Cell phone coverage in Boquete, Panama

Blog by Terry Richmeier

The first month that we moved to Central America and stayed in Panama City, Panama. We thought, “What have we done!?” We were without communication to the states! Within days of arrival, we ran up to the mall, purchased some in-expensive phones and minutes, along with a phone number! Now, we thought, we will be ok!

However, I sat on the bed in the condo that we were renting and plugged in the phone to start charging it. (We had to stay in the City in order to finish up our residency.) And realized, this is a local phone with no way to call my Mom and Dad or my friends back in the states! Which I desperately needed to call! I felt lonely and scared!

So, I began to look for different ways to communicate with limited Wi-Fi. (Our condo only had a small phone device for Wi-Fi.) Well, it wasn’t easy, however, we did end up Skyping to our friend who would take over her laptop to my parents and we had set up a weekly. Boom, connected again!

So, my question is, “Is it just a problem here in Panama? Or all around the world? Is my experience an isolated experience based on my own lack of knowledge?”

Here is another story from Amy Kinnear and her experience with a U.S. carrier before moving here to Boquete, Panama:

The Joys of Communicating Overseas. Before getting a new cellphone carrier, I made sure to let them know that it was extremely important that I had a phone that could work in Panama. They promised me that when I went to Panama I would was have unlimited text and data, as well as be able to make calls. It would just be more expensive. I stupidly believed them. A few months later I decided to move to Panama and would be flying to Panama City to meet my parents, for our connection to David, Panama. I had only been to Panama once before and was nervous because my Spanish is horrible. I was not stressing much at first because my carrier assured me multiple times that my phone would work in Panama. I would just call and let my parents know when I got to Panama City, so that we could meet before the flight to David. A soon as the plane landed, I called them. No signal! My heart dropped. What was I going to do if they needed to reach me? “No worries,” I told myself. I would follow their instructions on how to get to my next gate. I had a gut feeling that they were not going to make our connection. How on earth was I going to get to Boquete? What was I going to do once I got there? I had no way to get in their house without the keys, and I needed a place to stay. If my carrier would have worked the way they promised, I could have just called my folks. I did not even have data like I was told I would. So I could not message them on Facebook either. I was able to pay to use the airport’s Wi-Fi. I tried to contact my mom on messenger, but her phone was not working. I had to message my ex-boyfriend, so that he could text my mom to see what the plan was while I was also messaging everyone I had met in Panama last year to see if I could get a ride from David to Boquete once I landed. Finally I Facebook called Manzar to see if Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast had a room available and if they knew anyone I could call for a taxi. It all worked out in the end, but needless to say I am very upset with my ex-provider. I went a few weeks without a local phone, but I felt uncomfortable only to be able to call if I was connected to Wi-Fi. The phones are very affordable here. I have a very basic local phone, but it is nice to know that I can communicate with people while I am out and about, and it only cost about $20!

So, there are several options available for you here in Panama. First, if you are just traveling here, you can get International coverage by contacting your own cell phone provider. Or you can purchase a worldwide usage phone. And another option is to purchase a SIM card upon arrival so you have a local phone number and then purchase minutes through a purchased cell phone minutes card. And also remember that you can buy a monthly data plan which has unlimited data use. This would be good for use wherever there is WIFI and you can connect with family and friends back at home through WhatsApp or contact an Uber or taxi driver without costing any more money!

Now, if you are planning to relocate to Panama, outside of the options that are listed above, you can bring with you a Vonage phone and keep your local number. You will be able to stay in touch with all your family and friends!

We here at Casa de Montaña bed and breakfast know how important staying connected is! We do our best to keep you connected and we can help you with contacting people close or far! So, come and stay with us and relax knowing that you can get in contact back at home!

