Bridge of the world
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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 became independent 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.
HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
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 you are placed in:
Hospital Santo Tomas: run by the Ministry of Health, is the main hospital for our clinical incomings (except for Pediatric clerkships), it is located in the heart of the Panama City just in front of the Panama Gulf.
Hospital del Niño: it is where our Pediatric 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, dedicated to the cure and research of cancer.
- Hospital San Miguel Arcángel: run by the Ministry of Health, is one of the main hospitals in the city. Where most students from the different univerisities do their clinical practices.
In Panama City we have 6 Universities where you can study medicine.
- Universidad de Panamá (Panama University) or UP
- Universidad Latina de Panamá (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: these are buses that travel across the main streets of Panama City. It costs 25 cents per ride, which has to be paid using a rechargeable card. http://www.mibus.com.pa/
- Metro: There are two lines. One that connects Albrook Mall to San Isidro. And a second one from Nuevo Tocumen to San Miguelito. You need to buy a rechargeable card to use it. (which is the same as the metrobus). https://www.elmetrodepanama.com/
- 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.
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 beautiful 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 architect Frank Gehry.
- People: Here we have a little bit of everything. Most of the people are what we call mestizos, 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 language. Panamanians speak very fast so it can be difficult for a foreigner to understand sometimes.
- Religion: More than 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.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION