guess what, folks: in Panama, they speak Spanish. Because of this, you are going to find it really handy to learn Spanish. I am valiantly attempting to learn it myself. Aaaand I have a long way to go — which leads me to the obvious good news: you can definitely get by with English.
Let me clarify: You can get by with English in certain situations, like the moving-to-Panama situation. You’ll have a lawyer and a Panama real estate expert who speak English, and that will get you in the door and settled. From there, we’ll introduce you to so many fantastic English-speaking people, you’ll start to think you might not have to learn Spanish after all.
But wait! Don’t you dare think that! I promise you, from my own experience, that learning Spanish is not the easiest thing you’ll do in your life, but the result is worth it. Even the process is worth it, as you’ll enjoy many “I-said-WHAT?!” moments.
This is why you should give learning Spanish the ol’ college try, even if it’s been awhile since you were in school:
1. A little effort means a lot.
The locals will appreciate that you’re trying to speak to them in their language — which might be the only one they know. I can’t tell you how many more patient smiles I earn when I use my por favor and gracias and no entiendo. Especially no entiendo.
2. You’ll have a much easier time with day-to-day tasks.
Figure out what kind of gas you want and how much money you want to spend. Add a gracias and you will have just given yourself a huge Spanish confidence boost and made the gas attendant’s life that much easier. Knowing a few words will also get you through a grocery checkout line with greater ease, too.
3. It makes your brain work.
Super! Do you even remember the last time you tried to learn something new? Kids can do it. So can you.
4. Who knows when you might really need it?
I’m referring to those rare urgent situations that nobody likes to think about, but think about it for a second: when it’s that important, you’ll want to be conjugating your verbs correctly.
5. This is your home now.
You made a choice to come here — and we think it’s a GREAT choice! You’ll enjoy it here no matter what language you’re speaking, and there are so many English speakers you won’t feel lonely — but you’ll always be on the outskirts of the culture unless you can communicate with the people who were here first.