Language Barriers when Traveling to Boquete, Panama

Blog by Terry Richmeier

We finally figured out some pronunciation issues that we have encounter while living and working at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, Here in Boquete, Panama! For example: the only sound that the “I” makes is actually an “E” sound. There is no soft ‘eh’ sound for the “I” as it the word “it”. You would pronounce “it” as “EEET”. This has presented itself as a challenge for checking in guests that have Spanish Names such as “George’ is pronounced “Hor Hey” and spelled “Jorje”. But it doesn’t stop there. We have met wonderful guests from all over the world and we have, without a doubt, pronounced their names wrong. One story of our friend “Joyce” is below:

My name is pretty much unpronounceable in Spanish, especially Panamanian Spanish. First of all, I learned when my daughter Amy Kinnear was taking phonetics in college, that the letter “J”, as pronounced in English, is very difficult and unusual. Children and second language learners have a very hard time with the pronunciation of “J” in English. Also, the silent “e” at the end of a word is a tough one for many languages.

When we lived in Germany, a lot of people had difficulty in pronouncing my name. I was called a lot of strange things. Germans in the 1980’s, however, were used to hearing such names as “John” and other very English names, so most people were within some variation of my name.

It’s even worse here in Panama. Panamanian Spanish has a strong tendency to pronounce the second syllable of a word. Also, it seems that almost NO names are less than two syllables.

Thus, a name with an unpronounceable first letter, an unpronounced final letter that is pronounced in Spanish AND that doesn’t have the decency to have a second syllable to accent is just not a name that people can say.

We have a friend who is Panamanian, but who lived and worked in the US for over 30 years. His English is nearly perfect. However, when he said my name today, I realized that for those in the know, you could tell from how he said my name that he is not a native English speaker. The pronunciation was just off. It wasn’t some of the stranger variations of my name (yoi-CEE or something even stranger), but it wasn’t JOYCE.

I feel badly especially for my mother Judi Baker Nieman Correa, who used to tell me as a child that one thing she really liked about my name was that it was impossible to create a nick name from it. At least when I was little, she hated nick names and refused to let any of us have one.

Here, I have so many nick names that I can’t even count them all. Any word or collection of sounds that has an “oy” in the middle of it is fair game for being what someone might be calling me.

My name, Terry is fairly easy in Spanish and sounds quite lovely! It’s sound is more like Taary! I love it! On the other hand Manzar is not so simple for Spanish speaking. Manzar in Urdu sounds like Munzer. In English, most people pronounce it Man Zar like it’s spelled. And in Spanish it sounds like: Maanz zahr. So, when you are contacting Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast to find out more about our specials,  or to ask about our Boquete Overview Tour for relocation, or to find out about more about your reservations. Don’t be surprised if we hear something different than you pronounced or originally ask! Our staff and us will listen carefully to your questions and do the best we can to answer you! We love learning about different pronunciations from different parts of the world and we look forward to you bringing that to us!

“Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” in Boquete, Panama!

Blog by Manzar Lari

Yes, you fans of Rocky Horror Picture Show, here in Boquete, Panama, have truly entered an alternative universe. The importance placed on time in the U.S. or other industrialized nations is almost non-existent in this country. People are not running from one commitment to another and feeling overwhelmed.

As expats we hear a lot of the locals tell us “tranquilo” (calm down!) if we come across as quite intense by their standards. It takes some time to get into their rhythm of doing things. Since we own a Bed & Breakfast and half (or more) of our guests are visitors from other countries, we usually need to have things fixed, cleaned or prepared on a much more of a definite timelines since our guests’ expectations are different than a typical Panamanian’s. This can cause some issues. The “tranquilo” thing doesn’t always work for us (as a business) even though we try our best to get into the groove with the local norms on a personal level.

A typical expat moving here as a retiree may actually be able to incorporate the laid back lifestyle much more easily than we have because of our special circumstances. Joyce & Scott, our new Boquete transplants, keep giving us information about their experiences and adjustments with their new surroundings as compared to the Bay Area where they lived for decades:

We are really in a time warp sometimes. Not only are we retired, but we are retired in Latin America (the land of “Manaña”), in Panama (which is sometimes more “manaña” than other places) and 7- hour drive from any sense of business and commerce in Panama City. In our little mountain hamlet, sometimes, as someone in our hiking group said this morning, knowing that the day ends in “y” is all you need!

