Thoughts: One Month on the Island

Hello readers! I have been wanting to do this for a long time, but haven’t had much free time to create this. I am sure many of you already know, but I am currently in my first semester as an international medical student on the beautiful island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean! Many of you ask how that works with me wanting to practice in the US. Trust me – I was skeptical at first. I asked thousands of questions, attended an open house, and asked more questions to current students. But if you do your research and check the accreditations, there are some great international schools out there! I am so happy with my decision to live and study abroad. Classes have been going really well! My schedule is very intense, but surprisingly I am already used to it. I never thought I would say that I don’t mind getting up at 6:30am every morning. Classes are 8a-5p Monday through Friday, and I am really enjoying the course material so far. I am currently taking anatomy, histology, embryology, medical ethics, and a clinical correlations class. These classes are broken up into one-month segments (Block 1, 2, 3, and 4) with exams at the end of each “block”). In addition, we have a radiology lab, anatomy cadaver lab, and histology lab! I LOVE the cadaver lab. By far my favorite part! I wasn’t sure at first how I would feel about cutting into cadavers, but I have always been excited about that since I was in undergrad. It really is not that bad (except when the formaldehyde smell is really strong!). I learn a LOT from the cadavers and it really helps to put things into perspective by seeing them in the body. Also, I recently was interviewed and elected for a position on the executive board of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA)! I am the new Social Media/Promotion Officer 🙂 can’t wait to get started and becoming involved!

I really love what I am doing here. So thankful that I am blessed with this opportunity to better myself and achieve my goals. Being surrounded by people with the same goals/aspirations is an awesome feeling! Even though my family and best friend is so far away, it helps to have support here on the island. TECHNOLOGY IS INCREDIBLE! I can text my mom and best friend all day and not feel isolated and alone. FaceTime helps me not to miss my family so much. Also, my mom came in the beginning to help me move into my apartment and settle in, so that REALLY helped me. I don’t think I would have had a smooth transition without her! I am truly happy and doing well down here. Time is already going by so quickly – I can’t believe it is almost October! We have our first set of lecture exams this week on Friday and Monday. I spend every day and every weekend studying – surprisingly I do not mind that – because I know it is worth it! Everything I learn here is going to benefit me as a physician someday! I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me! So thankful for my strong support system. Without them, there is no way I would be able to do this!

Never thought that I would love living in the “island life”. Before coming here, I had visited other Caribbean islands on cruises and for vacations, but I never could have imagined making one of them my home. St. Vincent is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The little things here make me so happy. We take a bus to school, and the route is very enjoyable, despite having to be ready by 7a. We usually take the main road to/from school, but when there is a lot of traffic, we take a more scenic route through the hills. It is gorgeous! I love looking at all the houses. The “norm” around here is seeing goats, cows, and chickens roaming around yards and in the streets. I have seen a man walking 8-9 goats on the street and watched baby cows grow bigger (my friend views this as them growing “more delicious” LOL smh). There is a house that we passed the first week of school and I saw a german shepard mom with about 6-7 puppies playing in the yard. They are getting big! The houses here are incredible. It is such a beautiful place that is unspoiled by tourism; you really get to experience and see the locals’ normal way of life and their culture. I love it! The main way of transportation is “dollar vans” (which is equivalent to paying 75cents USD). Essentially they are roughly 16-passenger vans that can take you all over the island and go to different parts of the island. It is quite an experience because each van has its own personality (and sometimes they drive really crazy). The drivers love packing as many people into the van as possible – I think the record once was 21-22 people?! I love the apartment complex I live in – it is full of students who attend my school. We are like one big family! We even have a little dog at the named Mango who is absolutely perfect – makes me feel less lonely from leaving my 3 pups behind!

I will attach some pictures of the island. It truly is a beautiful place and I am so happy that I am settling in so well here. I should probably get back to studying for my exams! 🙂

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6 comments

  1. So happy to know that you are well and enjoying your studies. You will be an awesome physician. So proud to know that you were one of my memorable students and I am excited to see what God has in store for you. Stay well and healthy my sweet girl…..Love you…Mrs. Stewart

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  2. I love the way you describe St Vincent and the Grenadines. Your discerption is spot on, even when schools are hard because the island has accelerated programs, your vision is very peaceful and clearly observant.

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    • thank you, Kilo! i really try to see the positives in everything i experience! i really do love it here – it is beautiful! focusing on positivity really helps manage the stresses of school! good luck on exams! 🙂

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