Hola familia y amigos!
Today was our final day in Panama. Our first stop was the Dell Corporation. This corporation started in Michael Dell's garage with only $450. The corporation first started out as a PC provider and has now advanced to become a Service provider. Panama Dell Corporation has been operating for nine years and is the only call center for the Americas. This location is the geographic hub for Latin America. Dell's purpose is to deliver technology solutions that enable people everywhere to grow and thrive. We toured the corporation's newly renovated office space and sat through a presentation about Dell services. We observed the open door policy as we toured the offices. Each department was set up in cubicles where they were free to go to talk to anyone with any questions they had. This is also where we learned about the different positions that Dell is made up of to perform their services. The largest department, being their Technical Support Group. Dell continues to create jobs for the Panamanian society. They employ around 2,200 employees in their Panama office alone. Most employees speak English and Spanish. There are also classes provided to improve the employees English if needed. Dell is one of the top ten places to work. The corporation has created over $62.1 billion in total revenue. They have become a go green corporation. Some exapmles of how this corportion goes green is by using bamboo to package most of their products and use recycled watter bottles for their touch screens in their computers.
Our second stop was the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama, otherwise known as Panamchan. We learned about the U.S. Panama Free Trade Agreement and how this has a major influence on Panamanian trade. This agreement gives the country of Panama:
1. U.S. seal of approval
2. Panama as a global player
3. Transparency enhancements
4. Rule of law/ property of rights.
Some of Panama's biggest exports are copper, gold, shrimp, bananas, melons, and pineapple.
After visiting the Chamber of Commerce, we made a quick stop at the Seafood market. Although, the smell was unbearable, there were many different types of fresh fish in the market. We observed people cutting the fish and preparing it to be cooked. To many of us it was disturbing to look at the fish head alone. After going through the market, many students were given the opportunity to try the fish especially the Cerviche, which is a fish marinated in a citrus juice with onions.
Our last stop of the day was the Artisan Market. Here was the students last chance in Panama to purchase any last minute souvenirs and gifts. It was fun to negotiate the prices and have a chance to look at different types of hand crafted Panamanian gifts. Many students bought gifts to bring back to their friends and family, so make sure you ask for your gift when your traveler gets home! I think we can all say that Brent Lavitt had the most fun in the Artisan market, as he decided to dress up in Panamanian clothing.
That is all for now! We're off to Costa Rica bright and early tomorrow morning.