 

Some days it seems like we slog through the entire day to get one thing accomplished. Other days, like today, it seems like a HUGE victory to find out where we can buy a regulator for the natural gas tank for the BBQ. We’ve been trying to find that thing for weeks, and finally succeeded.

The whole time warp thing was exacerbated to me this afternoon when I walked into the knitter’s and crocheter’s group. One of the women said that she hadn’t been keeping track of the news, but only was wondering if the US was at war with North Korea yet? Everyone assured her, that as far as they knew, some hours previous to our meeting, we were not at war. Then the group got down to the more serious discussion of what to do about Panama’s latest restriction on importation of medications from the US, what types and colors of yarn went together well and who was traveling to where in the next few months? There was an interesting little side argument between a couple of the US women and an Australian about whether medications are more expensive in the US, Australia or Panama, but it lacked any fire of intensity.

In our little time warp, today we forgot to go to an event downtown this evening. We forgot to go, because the evening was so lovely that we walked down the street to sit and chat with neighbors on their front porch for an hour or so. It was lovely. I couldn’t help feeling like we were really in a time warp—instead of spending a couple of hours on my Friday evening slogging through traffic on the highway stressing about work and politics, instead I was missing a dance by sipping wine and discussing life for a leisurely evening.

One of the appeals for either visiting or moving to Panama is the laid back and happy attitude of the locals. They truly know how to have fun and they are really welcoming of visitors and expats to their community. It is especially true of the people of the Chiriqui province where Boquete is located. Most expats we know have embraced this lifestyle and by all accounts seem to be much happier as well.

Let us help you relax and do the tours and activities you want according to your timeline! Please check out our “Exploring Boquete” tab on our website and book directly with us for your upcoming vacation. See you soon!

Is it worth taking the journey to Panama? Yes it is!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

I feel old! The first thing that Joyce said when she wrote about her trip back home to Boquete, Panama, from the U.S.!

The fact is that you can indeed arrive in one day to Boquete, Panama, where Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast is located. However, unless you get a head start in the morning, you may lose your sleep schedule if you are taking a red-eye flight and you may need a day or two to feel “normal”. Is it worth it? Or would it be better to make the journey slower (stop along the way)? Take the time to see what is best for you as you read a local Boquetenian, Joyce’s, recent journey:

I feel old. The trip back to Panama from Reno just exhausted me. We had a late afternoon flight to Las Vegas, which was 30 minutes late (quite a trick for a 75 minute flight). After getting our luggage in Las Vegas, we had a short night at a hotel (getting up at 1:30 am) to catch our far too early flight to Panama City.

After the 6-1/2 hour flight, we got our luggage again and went through immigration, where we had our own line as “foreign residents”! Luggage was a crazy scramble. The current terminal in Panama City is just too busy. They are building another one, but until it is finished, things are busy, busy, busy at Tocumen International Airport.

A really friendly guy–a former contractor for the US at the military bases, when the US was in Panama–drove us to the bus terminal on the other side of Panama City. We then got on a bus which left immediately for David. Of course, this bus stopped at every hamlet in the country, and we arrived in David about 11 pm.

Fortunately, we were able to get a taxi relatively quickly, and we were home by midnight. Still, it was an exhausting trip, and a couple of days later, I still have not returned to a normal sleep schedule.

You know it can be done! You can get directly to Boquete from most places around the world. But is it worth it? Several people travel from Europe and other faraway places across the globe. They do indeed have an adjustment to make with their sleep schedules, and yet, they endure the journey to get to explore the exciting trails, beaches and activities that Panama has to offer. There are also many activities in Panama City and other locations inside of Panama to see and accomplish, so take your time. If you need an adjustment or feel sleep deprived, we can offer you an excellent bed and an in-room massage. Arrive safely to Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast! Contact us now or book through our website where we offer specials and savings.

