Friendships Last a Lifetime : Making Friends in Panama

Leia Schultz is a student at Hofstra University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Leia is currently studying abroad with ISA in Panama City, Panama.

ISA students hanging out at the Panama Canal

I consider myself an adventurer of sorts which is why I was so excited to spend a few months in Panama, a place that is so different from anywhere I’ve lived before. My incurable wanderlust means that I’m always keen to travel to new places, visit local hotspots, try the regional cuisine and meet new people (sound like a familiar condition to anyone else?). I feel comfortable doing these things solo, but even the most stalwart traveler has to admit that friends make these experiences all the better.

So was the case here in Panama. As the semester got under way, I bonded first with my fellow ISA students and made some casual connections with classmates. However, it wasn’t until I met a group of Panamanians — that I am now happy to call my good friends — that I really began to enjoy my time here. I am able to spend time with people who are around my age but come from an entirely opposite part of the world. Although we are from different cultures and backgrounds, my Panamanian crew includes some of the nicest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met!

friends at dinner
ISA students enjoy a Mexican dinner with Panamanian friends
Photo provided by Beatrice Visconti

I am always looking forward to when we are meeting up next because, in a way, they make being abroad feel closer to home. Their local perspective is wonderful, as they know fun places to visit and are so happy to show us their country. We go to movies together, dine as an international group and have game nights! I deeply enjoy and appreciate having the opportunity to spend time with them and learn about what they want to do in life. It’s also cool to hear their views on some of the most pressing issues of today. I’m really not eager to when we have to say our “good-byes” (or rather our “until next times”), but I know that somewhere down the road we’ll see each other again in some corner of the world!


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