Panama IFMSA-Panama
Spanish, English
(GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito, Rio Branco
Panamanian balboa
SCOPE Active
SCORE Active
Panama (IFMSA-Panama) - Panama City
Panama (IFMSA-Panama) - Chiriqui

Diego Reyes D.
Juan Vincensini
Mohamad Omran
Juliana Bullen
Iglesias Carlos


Bridge of the world, heart of the universe

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 4,5 millions panamanians, is a small beautiful 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 Spain in the 16th century. We became independent from Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela called 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 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.
  • 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). 
  • 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, Cabify or InDriver: 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 is organized depending on the number of incomings we have in one month. The months when we organize more National Activities are in January, July, and August.

Most of the time, the social program includes activities outside the city, in the other provinces. The social program varies, and it is not always the same, considering the climate and it can change due to incomings preferences.

  • Welcome dinner: we meet in a restaurant with the incoming and members of the NMO to welcome them all! The restaurant have a lot of National food and music including a cultural show.
  • San Blas Islands: this is one of the most beautiful places in America, composed of 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, on the west side of the country is located Bocas del Toro Islands, the 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 beautiful 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.

  • Chiriqui (Boquete):  It is the ideal option. It is a small town located in the foothills of Volcán Barú, in the highlands of Chiriqui. There are hiking, rafting, and rock climbing right on the doorstep and 500 of 972 bird species of Panama are found in the province, including the much sought after Quetzal. Boquete is home to some of the best coffee producers in the world.
  • Goodbye CHIVA: It is a party bus, which takes us around the city while the music is on! This is the classic goodbye for our incomings where you can dance, drink our "Chichita", and have a great time with all your Panamanian friends. 
  • NFDP: Where all our incomings can show us part of their culture through food and non-drinks.
  • 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. Panama is currently a safe country for country for the LGTBQ+ incomings. 
  • 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.

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