 

Panama Relocation versus Living elsewhere: What do we miss?

blog by Terry Richmeier

If you are thinking about relocating to Boquete, Panama, then you will have to think about what you may miss about living in your own country. We here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast have experienced this ourselves! When you are here in Boquete, you do miss things from your previous home, and when you fly back to see family and friends, you miss things from Boquete. And so have other expats. Here is recent transplants Joyce and Scott’s thoughts:

We have been on a trip back to the Western part of the US for a couple of weeks and will be headed back to Panama soon. So, the question—what have we missed from the US (besides family and friends and our amazing conversations we’ve had the past couple of weeks), and what are we missing now from Panama?

Well, I have missed dry weather. It’s wet season now in Panama, but hot and dry in the Western US. I love hot and dry weather, and I’ve been soaking up the sun. Also, it’s cherry, sweet corn and stone fruit season here, and I’ve been eating as much corn, cherries, peaches, nectarines and especially apricots as I can fit inside for

the drought that we will have when we return to Panama.

It’s been nice to go to a Michael’s arts and crafts store, too. For someone as interested in yarn and painting as I am, having a specialty store in every town is nice. Of course, we have missed San Francisco, the Sierra Nevada mountains, the summer flowers in the US and so much more.

What are we really looking forward to when we get back to Panama? Of course, the people are the most important thing, and we have a number of friends we are looking forward to seeing.

Food also is near the top of this list. We were at Safeway just yesterday and saw super, super green pineapples for $3 each. They didn’t smell like pineapple at all and looked tasteless. I will be glad to see the vendors and their $1 pineapples when we return. The constantly good coffee will be wonderful to return to, as well. We’ve had some nasty stuff at hotels and buffets here (not from our friends, of course!), and I am so looking forward to consistently wonderful coffee every morning—especially when served with the hojaldras downtown (they’re like sopaipillas for you New Mexicans).

It will be lovely to do all of this just after a hike through the green and beautiful mountains filled with hibiscuses and other flowers in and around Boquete.

Life is what you make it, and every place in the world is special and beautiful. The more you travel, the more you feel at home everywhere, but miss other parts of the world that you have grown to love.

We couldn’t have said it better or any differently! For us at Casa de Montaña, we miss family and friends the most! And the only way to solve that problem is for you to come and visit your family and friends here in Boquete, Panama. Give us a look, come and stay with us at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast. Surprise your loved ones with a visit and take care of that special place in the hearts of your loved ones that only you can fill!

 

We are feeling a bit bugged (in Boquete) and want to inform you as to why!

blog by Terry Richmeier

Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast  has been open for 3.5 years now and we feel fortunate enough not to have experienced any scorpions, spiders, or snakes inside our Bed & Breakfast! That’s saying a lot considering where we live! Tropical climate attracts and sustains a wide variety of creatures.

A couple that stayed with us, just made the move to Boquete, Panama. They purchased a home high on the mountaintop and made a list of the top bugs that “bug” them. Read below:

By Joyce Kinnear

The things a person learns about bugs when moving from a temperate/arid climate to a tropical one:

 

  1. It is hard to tell a centipede from a caterpillar when it is crawling on your neck.

2. Many bugs dislike the smell of cinnamon and lavender, which is why my doorways look like witch’s circles with cinnamon around them, and my cleaning supplies are all lavender scented.

Bar of natural aromatherapy soap with dried lavender and essential oil

 

 

3. The dilemma is real about spiders in the house–they kill bugs, BUT they can also bite you. When they are crawling all over the house, which is worse?

