The great Canadian Migration
the Globe and Mail, a popular Canadian newspaper, recently published an article titled. Canadians flock to Panama for a slower, affordable life.
At first glance, it was just another pleasant reassurance that Canadians are coming to Panama, but after a chuckle about the uber Canadian headline, I was left thinking about culture shock.
The article started by highlighting the joys of living in Panama which included:
- resort-style living at an affordable cost
- a slower-paced lifestyle
- and tropical weather
It ended by saying, without actually saying it, be prepared to experience culture shock.
Jay Dgé, 46 who owns Casa Swell, a boutique guest house in Coronado, Panama explains:
"Living in Panama includes challenges. If you don’t speak Spanish, basic things such as shopping, hiring contractors, or fixing internet problems might be a struggle. The slower pace of life also frustrates many Canadians."
Ian Flint, coming from a fast-paced job in a fast-paced city, said:
“In many ways, the lifestyle is opposite to what it is in Canada, here in Panama, manana [tomorrow] doesn’t always mean tomorrow. Sometimes it means the day after tomorrow or the day after that.”
What these Canadians living, and running businesses in Panama are talking about is experiencing culture shock. As foreigner you are likely to experience culture shock when you face cultural attitudes that differ from your own.
Many foreigners especially Canadian’s and North Americans experience culture shock when moving to Panama. Often they don’t notice they’re experiencing it until their attitude has been altered.
With growing communities of primarily expats one might hear similar experiences of culture shock, which can lead to the stereotyping. The danger here, is becoming never being able to obtain a furfulling life in Panama.
While article ends by saying "Panama isn’t for everyone," circling back to Canadian winter as a trump card, it might have been more productive to read the writing on the wall.
which is, if you move to Panama be prepared to experience culture shock, because if you aren’t your migration might be short-lived.