Going to Panama was truly a once in a lifetime experience and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I had the most amazing cohort ever and I learned so much from everyone and grew over my time in Panama. Although it was only a week, it felt like a year and a day simultaneously.  I want to start by addressing some of the concerns and hopes I had in my first entry. Being able to practice my Spanish in an environment where oftentimes people didn’t know English was really fun. Usually when I’m talking in Spanish I switch to a sort of Spanglish, and I couldn’t use English as a crutch when I was speaking over there. Although it was a little difficult to find the right word sometimes, I think I did a really good job of conveying what I wanted to say in a way that made sense. It was also interesting seeing the cultural differences between Puerto RIco and Panama. All in all, they were relatively similar in a lot of ways. The food was very similar, and they just had different names for certain foods. The architecture was also the same, due to the Spanish colonialism of both areas, there were many similarities in every aspect of life. I was also really tired returning from the trip, so I made sure to get a ton of rest when I came back (I slept for almost 12 hours straight!). Also, my suitcase was within the weight limit on my way back! I did a really good job of cramming things into my carry-on to alleviate weight from my checked bag. So if you study abroad, really take advantage of your carry-on and personal item!!! 

 During the week I got even closer to the people on the trip with me and I can truly say they are all such amazing people, and I can’t imagine the trip without them. I also learned a lot about myself throughout this trip! I learned that I much prefer taking things in and taking time to appreciate them instead of hustle and bustle. I also learned to believe in myself a little more and not be afraid of taking up space. Some advice I’d give to someone studying abroad is to stay in the moment and take advantage of everything! I think that there was definitely some things I missed out on because I was tired or afraid of the unknown. Don’t be afraid to go out there and explore!  

One last thing: a big thank you to the amazing people pictured in this photo! This experience wouldn’t have been as amazing without my Panama Pals <3.