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Surviving the Caribbean





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Surviving the Caribbean

 

Students who go to medical schools in the US have many obvious advantages for the future including:

1. Better professors
2. Better facilities
3. Better pool of students
4. No limitations

But one of the lesser discussed advantages is that they do not have to adjust to a new lifestyle. US based students live in houses or apartments with all the normal conveniences we have grown up with, all the same restaurants.

The Caribbean is not what you see when you are on vacation in the Caribbean. The resorts are little pieces of the US designed for American. The rest of the Caribbean is like India with less people and less pollution. I had dogs chasing me often especially since I rode a bicycle. There were chickens, donkeys, and goats roaming around. Ants, cockroaches, and big mosquitoes are a part of life inside your dwelling and out. Wall unit air conditioning instead of central air with really high utility costs. We went one month without eggs on the island. We went a few weeks without milk. The power goes out on occasion for several hours. Grocery stores close at 7pm. Voltage was around 110 but fluctuated so a lot of your plug in devices would burn out pretty fast. Three out of four times when we started our microwave, we had to reset the breaker so one of us would man the breaker when the other needed to use the microwave. There was no hot water so I could only take cold showers.

Subway restaurant (we also had KFC) was often out of bread for several days but for some reason stayed open. Many restaurants closed for lunch. The government never anticipated a student could be married or have kids so there is no legal way for your wife and kid(s) to stay with you on the island for more than 90 days.

Basically what I am getting at is that the Caribbean is a whole new world. It takes time to adjust to living in any new country, but longer when you go from an industrialized nation to a 3rd world country. Most of your time should be dedicated to studying but in the Caribbean, that cannot always be the case since you are trying to survive the location. It is especially hard to adjust since you know you are only there temporarily.

I hated it there. I went to class, studied, and played basketball. That was my life. I made it work. I prayed my computer was not stolen or did not crash. My bicycle was stolen once. I survived but I hated it but I chose this so I cannot complain.

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