Joined: 22 Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, California
|Posted: Fri Feb 28, 2003 1:41 am Post subject: Panama Info
So I thought this section on Panama needed a little more meat added to it, considering there are only three postings (and they are from atleast two years ago). One thing is for sure, the number of postings that you see under the Panama heading reflects the number of foreign English teachers here (really, I think there are only three...including me!).
So here's the deal with Panama (Panama City to be exact). Its gorgeous, clean, close to everything, the people are nice, there are many good paying jobs, living costs are comparitively affordable, and there are no tourists!!! I mean NONE! Sounds too good to be true? Well, really it is. I haven't figured out exactly why no one has discovered Panama yet (except for the Columbians), but the only reason I can think of is that foreigners are weary about coming to Panama considering the recent history of the country (involving the States and Noriega). Since their history with the States/Canal and with Noriega only came to a (violent) close a little over a decade ago, there are obviously still conversations and sour feelings about it. However, the feeling I get is that Panamanians are very proud of their country and would like to distance themselves from their past with the United States and their infamous leader. One thing I have noticed is the complete lack of specifically American foreigners (I've only met a few, and those few have been here for years or are married to Panamanians). Since I'm Canadian, I can't tell you the reason for this, but I can guess (no American bashing, so don't get red in the face yet!). Perhaps Americans are scared of the reception they will get from Panamanians considering the kind of nasty way they ran the Canal and the Canal Zone, but I'm just guessing. If this is the case, I would say not to worry. Its true, Americans aren't exactly the most liked group of people here (I usually get a sigh of relief when its heard I'm Canadian), but in no way are they openly unwelcomed. Like I said, they are proud of their country and fully welcome foreigners with open arms.
So just to tell you about my situation, in case it helps. I was teaching in Ecuador for about 6 months until January (I left my mark under the Ecuador heading as well). Immediately afterwards, I flew to Panama, not really knowing what to expect. I was prepared to have to move on to Costa Rica (where there are apparently too many teachers and the pay is horrible) if there were no jobs here, but I was surprised and thrilled to find a job the first day I went out looking...for almost 3 times the average pay in Ecuador!! Over the past couple months, I've realized just how few foreign teachers there are. Don't misunderstand though, there are still teachers here. Panamanian teachers. Who speak English perfectly and are good at their job. So I'm not saying there isn't competition, only that foriegn teachers are in demand.
So, I'll leave it at that for now considering I don't even know how many people are considering Panama as a place to teach. If you're interested in any more information, please email me and I will try to get back to you soon.
Posted: February 20, 2003