My Return to Panama for a 3 Week Abroad Experience Monday 19 June, 2017

Hey everyone! I have been holding this in for a while now but I am in Panama for a 3 week abroad experience in this country. This is a dream come true. I was here last year for a week, my supposed to be first solo traveling experience, and I know  was going to return.

On my flight to Panama!

I am so excited. I literally just got here and I am ready for this experience. This is going to be different than my other travel experiences. I am actually here to LEARN! Can you believe that? I came here with a serious purpose, not just to say #BeachLife or flaunt my vacation on social media. This is way deeper than that. I am here on a educational journey with the Habla Ya Spanish School to learn Spanish and immerse myself with the culture.

An event I went to a week ago gave me a good sign about my upcoming trip to Panama. A high quality hat store that sold authentic Panamanian hats! #GoodSign

Confession: This is a dream of mine because when I was in college I couldn’t afford to do a travel abroad program for school credit. I really wanted to but I just didn’t have the means. I was a true broke college student, I couldn’t get a passport, I had to work to pay my housing rent and just didnt think I would have the money to travel overseas and sustain myself for a few months. Honestly I wrote it off as I never would get an opportunity outside of college to do an abroad program. Well as I have been steady traveling for the last 2 years consistently. I know now it’s never too late to gain some cultural knowledge.This is my chance now to do what I couldn’t do in college. This is for college-age Kiwi.

Me at the Habla Ya School Last Year (2016)

I will be learning Spanish from the beginning and brush up on all the lost Spanish I didn’t retain from my high school and college years. Honestly American Spanish courses didn’t stick well with me. Went I did the Habla Ya Spanish lesson for 4 hours last year, it was so intense but I felt I grasped more in those few hours than I did all my years of learning in high school and college combined. Plot Twist: My dad speaks fluent Spanish but never spoke it around me growing up. Ironic but true. Maybe it was just meant for me to go to an authentic Spanish speaking country and really get in tuned with the language as well as the culture.

At the Atlanta event foreshadowing my upcoming trip to Panama last week

The truth is guys I love being a travel blogger, but I am starting to see the ‘travel blogging’ industry become pretty elitist. Its turning into a ‘look which beach I am posing next to now’, ‘look at my super luxury hotel’, ‘look at the walls and background I am posing next too’, honestly it’s becoming a travel contest. Do not get me wrong, I love traveling and looking to social media for my next travel inspiration, but its not a gloating game for me.

Landed in Panama City safely

I really want people to be inspired to travel outside the norm and think outside the box. Trust me I do love luxury travel and stay and  beautiful resorts and taking beautiful travel photography, but there is more I am seeking. I want to get to know the cultures, I want to continue to chat with locals, I want to truly feel the country I am in. So for the first time ever I am traveling abroad, alone (for real this time), and going above the vacation route for my travel experiences. I had a beautiful time last year and excited I am back in Panama.

I will be blogging and possibly even vlogging my experiences. You really only live once and I am stepping outside of my comfort zone and enhancing my culture imprint to learn and be receive of an alternate world outside of my privileged American one. Im currently in Panama City now, but I will be traveling elsewhere in this country so stay tuned for my updates.

Check out my posts from last year’s trip to Panama:

Thanks to Habla Ya School for having me as an American ambassador to do this Spanish ambassadorship to learn more about the language and culture for the next few weeks. 

Follow me on social media for my postings and my stories of my journey on all platforms at @kiwithebeauty #TravelByKiwi 

Have you ever did a Study Abroad Program? If So When and Where?

 

 

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty


I am a not so typical, unstereotypical 20something year old lady who is trying to make my mark on this planet. This blog has many aspect through my visual perspective through photos, words & wittiness. I am highly creative, I love to socialize, and also a social media butterfly. I don’t follow trends, I create them.


80 Comments

  • Robin rue says:

    That sounds amazing. My husband was stationed in Panama for a year before we met. He LOVED it.

  • Stacie says:

    I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Panama. I’ve been all over the world, but I STILL haven’t managed to get there yet.