 

4. Scorpions are, in fact, pretty damn ugly, whether small and in your bed or large and in a bathroom.

  1. Beetles/June bugs are unbelievably stupid, but loud, when they fly around the house, noisily bumping into walls everywhere, crashing and then doing it again.
  2. Moth balls serve a purpose, as you can tell when the only thing with light in your house is the cell phone, and you become a moth attracter of amazing capabilities.
  3. Ants are the worst possible pests–the leaf cutters that can destroy a plant before your eyes, the little black ones that crawl all over your feet and into your shoes and leave stings that itch and hurt for weeks, or the little red ones that feel like hypodermic needles are injecting you.
  4. Coffee flies are practically microscopic, but the sting hurts and itches for at least 3 weeks.Our thoughts on these bug problems:
    1. Why does it matter if it’s a centipede or caterpillar? Some species can be poisonous here. That said, having any bugs crawl on you is creepy!
    2. You can make an all-natural lavender scented mix to spread around your house.
    3. No spiders – EVER! Enough said.
    4. Scorpions tend to be in the mountains and are not found in the area we are located.
    5. These guys don’t hurt anything, they just look creepy. That said with full knowledge of not having them in our Bed & Breakfast or near us.
    6. There is a season when the moths are flowing through the town. Still we haven’t seen them inside our Bed & Breakfast.
    7. Then only ants we seen are so small you can hardly see them. We exterminate frequently.
    8. Coffee Flies go for blood! They are all over tropical areas. That said, they usually bite at dawn or dusk.We here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast, believe that the bugs are not to be bugging our guests! We spray frequently inside and out to prevent them from making their home inside ours and on you! You will be able to rest peacefully knowing that we are on the job of de-bugging your life and travels here in Boquete, Panama. Come and stay with us and don’t be bugged!

Traditional costumes of Panama and some Central & South American countries

Blog by Maria Isabel Zapata.

I am a fashion lover.  It is my passion and everything about it lights my world and gets me so excited that I can’t get enough! I believe that the way we dress is the way we present ourselves to the world. It shows our personality, and our culture. Clothes really say a lot about us, and they can say a lot about a country too.  Which is why I think our traditional costumes are so important, they are our heritage and how the world sees us. Also, they are the easiest and most fun way to learn our history.

IMG_3014
Being here in Panama has exposed me to even more varieties of traditional costumes. Panamanians are so proud of their “Pollera” that they take every opportunity they have to put it on and walk around proudly in it. They even get started at a very young age – my kids are having “baile tipico” classes at school right now and they look so cute!

So I thought, why not talk about the traditional costumes of the Americas?

This was a hard decision for me, since Europe and Asia have amazing traditional costumes, I would love to talk about them all! But it would turn out to be a book! So I will focus on the countries near Panama. Also, most of the countries have different type of costumes depending on the region (Caribbean, Andean, etc) so I picked the ones I found most interesting:

Honduras

Honduran typical dress is really different because they have colors that vary a lot. It is their design that is able to make it unique and different from any other country. The colors of the costume of the woman vary a lot. You can choose from strong shades to soft and pastel combined with decorations that are present in both the skirt and the shirt. The fabric is highly decorated achieving a completely perfect and detailed look. Necklaces are a very important accessory for women of Honduras because they give tham a look characteristic of Central America. Women usually get a flat hat the exact size of their head to finish off the ensemble.

The men wear a completely white outfit that is characterized by being a little loose. The shirt can be decorated with some colored embroidery. Men wear elegant black shoes that highlight the contrast between the white embroidered outfits and the shoes.

trajes_tipicos_de_honduras_opatoro

 

Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s “mestizaje costume” show the ostentatious Spanish influence in the garments of the villages. The woman wears a colorful skirt and sequined suit that fits the body, nicaraguawhich is also known as “luxurious Indian costume”. This is accompanied with a hat crowned with arrangements of feathers and a fan also of feathers. The man wears a white shirt with a dark coat decorated with sequins; a hat with the wing folded in front and with a red flower, plus several strips of colors falling backwards, and embombado underwear, white stockings and slippers.

nicaragua2The Peasant costume of Nicaragua is very different. These costumes depict two characters representing a man and a hard-working woman in the North of Nicaragua. The woman wears a skirt fitted snugly to her body, with a handkerchief in the waist, long sleeves cotona, handkerchief on the head, earrings and a pot of black mud in her arms. The man wears white long trousers, white cotona (or other light color) and a neckerchief, as well as a gourd for water and a Northern hat.

