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About the Author

Walter Panko

Walt Panko and his wife, Karen, moved to Cuenca from the U.S. in mid-2015. He is a retired educator and business owner looking forward to adapting to and adopting the local culture. He is experiencing life in Cuenca through “Gringo Eyes” and sharing some of his observations. He proudly calls himself an immigrant and says he is not an expat.

Improve your Spanish language skills and meet new people — and it’s Free!

By Walter Panko |

If you are living in Cuenca and want to improve your Spanish language ability, there are a number of ways to do it. One no-cost way is to visit “Spanish Conversation over Lunch,” an informal  … Read more

I am NOT an expat!

By Walter Panko |

Please don’t call me an expat. I’m an immigrant. Maybe that realization came to me because I grew up with three of four grandparents who emigrated from Europe to the United States in the early  … Read more

Cuenca Art Walk (Caminata de Arte) plans ‘fun raiser’ and a second edition

By Walter Panko |

In 2015, U.S. expat Cara Venn, who had spent five years in India before moving to Cuenca, organized the first Cuenca Art Walk. The event was a free self-guided tour of selected El Centro galleries  … Read more

Dance is good for your physical and mental health; sign up for a class in Cuenca

By Walter Panko |

I love it when serendipitous events occur, even when they are not pleasant. It reminds me that I can’t control what happens, but I can control my response. When the events are pleasant, however, it  … Read more

Want to help those in emotional distress? The key is understanding how to listen

By Walter Panko |

People witnessing traumatic events from a distance, Cuenca, in the case of the recent earthquake, are susceptible to varying forms of post traumatic stress disorder and may need the help of those close to them.  … Read more

Observations of an expat symphony goer — Cuenca concert crowds are changing

By Walter Panko |

One of the joys of living in Cuenca is the opportunity to enjoy the concerts by both the Cuenca Symphony Orchestra and the University of Cuenca Symphony Orchestra. Just last week, for example, the University  … Read more

Hablo Español — sort of — and the education continues

By Walter Panko |

I’m a firm believer that if I spend time in a place, it is to my benefit to learn the language that the locals speak. Now, before you add a comment about how you get  … Read more

Things really ARE different in Ecuador! (part 2); the challenge for newcomers is to study and accept the differences

By Walter Panko |

By Walter Panko I had planned to use Part 2 of my “things are different in Ecuador” series to talk about some of the things that, as a recently arrived Cuenca expat, are taking me  … Read more

New expat adapts to life in Ecuador; things ARE different here!

By Walter Panko |

By Walter Panko There are a lot of things that happen in Ecuador that I didn’t see in the United States. Some are easy to get used to. Others take more time. Here, in no  … Read more

Gringo newcomers witness their first political protest in Cuenca

By Walter Panko |

By Walter Panko August 13th was scheduled to be National Strike Day in Ecuador and my wife and I didn’t know what to expect. We had arrived in Cuenca only 10 days earlier, moving into  … Read more