±JOIN OUR FREE NEWSLETTER

±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

Expat Experiences

Panama > Expat Experiences

Panama

By Edgington, Boquete

Monday December 12, 2016 (08:55:02)
By Edgington
By Edgington

Who are you?

By Edgington (short for Byron, but no one ever gets it right).

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

Boquete, mountains of Western Panama, September 2016. My wife and I moved here for her health reasons. Also, we want to have enough discretionary income to travel the world and write about it.


What challenges did you face during the move?

Few challenges that could not be predicted: Cultural, of course, language, pace of life, infrastructure not what we're used to, more sedate approach to problems.


Are there many other expats in your area?

One challenge we didn't expect is too many expats, thus too easy to continue speaking English.


What do you like about life where you are?

We like the friendliness of the people, the beautiful environment, the temperate climate, the great food and the lack of noise & disruption. The healthcare system is top notch as well, and cost of living can be much less than in the States. (Emphasis on 'can be')


What do you dislike about your expat life?

We dislike the frustration of not being fluent in Spanish, but we're working on that. A few expats we've met refuse to learn the language, and it's grating to hear them demand English. We're not crazy about certain infrastructure issues - different quality in building codes, cratered roads, no street signs and no addresses, frequent interruptions in electric and water. (Avoid elevators! You never know when the power will fail)


What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Two of the biggest cultural differences are the pace of things, and the seeming lack of definitive information and / or answers on technical / legal / traffic-enforcement / visa info / immigration etc. Ask two questions, get four different answers. Also, the mail & telephonic communication system is quite unique. If you're a typical Norte Americano expecting things to work every time, and to work quickly, you'll likely be disappointed.


What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

First piece of advice: DO NOT move anyplace unless you've spent at least six months living there. Second, DO NOT rely on glossy magazines and disguised real estate promotions. Third, follow several blogs from expats who tell it like it is, not how you want it to be. Fourth, be absolutely honest with yourself (and your spouse or partner) about what you really want. Take off the rose-colored glasses, and look at reality. Fifth, learn as much of the local language as you possibly can. Go to Rosetta Stone, or Duolingo, or a local college and force yourself to learn conversational phrases and verbs, not just 'restaurant Spanish' etc. Sixth, practice patience, and find ways to sloooow down. You'll need those skills. Lastly, read our blog.


What are your plans for the future?

Future plans include more Spanish classes for fluency, travel to surrounding countries - Colombia, Argentina, Chile and others, then on to Europe and Asia, and to bring the travel blog on-line. Byallmeanstravel will be a resource for older / retired travelers needing vital info on costs, healthcare availability, quality of travel offerings and hidden values to take advantage of.

You can keep up to date with By's adventures in Panama on his blog, MEBEinPanama.

 
Link  QR 


Expat Health Insurance Partners


Aetna International

Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

AXA - Global Healthcare

As the global healthcare specialists for AXA, the world’s number one insurance brand, we can help you get fast access to expert medical care, whenever and wherever you need it. All our plans include evacuation and repatriation, a second medical opinion service and extra support from a dedicated case manager if you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our caring multilingual team - we’ll always remember you’re a person, not a case number.

Bupa Global

Bupa Global is one of the world’s largest international health insurers. We offer direct access to over 1.2m medical providers worldwide, and we settle directly with them so you don’t have to pay up front for your treatment. We provide access to leading specialists without the need to see your family doctor first and ensure that you have the same level of cover wherever you might be, home or away.

Cigna International

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.