 

 

 

 

Costa Rica

The traditional costume for women of Costa Rica consists of a multi-layered dress. It is wide and with vivid colors. The hairstyle has braids and is decorated with flowers. Women wear sandals on their feet. As for men, there is generally a suit of basic finishes and without much adornment but in vivid colors. They use a scarf and a belt of the same color to finish off the ensemble.

421-trajes-tipicos-costa-rica

Mexico

Charros Mexicanos: The typical charro wears a tuck borough shirt with buttons, a bow tie, suede or Casimir pants, a sack, buttons made in alpaca and a “gala” hat. The pants have some variants: chaps, calzoneras, tapabalazos which are made of pelt or jargon. The more formal attire is tighter with silver buttons.
Sometimes they carry a short sack made of suede or casimir with frog closures of silver and a cotton shirt, usually white. Knitted in palma, the hat is lined with felt and is wide-brimmed and medium crown with four slits called “stoned”. In addition to this outfit, the charro carries also a belt, a sword, a gun, a rope, and spurs. The charro is covered with a striped wool zarape of many colors.

charros mexicanos fotos-semana-trajes-tipicos-mexico-charros

Chiapas:
I particularly love his one. It is really beautiful and colorful and it looks like it has a lot of work done on it! The costume is eye-catching and elegant. For example, at the capital of the State, Tuxtla, you can admire all the variety of costumes that are used throughout the territory. An example of gala is the dress with wide skirt which is filled with flowers of different colors and they are hand embroidered with silk thread. Hand embroidery on black tulle, is completely handmade by Chiapas women who take pride in making their creations.

mexico traje tipico chiapas mexico

Colombia:

This is a special one for me since I am from Colombia off course! I remember when I was a kid and we had a beauty pageant at my school and I had to dress in the traditional costume. I also remember my school dance where we danced cumbia which is the traditional music of Colombia (plus vallenato and porro).

IMG_3916

Colombia is a big country divided in 6 regions due to their climate, therefore the typical costumes can vary in every region. I am from the Andean region also known as “zona cafeteria” (coffee state), Antioquia to be more specific.

Theantioqueño” typical costume comes directly from the muleteer men, colonist of the XIX century and from the coffee picker women.

Male costume consist of the “sombrero antioqueño” which Is a  white hat with black ribbon; also the poncho or ruana depending on whether the climate is cold or hot; the “carriel”(man purse used by the peasants) , machete and “alpargatas” (espadrilles).
The female costume of the typical Antioquia consists of a long black skirt with some colorful prints, a white blouse and hat, all decorated with many flowers and embroidery.

343-trajes-tipicos-colombia colombia2

Chapolera:

 

This dress’s name comes from a species of butterfly known as the Chapora, which migrates to the coffee farms in times of collection.

The woman’s usual attire is a scarf knotted to the head. The blouse has great Hispanic influence, it has ruffles in the chest, is white, with high collar and adorned with pleats, ruches, lace and embroidery. Blouses are usually short sleeves with lace at the fist; when the sleeve is long it has lace at the elbow. The skirt can reach 20 cm above the ankle, and is made of flowered cotton fabrics. At the bottom it has one or two ruffles and always uses petticoats and an apron.  The footwear is called espadrilles. Typically a woman has her hair in braids and tied with ribbons, with long earrings and a large flower in her hair. A basket complements the dress and is fastened to the waist. The basket was originally used to transitionally hold the coffee grain the chapolera collects directly from the branch of the coffee plant. The apron protects the dress of the friction of the basket and the humidity of the honey flowing from the ripe coffee grain.

chapolera manuela_reina_chapolera__1_

 

Peru

ropa-de-peru-nenes

Peruvian men often wear the poncho and it has bright colors. There are many different kinds (depends on the region) and are used depending on its purpose. Although there are men who use it every day, typically they use it for special events.  It is also very common in Peru for men to wear hats with some special bands called “centillo”. They are colorful and very festive. The most popular hat is chullo which is handmade. It is knitted with lappets and tassels. The hat is made of alpaca, llama, vicuña or sheep’s wool. Pants are simple and made of alpaca, llama or sheep’s wool as well. The shirts are colorful and often have geometric ornaments and designs printed with animal drawings.
peru peru2

The main parts of the clothing typical of women in this country are ponchos, dresses, blankets, skirts, coats and hats. Each costume or piece of clothing differs greatly between one region and another, because this way they can show the peculiarities of each city or town. For example, people ascertain if a woman is from a village or town by looking at her hat or if she comes from a rich or poor family. Women tend to wear cloths in the shoulders, which are rectangular pieces of hand-woven fabric. Both men and women wear ajotas (shoes made from recycled truck tires) which are made at home and are very cheap

Panama:

Panama’s typical costumes are some of the most elaborated and rich costumes. One such costume is called “Pollera”. It has several variations, depending on the region and the kind of festivities.  Here is a photo of it. Since Panama deserves its own blog, it is to be continued in a future blog…………..!!!

Here at Casa de Montaña Bed and Breakfast you get to know so many cultures, come and stay  with us and begin your cultural adventures!

trajespanama

A Panamanian’s perspective: Positive things about learning English & Spanish

By Eliecer Andres Lay

Learning a second language can bring positive results to your life. English is the most spoken language in the world and is becoming a fundamental part of Panamanian life as well. In Panama, several companies are hiring people who are bilingual. Spanish as well is becoming of greater importance in the world. For example, people from different countries are moving to Panama and other countries in Central / South America in greater numbers. It’s no wonder that Spanish is a popular second or third language. Even though learning a new language can be challenging, it can be done! I did it. Here is my story:

My aunt who has been living in the US for about 23 years, asked me if I wanted to go to the US right after I graduated from high school, so I could learn more about the US, their culture and also to get better with my English. When I first moved to the US, I took an English course for about 2 years. It made communicating and making friends much easier.

I learned more about American culture and it was fascinating to live in a different country. I had the opportunity to join my college soccer team, and it was imperative to know English. The team was made up of students from different cultures and countries.

Learning English and Korean was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. Now I communicate with people from different countries and there are more opportunities available to me since I am trilingual, plus now I am able to travel to English speaking countries with great ease.

From an article in Why Learn Spanish?se habla español

Who’s learning Spanish these days? For starters, residents of the United States, a bunch not known for conquering monoligualism, are studying Spanish in record numbers. Spanish, too, is becoming of greater importance in Europe, where it often is the foreign language of choice after English. And it’s no wonder that Spanish is a popular second or third language: with some 400 million speakers, it’s the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world (after English, Chinese and Hindi/Urdu), and according to some counts it has more native speakers than English does. It is an official language on four continents and is of historical importance elsewhere.

The numbers alone make Spanish a good choice for those wanting to learn another tongue. But there are plenty of other reasons to learn Spanish.

Excerpts from an article on learning a second language:biblioteca

Learning to speak a second language well may be the best thing you can do to improve your life.

  • Get access to knowledge through the web and books:The web has over a billion pages of information and books on any subjects from all over the world.
  • Communicate with people:In regards to English, one billion people in the world are learning it. 75% of the world’s letter and post cards are written in English and almost all conferences and competitions are conducted in English.
  • Push your career forward: If you want a good job in business, technology, or science, get out of that armchair and start learning a second language now! (If you already have a good job, start learning before you lose it!)
  • Travel: when you are traveling to Panama, the native language is Spanish. However most Panamanians would be able to converse with limited English. It is not necessary to be perfect at it, but at least you need to know how to communicate with people.
  • Culture: when you are in another country, it is important to familiarize with the culture more. You can do some research about the country you want to visit before you travel there, that would get you an idea about their costumes, food, people’s attitudes and more. It is important to know at least the basics of their language, so you are able to order food or ask for common questions.

Andres is a full-time student at Universidad del Istmo in David, Panama, and is also employed at Casa de Montaña

%d bloggers like this: