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Bc. Julia Bílková, UCT Prague, ročník 4

Faculty Faculty of food and biochemical technology
Field of study Food technology
Field of internship Agriculture and Food Science
Specialization of InternshipAgricultural and Food Products Processing
Internship period (from - to) 13.8.2018 - 30.11.2018
Internship duration (weeks) 16
Transport (means, price) Flight, Lufthansa, 25163 CZK; bus Panama city - David 15,75 USD; bus David-Boquete 1,75 USD
Insurance/Insurance company AXA Assistance
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) No
Price of Visa -
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Panama, Boquete
Internship reference number PA-2018-09RUIZ

About the country

Location of the place

Boquete is a mountain town in the province Chiriqui. It is located about 60 km from the border with Costa Rica and 7 hours by ride from Panama City.

City

Boquete is very pleasant and favourite town in Panama. It is located in 1200 metres above sea level, under the highest mountain of Panama Volcan Baru, surrounded by mountains, nature and coffee plantations. Althought it is in Carribean, the temperatures are lower than in lowland and they are always about 20 °C. The town is very safe and people know each other.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

There are many possibilities for trips. Boquete is surrounded by absolutely amazing nature. There are mountains, waterfalls, rivers and cloudy forests. It is possible to make very easy hikes and also harder ones directly from Boquete. You can also make hike to Volcan Baru, try rafting or canopy tours. The whole Chiriqui is full of atractive places so you can also discover waterfalls and hotspring in Caldera or enjoy swimming in Canyon Gualaca. If you want to chill on the beach, the closest one is in the Pacific ocean close to David city called La Barqueta. According to me the most beautiful beach in Chiriqui was Las Lajas. Other beautiful beaches are in Boca Chica.

Employer

Employer

The first eight weeks I was in the roasting plant of the comapany Cafe Ruiz and the second part of my internship I was in Boquete Valley Gurmet Coffee which was located in the same building. Both of them produce Arabica coffee of the very high quality.

Work description

When I was in the roasting plant I was there with other workers and I was helping them with packing, roasting and sorting coffee. They explained me the whole process of producing coffee, basics of evaluating coffee and they also showed me coffee plantation. In the second part of the internship I was in the office doing several projects about coffee and new products from coffee. They provide me a training of evaluating coffee so it was very educative and I've learned many interesting things about coffee.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

The salary from Cafe Ruiz was 600 USD every 4 weeks which was sufficient for the lodging, living and trips around Boquete. This town is for these days a little bit fancy for living because many people from the USA and Europe came to live there so the prices went up a lot.

Language requirements

Good english and fair spanish. In my job were few people who could speak english. My boss spoke english very well but some of my coworkers spoke just in spanish so I recommend you to know at least basics of spanish. In the shops and services depend who you will meet. Boquete is very touristic so many people there speak english but in other parts of Panama they don't understand anything in english.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

Accommodation was managed by the employer and provided by the woman who owns apartements. So I had my own apartement just for myself which was 200 metres from the company. The price was 315 USD per 1 month.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

IAESTE in Panama is not same like in other countries. It is managed by few people who doesn't care about it so much. They don't organise any trips or events and they also don't care about foreign students. Before my departure from Czech Rep. I didn't know anything so I had to contact the company and then finally IAESTE Panama started to communicate with me. I was in contact with a member from IAESTE who managed pick-up at the airport. I was picked-up by a girl from Panama city who took part of the intership in Switzerland last year. She also hosted me for one night in Panama city and put me to the bus to David city.

Meeting other foreign students

Luckily the other IAESTE participant was working in David city in almost same time period like me so during weekend we planned some trips and travelings together. IAESTE didn't tell me about him anything and after his urging of IAESTE they provided him my contact. I was also in contact with the third IAESTE participant but he was working in Panama city so it wasn't possible to meet him.

Sport and culture

There is possible to make hikes, go running or rent a bike. As to culture there are sometimes music concerts or if you will be there during some celebrations you can see panamanian tradicional costumes, music and dancing.

Food, local specialties

Tradicional food contains chicken, rice and beans or lentil. I've tried also their typical dishes called Tamales or Sancocho. Reastaurants with traditional food are quite cheap. You can also find there other possibilities like mexican food, tradicional american hamburgers or italian pizza.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

I had wifi in my job. However I had SIM card provided by Claro and I paid 5 USD and then I had unlimited data + 25 min call + 25 SMS for 7 days. So I communicate with Czech Rep. via Whatsupp or email.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

I recommend you to have vaccination. It is the country with lower hygienic standard so I was vaccinated against yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid and meningitis. Moreover don't forget to have travel insurance. Unfortunately I had to visit a doctor because of stomach problems probably coused by water.

What not to forget with you

Umbrella, long pants and good camera.

Benefits of the internship

Althought everything before my internship was uncertain and I was there the only foreign student the benefits are huge. I've learned the new language and I've gained amazing profesional experince about coffee.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

As I writte upper they managed what I've need but it was all. At the and it was the advantage because I've learned to take care about myself just on my own in foreign country and I also found many friends between local people. Thanks to that I can say I know Panama.

Overall experience with IAESTE

I think it is very good way how to travel and know other countries.

Student's website

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Employer's webiste

https://www.caferuiz-boquete.com/
https://www.casaruiz-panama.com/

Other useful links

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Other comments

If you would like to know the district of the best coffee in the world, taste this coffee and meet so happy and kind people I recommend you this internship. It was for me the best decision which I've ever made :)

If you would like to know more do not hesitate to contact me via Facebook or via email: [email protected] :)

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