarantine would make students miss a substantial part of the program. Students will have to bring their vaccination cards with them to Panama. Click here for information about COVID in Panama.

    Do students need any other vaccines?

    Please consult your healthcare provider to determine whether or not you need to have any other vaccines. For your information, we do have walks in the rainforest and national parks in the Panama City area. We do not travel deep into the jungles near Colombia, for example.