When we opened our first Spanish School in Panama we never imagined how many lives would be touched by our small venture in the quaint mountain town of Boquete. Six years ago, our Spanish School in Boquete only had 3 classrooms and a team of 3 Spanish teachers. Nowadays, more than 30 Panamanians are members of the Habla Ya Family and literally thousands of visitors from all over the world have chosen Boquete as their destination within Central America to learn or improve their Spanish.
Thinking about those 30+ staff members, and their families is definitively the most rewarding aspect about being an entrepreneur. But it's also amazing to think about all those people from the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, China and Australia, that because of Habla Ya Spanish Schools, have chosen Panama as their destination to learn Spanish instead of going to Mexico, Costa Rica or Argentina to learn Spanish. Not only has this allowed Habla Ya to keep growing year after year but we're also very proud about how many of our customers fill Boquete's hotels, eat at Boquete's restaurants, experience Boquete's eco-adventure tours, and some even decide to make Boquete their new home.
I am deeply convinced that everything has been possible because of the people that are part of Habla Ya. Each and everyone of our Spanish teachers and staff members is truly inspired about providing their students with the most amazing Spanish learning experience, and I know that they truly believe that one day Habla Ya will be considered and widely recognized as the most prestigious Spanish school in Latin America.
Today that I have the fortune and the honor to officially share the news about our new Spanish School in Bocas del Toro, I can't help myself but to wildly dream about where we'll be in 6 years from now. We truly hope that our Spanish school in Bocas del Toro will have at least the same effect that our Spanish school in Boquete has had.
Today I would also like to formally invite every resident and business owner of Bocas del Toro to Habla Ya's grand inauguration on Saturday October 15th at 3 p.m. It will take place at Habla Ya Spanish School Campus Bocas del Toro which is located on the corner of 9th Street with G Avenue, across from the "Vive y Deja Vivir Restaurant", just a block before the public hospital. Hopefully we'll be able to get all the invites out in time, but if you don't receive it, consider yourself invited. And if you have what it takes to join our team, feel free to send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally I came to Bocas del Toro to just get away from it all and be able to more effectively promote our Spanish School in Boquete. The plan was to just be here for 6 months, but more than a year later I have fallen in love with Bocas del Toro and I am very happy to call Bocas del Toro my new home. Coming to Bocas del Toro has proven to be one of the most wonderful adventures of my life. I now surf everyday I can, I have a wonderful new group of friends and my wife Rachel and my kids Rafael, William and Isabella have never been happier! Being here it's so easy to see how Bocas del Toro is the "natural choice" for Habla Ya's second campus. For several years we have been thinking about a beach destination to complement our Spanish school in Panama's western mountains and Bocas del Toro is simply the perfect match.
And finally I would really like to take advantage of the occasion and thank all of those who have made Habla Ya possible:
- all of Habla Ya's staff, but specially Lorena Pitti, our School Director, and Ericka Tapia, our Academic Coordinator who have been with us from the beginning. Also a special thank you to Janeth Martinez, our Academic Director who continually leads our teachers to aspire for excellence and is the main responsible for Habla Ya Campus Boquete recently becoming an Official DELE Examination Center and obtaining accreditation from the Instituto Cervantes, the worldwide authority for Spanish teaching as a foreign language. I would also like to thank the "second generation" of Habla Ya's teachers who have continued to raise the quality of our school: Swan, Arelis, Ismenia, Mónica, Minerva, Aráliz and Malkidia. And even though it's too early to mention names, there are several "rising stars" within the Habla Ya family and we are looking forward to enable and witness their development and just see where they take Habla Ya to
- all of Habla Ya's more than 70 host families, that provide our students with an amazing Spanish immersion experience: without all of you, it really wouldn't be the same for our students
- all of the local hostels and hotels who have hosted our students throughout the years: specially Miguel from Mamallena, Axel from Pension Topas, Eva and Sabine from Isla Verde, Jason and Susan from the Boquete Garden Inn, Analia, Thalia and Sam (who may RIP and taught me just by being himself so many things) from Valle Escondido, and David, Charlie and Sandra from the Panamonte Inn & Spa, and Sonia and Howard from the Haven Spa & Hotel
- all of the crew from Explora Ya Eco-Tours & Adventure Travel, Habla Ya's official tour providers: without you our students wouldn't be able to have a blast after class! Also would like to thank Manolo from Rain Forest Tours for taking really good care of our students upon arrival and when leaving Panama City. To Jorge Tovar from Boquete Tree Trek for always being a consistent ally and always working hard to promote Boquete
- to our landlords from Los Establos Boutique Hotel, Rob and Irina, for always having the time to listen to our needs, to provide us with simply the best location in Boquete, to encourage us and making us a bit wiser by sharing their experience in life
- to Manolo Ruiz, the Mayor of Boquete for his continual support and enthusiasm, and for being the ONLY politician to not only listen to our needs, but to actually REALLY help us and not be an obstacle in this bureaucratic non-entrepreneurship friendly country called Panama
- to all of our Spanish students worldwide who have chosen to study Spanish at our school, and to all of Boquete's new residents who have decided to learn Spanish and really become part of our community: thanks to you, we can survive our low season and keep all of our teachers hired full time. And a special mention to Marc Ngui from Bumblenut and Magda Wojtyra from RNA Studio, who during their trip to Boquete when Habla Ya was only several months old, unselfishly shared their knowledge and enlightened us with how to actually get the word out to the world about Habla Ya Spanish School. And another special mention to Lee Zeltzer from Boqueteguide.com for providing our community with very effective platforms to communicate and for always sending a word out when we have special promo going on
- to both sets of my grandparents, Abuelo Julio and Abuela Tuty for providing me with a roof and warm meals during my first year in Boquete when I was totally broke, and to Abuela Betty for lending me some cash when I was totally broke and to Abuelo Moyo for taking me to work at his farm when I was a little boy
- to my Mom and Dad, Julio and Eva for guiding me to become who I am , providing me with unconditional love and with all the tools I needed to deal with life (and for investing in our idea although we were only 23 years old and had no idea at all about what we were getting into)
- to Carlos Raúl, the best business partner and my best friend since we were teenagers, for working with me side by side, day and night, to make this happen, and to his wife and my wonderful friend, Evelyne, for taking over our Language Travel Consultants' department and opening the doors to new markets (and for finally getting Carlos to settle down!)
- and last but not least, to my very best friend, life partner and the love of my life, Rachel, for always challenging and inspiring me, to be the best man I can be for you and our family, for giving me the most amazing family, making me the happiest man on Earth, and for choosing to share this adventure and pursuit of happiness with me that we call life
I'm sorry for not being able to mention everybody I should: I AM AND WILL ETERNALLY BE GRATEFUL!
And hopefully in 3 years time when the Metro System is finished in Panama City, and living over there is not as painful as it is right now because of the traffic, we can be celebrating the opening of our Spanish School in Panama City... but for now, lets enjoy learning Spanish in Bocas del Toro!