  • Bill Sweeney says:

    It sounds like you had a great time. I love Panama. It’s one of those places you always hear about but can’t truly appreciate until you experience it for yourself.

  • candy says:

    Glad your dream finally came true. Love the colors of the buildings and looks like the accommodations were really nice.

  • Meagan says:

    I haven’t heard much about Panama, but it looks like a beautiful place to visit! I’m going to have to add this to my travel wishlist.

  • Claudia Krusch says:

    I have always wanted to go to Panama. I look forward to reading about this years adventure.

  • I’d love for my kids to do a travel abroad program. What a great way to see the world and learn about it too.

  • Liz Mays says:

    It’s awesome that you’re doing this trip. It should be a great cultural experience. I need to start traveling this way.

  • Ali Rost says:

    Good for you! What a cool thing to do, to go somewhere not just for the travel, but to learn something new. I also love what you said about the world of travel blogging (or any blogging niche for that matter) becoming a elitist. I’ve felt that too for a while, and if I’m not careful, can fuel pressure to always up my game. When the reality is I’m doing just fine, and it feels far better to stay true to myself. Can’t wait to read all about your journey in Panama City!

  • Pam says:

    My daughter has been telling me she wants to visit Panama. She has heard that it is a beautiful country with rich culture!

  • Joely Smith says:

    I am just so happy that you finally had your chance to travel to Panama!! What a beautiful place! I too would love to go. I hear you on being a true broke college student for sure!
    I AM loving that hat too!

  • Marysa says:

    Sounds like such a cool place to visit. We would love to travel to Panama, I’ve heard so many wondering things. Looks like you had a great time!

  • Jeni says:

    I’ve never studied abroad, though it looks like you had an awesome time in Panama. I would love to go travel to many different places, including Panama, but not necessarily to study, just to enjoy the sites.

  • I would love to visit Panama! Love your braids. Pretty

  • It is never too late to learn. I’m happy for you that you get to travel a lot.

  • I’ve never had to travel abroad for a school program or anything that involves education. It’s awesome that you’re finally getting the chance to do what you’ve always dreamed of when you were in college. I cannot wait to see the guides and the updates about your travel!

  • Maureen says:

    I love watching those who go abroad to experience new places and cultures. Looks like Panama is a wonderful place to visit. Glad you get 3 weeks to enjoy it!

  • Amanda Love says:

    How amazing! It’s so nice that you’re on your way to a wonderful learning experience abroad. Sometimes, we’ll be surprised with where life will take us and that’s what makes living so much more worth it. Good luck, and don’t forget to enjoy.

  • K says:

    This is a test….

  • Heather says:

    You know I was the same kind of college student! I was broke and paid for it all myself and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact it’s pretty empowering. I’m glad you have the opportunity to travel now! Enjoy this!

  • Brianne says:

    Wow this sounds wonderful! Have the best time!

  • Paula Schuck says:

    I have never done a study abroad trip. My brother did a study abroad semester to France when he was younger. I think that was wise because his French is very good and it helps him in business. I had zero desire back then to travel really but now I do so all the time. I would do exactly what you are doing and think this is an amazing opportunity for you. Love the idea.

  • Amy D says:

    Wow, so amazing! I learned some Spanish in high school, but I could totally use a class or two! Have a great time!

  • Natalie says:

    I am so excited for you! I have wanted to visit Panama ever since high school. I learned a lot about the country in my Spanish classes!

  • Cheryl says:

    What a fun looking trip and that hotel looks amazing.

  • Kita Bryant says:

    I have always wanted to go there. It looks like a bunch of fun!

  • ricci says:

    I would love the opportunity to go to Panama one day!! Your photos are gorgeous!!

  • Mary Edwards says:

    I have never studied abroad. I didn’t even think about it during high school. But now, I sure wish I did! Wish I could afford for my kids to

  • Jenn says:

    What an amazing experience. I love to travel but have never been abroad. i hope to change that someday.

