For anyone who has picked up their life and moved to a new city after you have had fun for a few days or weeks, it’s time to find the essential things to sustain this new life.
A job and an apartment!
How I found a Job and Apartment in Panama City, Panama.
So before I moved to Panama I obtained my English teaching certificate from International Tefl Academy. If you are interested in teaching abroad use this link to get more information InternationalTeflAcademy.
It was a 3-month course. I paid 1,200 for the course. Covid was the best time to complete this course, and I had some government money coming in the summer of 2020. I completed this course to teach English to non-native speakers. I will admit I was a little nervous. I don’t think I was the best in English classes growing up. However, this course was simple and prepared you to teach adults or children in another country. I now have a way better understanding of how the English language works because I have been teaching it for a year. I am also learning Spanish, so my patience with my students is very high, and I understand the importance of repetition. A lot of learning a language is the repetition of all the new vocabulary and verbs. Then lots of practice using it daily and weekly.
So around week two, I emailed several schools and English language schools. Many of them either didn’t reply or didn’t have any need for teachers. I was applying for these schools in late July and early August. Which is practically the end of the school year here in Panama. Schools usually start around February or March. I did get a position at a language school called ELS Language Center.
However, it was only twice a week for 3 hours. Which I knew wasn’t going to be enough long-term but it was a start. I will say as a new teacher I was not trained or even given any advice. I was definitely frustrated but I will say I should have communicated my frustration with this school. After teaching for a few weeks my students wanted a new teacher. I will say I can’t blame them. It was my first time teaching by myself with this type of book and materials. I didn’t know how flexible I could be or if I could change things around or what? I was lost in the sauce trying to figure it out. It wasn’t until after this failed class they let observe another teacher. This was super helpful and he also gave me additional teaching websites to use.
Here are my personal pros and cons for the ELS Language center
- Started teaching very quickly (this can vary)
- Can pay you through Paypal but a fee will be taken out
- Or you can get a check and that’s tax-free
- Get paid every 2 weeks
- Teaching adults
- Give you books and audio material with the books
- Morning and Night classes
- No training or guidance
- Not very clear instructions when starting
- Students can reject a teacher and ask for another teacher no reason needs to be given.
- Can be waiting for another class for at least a month or more.
On to Apartment Hunting:
Apartment hunting in Panama City can be frustrating if you don’t know where to go or look or even the areas you want to live in. This is when renting a room out in an Airbnb was very helpful because I could ask my Airbnb host who is Panamanian about certain areas in the city. Where her apartment was located in the area of El Cangrejo. Which is the area I actually ended up finding my apartment.
I personally love the El Cangrejo and Obario area for a newbie in Panama (Obarrio is right next door). Currently, average rent in this area is $750-1000. I got blessed and found a one-bedroom for $600 fully furnished.
Why EL Cangrejo and Obarrio?
- Close to Trains and Buses
- Lots of restaurants
- Grocery stores nearby (El Rey and Casa de la Carne)
- Lots of convenience shops
- Lots of Nail Shops (D’unas, Pink Buddha, and more)
- Very Safe
- A park (Parque Andres Bello)
- A few places to shop
Other top safe neighborhoods or sections of Panama City for Expats are :
- Avenida Balboa
- San Francisco
- Punta Pacifica
- Punta Paitilla
- Casco Viejo
- Coste del Este
You may be wondering at this point WHERE do I go to start looking for an apartment?
While the most popular place is encentra24. I found my realtor from there because I sent a few messages about apartments I liked. It took a while for someone who spoke English to help me, I will admit. Another place is the Young Expats in Panama FB group There are always realtors on that page that have some good apartments for rent. Also, there is an IG page called Alquiler Ya Panama which has a list of different rental properties around the city as well. The last way is if you are in a hotel or Airbnb to walk around and look for the signs that say Alquiler which means for rent. Simply call the place and see what they have available.
There is so much more I can say but I’ll end this blog here. I’ll go into more detail about job hunting and the full process in future posts. Getting started in a place, let alone a new country with a different language can be a challenge but it is TOTALLY doable and worth it in my opinion.
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3 responses to “Job and Apartment Hunting in Panama City, Panama”
You are doing such an amazing job! You are fearless! Of course it’s difficult to start out as a new teacher–or to start out as a new anything. When you look for future jobs, you’ll have learned a lot from this past position. I think asking to observe EFL classes, even if you aren’t interested in that particular school, would be very helpful. Trying to teach English IN English is a major challenge. Please keep letting us know how it’s going. Hugs from afar, Hazel
Yes, you are courageous and an inspiration. Keep up the great work that you are doing and continue to inspire.
Thank you, Angela! I appreciate that.