Volunteers will be placed in large high schools to support the Ministry of Education in their initiative to provide bilingual education to all students in Panama.
Their focus will be developing teaching methodologies and language skills of teachers and students. Volunteers will work to give professional development opportunities to the English teachers they work with, and may help with co-
planning and co-teaching, observation and feedback, curriculum development, assessment tools, developing didactic materials, or designing and facilitating teacher workshops and seminars.
Volunteers may also work on leadership and professional skills development opportunities for teachers, students, and community members.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria :
Competitive candidates will demonstrate the following skills :
Required Language Skills
Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.
A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native / fluent speaker of Spanish
Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency.
Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).
Additional Language Information
Volunteers need to demonstrate an Intermediate-mid level of oral and written proficiency in Spanish for community placement by the end of Pre-Service Training.
All Volunteers will be in Spanish-speaking communities. Most Volunteers will be placed in semi-urban or urban settings. Volunteers may live in a common Panamanian-
style home made of simple concrete block and cement floors or in an adobe structure with dirt floors, depending on the level of development in the community.
Volunteers are required to live with host-families during the first three months of service. After these three months, they may opt to live on their own in pre-
approved local housing that meets Peace Corps / Panama’s housing criteria.
Food and Diet :
The Panamanian diet varies according to the region and the ethnic makeup of the population. Most often the diet consists of rice, beans, bananas or plantains, yucca (cassava), and corn.
Rice and beans (kidney beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas) is the staple dish. Corn is served in many guises but is usually ground, boiled, or fried.
Sancocho is a traditional dish (somewhere between a soup and a stew) prepared with a variety of vegetables and chicken. Most rural areas have an array of fruits available, including mangoes, papayas, pineapples, avocados, oranges, and guanabanas (soursops).
The availability of garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet peppers, and cucumbers, varies according to the region and the season.
The most common meats are chicken and beef, which are often deep-fried or stewed. Fish is available sporadically in coastal regions and riverside communities.
Larger towns and cities have at least one restaurant that will be familiar, such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, or Dairy Queen.
Some Volunteers are vegetarians, but few Panamanians follow these diets. Many volunteers start a garden in their community, and sometimes buy food in Panama City or a provincial capital.
Most have supermarkets where you can buy a wide variety of foods and imported goods.
Computer and Internet Access :
Internet access in Panama is spreading. All provincial capitals and other large towns have internet cafes. Connection speeds tend to be slow, but the service is reasonably priced and otherwise reliable.
Internet access for Volunteers is available at the Peace Corps / Panama office. Almost all volunteers have a computer or tablet.
Should you choose to bring electronics, it is your responsibility to maintain and insure it.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Panama : Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety including crime statistics PDF in order to make a well-
informed decision about serving.
Medical Considerations in Panama
Before you apply, please also review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.