  • Tess says:

    What a nice place to visit! I never thought about going there, but now I want to. lol

  • Sage says:

    Good for you! I moved abroad seven years ago with my cat and it’s been quite an adventure! I also didn’t have the money to travel during my university years, so being offered a corporate relocation to Europe was a dream come true. I ended up meeting someone here and getting married, but in my first years here I traveled alone all over the place and I’m glad to have had that experience.

  • I have never been there but I enjoy reading your posts about the travels you go on. I am a big fan of learning directly from the source and getting to soak up the culture sounds like a great way to take it all in. I hope you have a great time!

  • I have never been there but I enjoy reading your posts about the travels you go on. I am a big fan of learning directly from the source and getting to soak up the culture sounds like a great way to take it all in. I hope you have a great time and I look forward to reading about it all.

  • Tomiko says:

    Girl! I couldn’t have said it better. This world of instant gratification, I have biggest, I stayed at the most exclusive, I drank the most expensive is not what travel blogging is about and I’m not sure when it became a popularity contest! I’ve never been to i need to add this to my bucket list

  • April says:

    OMG this is so amazing! I love the page on panama hats! Sharing on FB page because I feel like my readers will love this!

  • Fits Slow Cooker Queen says:

    Sounds like an amazing place to visit! Good luck on your trip.

  • Melanie says:

    I have not done a study abroad program. I have a close friend whose daughter did, and she loved it. I think that it would be fascinating to immerse oneself in a different culture for a length of time.

  • This is awesome! I have never been to Panama, but I’d love to travel somewhere like it to learn Spanish better. I look forward to hearing more about your adventure!

  • Ngumabi says:

    I love travel blogging too
    It’s great you are experiencing that right now
    Have a wonderful stay in Panama

  • Pam Wattenbarger says:

    I agree! You can do so much more exploring in 3 weeks than in just one week. Sounds like a great time.

  • I’ve never did a study abroad program, but they look like an awesome opportunity! It’s great that you got to do this! I’ve heard Panama is a beautiful country! Three weeks is a long time to enjoy the sites and to have a great time!

  • Lisa says:

    What an amazing adventure! Our favorite vacations are always learning ones. Being immersed in the culture is an fantastic way to go!

  • Mimi Green says:

    This sounds really exciting, I remember reading about your last visit. I’ve been following your Snaps, I can’t wait to see how much Spanish you learn.

  • Sarah Bailey says:

    Oh how exciting I would love to visit Panama, and can I just say I LOVE that hat!

  • lisalisa says:

    I’ve heard nothing but great things about Panama City. My sister visit a lot and always mentions how interesting and beautiful it is. What a great opportunity, wow three weeks too! Love your hat, so cute on you!

  • Gabriel Bregg says:

    I would love to spend more than a few days exploring another country, this would be amazing.

  • I would love to visit Panama. It sounds like a beautiful destination with a lot to see and do.

  • Nikki says:

    What an exciting opportunity! I’m so glad you get to live out your dream of traveling AND learn something super valuable in the process! I would have loved to do study abroad, but alas, it didn’t happen.

  • Echo says:

    Oh my goodness! Panama looks seriously amazing! I love that Panama Straw hat on you as well. You really pull it off!

  • I retained barely any Spanish from high school! This would be a super experience. Total immersion is the best way to learn. That looks like a great place to stay too!

  • Maurene Cab says:

    Wow! It’s great that you are now living your dream. I know how wonderful it is to have the chance to travel overseas. I’m sure you had fun.

  • Rika says:

    I have never been to Panama. One of my best friends visited Panama 8 years ago and he decided to stay longer 🙂

  • I’ve never done a study abroad program but think they are a great opportunity. The closest I cam was a week in England with two teachers and some classmates back in high school.

  • Neha Saini says:

    Nothing other than the hats attracted me for Panama. I couldn’t see more of the city.

  • My Teen Guide says:

    Panama looks like a nice place to visit for a vacation! I am happy for you that you will be able to learn a new language. Don’t worry, Spanish is easy to learn. 🙂

  • Rebecca Swenor says:

    It sounds like you had an amazing time. I would so love to be able to travel abroad and no I have never studied abroad either. Thanks for sharing your amazing time.

