Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in Panama:
Back in the US we worked hard to pay for all of our American luxuries. Two car payments, a mortgage, gym memberships, credit card debt and more. Here in Panamá everything we have we own outright, and owe nothing. In the US we lived on packaged foods that were easy and quick to prepare after long hours of work. Here there are no processed, packaged foods as everything is fresh and natural. At first we did experience some culture shock and realized we'd have to embrace the changes of our new life. It took some time to discover how things work here and where to go to buy things that we needed. Once we accepted the changes we could breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy our lives here.
One thing that surprised me about Panama City (in a good way) was its amazing and diverse expat community. I have met amazing people from all over the world, many of who I am now proud to call my friends. I owe most of those experiences to InterNations, but there are other expat groups as well that have helped me meet like-minded expats.
Well, growing up in South Florida I feel like I kind of cheated on that one. The climate and even to some extent the cultures are very similar. I don’t remember experiencing much culture shock when I got here – though funnily enough, I now get culture shock upon returning to the U.S. Every time I go back, I feel further and further removed (and grateful for it!).
Yes, I think we were prepared. We had visited three times, and done a lot of research and also made some good connections with other expats and locals in Panama. We came with minimal “stuff” and no pets, which I would definitely recommend for simplicity. I studied hard in Spanish classes which was enormously helpful, but I wish I had started that sooner.
The first time we visited Panama we decided to explore the Azuero Peninsula. We stopped for the night in a town called Guararé and got a room at the Hotel Residencial La Mejorana. It looked like we were the only guests that evening.
Yes, there are a few things I would change, but not many. The single most important thing I would have done differently is to study Spanish more diligently. That would have improved the quality of my life here more than anything else.
My life in Panama is way more interesting than it was back home in Kentucky. I get to go to the pool or beach year round, I can easily get around not having a car, and I get to work from home. I never really experienced culture shock because I have a really open mind and it takes a lot for something to phase me.
I don’t think I experienced culture shock. Our first weekend was spent drinking beers with local fisherman, and we enrolled in Spanish class right away – which I think is really essential for expats to do.