Networking and socializing is important no matter where you are in the world, but especially so if you’re an expat in a foreign country. Effective networking can help you land a job, secure a promotion, and keep your finger on the pulse of your developments in your industry. Socializing on the other hand, can help you make new friends, find a place to live, and even land a new job or clients as well. Networking and socializing in Panama City is particularly important, as many opportunities aren’t advertised online (although this is slowly changing), but rather are found through word of mouth. So with these activities being so crucial to your happiness and success abroad, I’m going to share some key tips on networking and socializing in Panama City.
Where to go: There are two key spots in Panama City that are perfect for networking and socializing, with both expats and locals: Casco Viejo, and Via Argentina.
Casco Viejo showcases an eclectic mix of architecture from the 16th and 17th Century, and its bars and restaurants are located in some of the most unique settings. Venues are scattered throughout the area, and include a broad mix of local and international cuisine, rooftops bars, nightclubs, live music and shows, and some stunning views across the Panama Bay.
The street of Via Argentina features a lively pub, bar, and restaurant scene, with music, drinks, and cuisine from Panama and abroad. The best area to experience what Via Argentina has to offer is between Cabeza de Einstein (a statue of Einstein’s head), to the cross road of Via España.
On the other hand, if you’re seeking a purely local social experience, Calle Uruguay is where the Panamanians tend to frequent.
What to expect: In general, people in Panama City are friendly, and love to eat, drink, dance, and party, so expect a very lively atmosphere no matter where you go. For social events, people generally won’t arrive until an hour or so after the advertised start time, whereas networking events start roughly on time.
Groups to join: There are a large number of expat groups in Panama City that are perfect for boosting your networking and socializing status. Here are some of the more well-known groups that are free to join:
-‘Internations (Panama City Expat group)’ organizes social, leisure, special interest, and professional networking events.
–YEP!, or ‘Young Expats in Panama’ organizes fun social events for people from any background or age.
– ‘The American Society of Panama’ is a group for anyone living in Panama sharing the society’s values.
– ‘Who’s new in Panama’ is a group specifically for local and expat women living in Panama, who have been here any length of time.
The Canadian, German, and Scottish expats also have their own groups with regular events.