  • Kita Bryant says:

    I have a friend who took some American Spanish classes as well. They didn’t do well for her either. Good luck!

  • Amanda says:

    Panama looks like such an exciting and beautiful place to visit. Are they dealing with some horrible weather right now? I feel like I just saw something about that on the news.

  • What a FUN trip! I haven’t been abroad in such a long time (except for living here in Canada, but that doesn’t count lol)

  • shannon says:

    Best way to learn Spanish that’s for sure. I just started practical Spanish myself at the local community college. I’ve heard good things about Panama. I look forward to following along!

  • Jilly Spellman says:

    I wish I was there right now. It looks like a beautiful place to stay and I am glad you had a great time.

  • I have never studied abroad. How cool for you to get to go now even if you did no get to go as a student.

  • Anosa says:

    I love to travel to all kinds of places that not everyone has heard of and give something different to my blog. I bet oyu will have an amazing time spending 3 weeks there and living like the locals. ood luck with learning Spanish, it is always hard learning a new language

  • roch says:

    Paying for your own school credit is really tasking. I have experienced working so hard to afford my sister’s tuition. Learning Spanish is great since it can give you more work opportunities later in life. I also had the experience of studying abroad for about three months in China back in 2004.

  • I also love to travel! I once considered studying abroad though that didn’t materialize. I also want to interact with the locals and not just stay in luxurious hotels when traveling.

  • Sheri says:

    I have heard a few great things about Panama and |I think |I would like to visit someday. Great that you are already enjoying the experience and I wish you all the best.

  • Alli Smith says:

    What an exciting trip! When I travel, I want to eat where the locals eat and see things off the beaten path and immerse myself into the local culture. I do love luxury resorts, but I also like to explore outside the gates of the resort.

  • candy says:

    Never been to Panama. Really wasn’t on my list of places to visit. Will have to check into more of what Panama has to offer after reading about your trip.

  • Jeanette says:

    I love travel blogs! I have always wanted to do a travel blog! I am SO jealous that you get 3 weeks exploring! I will have to pack myself in your bag on the next trip! 😉

  • It looks like you had a great trip to Panama City! I have only ever been in the airport before for a connect flight, but I wish I had the time to visit!

  • Pam says:

    I wanted to study abroad but I never got the chance, especially with my early childhood major. It’s so cool that you’re getting to do this.

  • Sarah Bailey says:

    Panama sounds like such an amazing place to get to explore and wow getting to spend 3 weeks there is just incredible, enjoy every minute.

  • Lisa Favre says:

    Wow! A 3-week trip to Panama?! I hope your trip turns out to be everything you wanted in an adventure. I agree with you – while I love the glitz and glam of travelling, sometimes you need to change things up and travel with a minimalist approach.

  • I have never studied abroad but I know my daughter has dreams of doing that when she is in college. It looks like you had an amazing experience and love that you can further your education and experience a new place at the same time.

  • roch says:

    If given the opportunity, which countries or places would you choose for luxury travel? Would be you be in a cruise or in a plane? I also want to travel more in the country I’m in because there are still a lot of places to visit. Vlogging your experience is a way to remember moments, share, and to document them.

  • Tiki says:

    Friends have been telling me for years to go to a Spanish speaking country because I will learn more. I took Spanish in high school and I sound horrible. Plus, I keep forgetting words. Anywho, that was an awesome idea. I haven’t quite built up the nerve to travel alone tho. lol

  • Maurene Cab says:

    This is such a great place to visit. I heard a lot of great stories about Panama. I hope yours has also been a blast!

  • Kita Bryant says:

    This is one of my number one places to visit. I am glad you enjoyed yourself, for a second time even!

  • Neha Saini says:

    I have never studied abroad. I would love to visit beautiful Panama some day which is rich in culture. I am so happy for you that you get to go there. Its a cool place to be. Enjoy!


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