Panama IFMSA-Panama
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Panama (IFMSA-Panama) - Panama City

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Hurtado Katiana
Amanda Gonzalez
Andrea Alemán


Bridge of the world

We are waiting for you, take the chance of living the experience of your lifetime...
Remember you will be here for a month but Panama will always live in your heart.


Panama, officially called The Republic of Panama, with a population of only 4 millions Panamanians. Is a beautiful small country in Central America located between Costa Rica and Colombia. There are several theories about the origin of the name Panama, but in general we say that the word Panama means "abundance of fish, trees and butterflies"

Panama was inhabited by several indigenous tribes prior to settlement by the Spanish in the 16th century. Panama independence from Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia. With the backing of the United States, Panama separated from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.

The Panamanian health care system is administered by two different entities:
  • Ministry of Health ("Ministerio de Salud" or MINSA)
  • Social Security Fund (Caja del Seguro Social or CSS)

If you come to Panama for your Professional Exchange you would go to one of this hospitals depending on the department your on:
  • Hospital Santo Tomas: run by the Ministry of Health is the main hospital for our clinical incomings (except for Pediatrics clerkships), it is located in the heart of the Panama City just in front of the Panama Gulf. We offer the clinical clerkship of Surgery, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, GynObst and Pyshiatric.
  • Hospital del Niño: it is where our Pediatrics clerkships take place. Also ruled by the Ministry of Health and located just beside Hospital Santo Tomas, in front of the Panama Gulf.
  • Instituto Oncologico Nacional (National Cancer Center) or ION: It is a Hospital and Research Center, dedicate to the cure and research of cancer. We started our contracts with this hospital recently.

In Panama City we have 5 Universities where you can study medicine.
  • Universidad de Panama (Panama University) or UP
  • Universidad Latina de Panama (Latin University of Panama) or ULAT
  • Columbus University (COLUMBUS)
  • Universidad Interamericana de Panama (Interamerican University of Panama) or UIP
  • Universidad Americana (American University) or UAM
  • Universidad Autonoma de Chiriqui (Autonomic University of Chiriqui) or UNACHI

  • Metrobus: this are buses which travel across the main streets of Panama City. It cost 25 cents per ride, which has to be paid using a rechargeable card.
  • Metro: There is only one line that connects Albrook Mall to San Isidro. You need to buy a rechargeable card to use it. (wich is the same as the metrobus).
  • Diablos Rojos buses: the old buses that still travel across the city, they are not very secure and this must be the last choice you have in order to take one. It also cost 50 cents per ride and you pay it with cash.
  • Taxi: All the taxis are painted in yellow so they are unmistakable. There are private taxi companies where you can call and the taxi picks you up wherever you are.
  • UBER or Cabify: as the other countries, you can download the app to go to any point in the city. With UBER you can paid with cash or credit card, but with Cabify you can only pay with credit card.
  • Walking: You can walk around the city if the place is close to where you are. In this case you should put on some sunblock.

Usually the Social Program it is organized depending in the number of the incomings we have in one month. The months when we organized more National Activities are in January, June, July and August.

We also developed an online informative magazine in which we detail the top ten things you need to know about Panama before, during and after doing your clerkship such as: transportation, malls, provinces, beaches and touristic places you must go while you staying in Panama. We also provide a calendar of activities for a full Panamanian experience that includes: transportation, cost, time, location and place that can you can visit. 

  • Panama Canal: This is the number one thing you need to do. Only 20 minutes from downtown Panama City is the Visitor Center at the Miraflores Locks. The center includes a museum with interactive exhibits about the history of the Canal, heroes, the ecosystem, as well as an excellent film about the construction of the Canal. 
  • Panama la Vieja Ruins: is the remaining part of the old Panama City and former capital of the country. It is located in the suburbs of the modern city. Was found in 1519 and destroyed in 1671 by the pirate Henry Morgan. 
  • Casco Antiguo: A walk in the morning or noon in Casco Antiguo it is perfect to know the historic buildings, churches and the beatiful streets of this old city. Completed and settled in 1673, it was built following the near-total destruction of the original Panamá city.
  • The Amador Causeway: The Amador Causeway was created to connect four small islands using rocks extracted from the construction of the Panama Canal and serves as a breakwater for the Panama Canal´s Pacific Entrance. Here you can visit the Biodiversity Museum design by the architec Frank Gehry.
  • San Blas Islands: this is one of the most beautiful places in America, composed by 365 islands, one for each day of the year, located in the Panamanian Caribbean coast. Thirty-six of these islands are inhabited by the Guna people, indigenous to keep this place preserved.
  • Bocas del Toro: Away from the crowed Panama city, in the west side of the country is located Bocas del Toro Islands, perfect spot for relaxing and being yourself. With beautiful beaches and nightlife with a Caribbean style along with the tasty food makes Bocas del Toro one of the most visited places here in Panama.
  • The Anton Valley: This valley is built over a volcano cráter and only 2 hours from the city you can visit the beatiful waterfall, termal pool and see the mountain called the Sleeping Indian because of its shape. Also the area around the city is known for being one of the habitats of the Panamanian golden frog, endemic specie.

  • People: Here we have a little bit of everything. Most of the people are what we call mestizo, which is a mix of europeans and native ancestry. Also we have native americans, and black/mulattoes who came for the construction of the Canal.
  • Language: Spanish is the official and dominant lenguague. Panamanian speak very fast so it can be difficult for a foreigner to understand sometimes.
  • Religion: More of the half of the population practice roman catholic religion, and the other big part are protestants.
  • Food: Panamanian Cuisine is a mix of African, Spanish, and Native American. Since Panama is a land bridge between two continents, it has a large variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in native cooking.


We are more than happy to have you here. PANAMA IS WAITING FOR YOU.