I arrived in Panama City two days ago, but it already feels like I’ve been here for weeks. My group quickly got a feel for the area surrounding our hotel and campus, so we will be confident in taking risks to explore new areas. A few of us have already planned out snorkeling, zip-lining, and many many shopping trips for the three free weekends we have down here. I can already tell it isn’t enough time!
So far, the most blatant cultural difference is the driving etiquette. Cabs are constantly trying to go as fast as possible in order to make the most money in a night. Horns are heard every few seconds as a form of communication between drivers. It is really interesting actually, how they use horns to alert others when they are passing, when they are turning, and when they are warning people trying to cross the street.
The class set-up is also really nice. My Spanish 321 professor is also an acting chaperon on this trip, so I can have conversations with him in Spanish while walking around the city. His presence also pressures me in trying my hardest to not speak English with the locals or my fellow classmates as well. It is a great set-up and I know it’ll help me tremendously in learning more about the language and culture than I would have if he wasn’t there.
Welp, I just realized we are leaving to hike a mountain in fifteen, and I have to go lace up my boots (it’s the rainy season). Hasta pronto!