So, I’m starting my 3rd week and I’m getting a decent feel for classes. Not too many people, probably about 30. Much more DVM/MPH people than MD/MPH, and 4 people with MDs that came back to do the MPH. Things are completely different for me than my roommates, who are both in term 1 of their MD program. Haven’t seen too much of them since class started. MPH classes are much less stressful than medical school, and the focus is much different. In my case, the pace is pretty fast, as we’re covering 15 credits in 12 weeks. So midterms for me are actually not too far off…
My schedule looks like this. Monday and Wednesday we have class from 9-11, break for lunch, then go 1-5. Tuesday and Thursday we go 9-11, then have a long break, and have one more class 5-7. Fridays we have off, but I’ve been using that as a day to catch up on work. Saturdays seem to be my grocery days, and Sundays I usually just study. Oh and I did have some time to do a little meal prepping, lets see how long this lasts.
As far as the coursework goes, it started off a little boring but things are beginning to get a lot more interesting. The driest classes are biostats and epidemiology. There’s a lot of math and terms that you have to memorize to interpret data. Monday and Wednesdays are a little more fun, and overal the courseload is not too bad. Got to go explore more!
Now that we’ve kind of grasped the basics we’re moving into more discussion based type of classes. The classes on Mondays and Wednesdays focus a lot on how to enact changes, in terms of policy, leadership, community involvement, that kind of thing. We’ve been reading some case studies to discuss and are moving more towards doing a lot of presentations.
I gotta admit, public health is different then I imagined. It’s forcing me to learn more about how other countries do things, understand their cultures better, and just giving me a much broader perspective. If you can sum up public health in one word, it would probably be prevention. It focusses on the health of a whole population, in terms of social justice, the environment, spread of disease, cultural factors, and anything else that affects peoples health. While doing research and investigating are important, they seem to stress how you actually go about making a change, and put utmost importance on protecting a population over the individual, so in that way traditional medicine and public health are a little conflicted.
It’s challenging, but really makes you stop and think. Especially when you start to get a better understanding of the US healthcare system and compare that to other systems, and then look at the health problems seen in poor countries. As far as studying goes, a good chunk of my time is spent reading the articles and writing short essay type questions. I do like to read the books, for me it helps me understand a little better, but upper termers advise that pretty much everything you need to know is in the slides.
They did recently change over to doing the courses online, so if you can’t make it in person you can join the class online. And also on the plus side, you don’t need to buy any books! Digital copies were all provided to us except for one, and you can check that out in the library if you’re nerdy like me.
Anyway, to the Library!
Things have been moving pretty fast so far. Have been learning my way around Grenada a little. So far as living goes, heres a short list of were to get things near campus.
- Fish guy – comes and catches fish right behind my dorm building, where the dock is. Pretty cheap and convenient! They come by everyday around 1. I’ve heard the fish at the fish market in town is a better deal but I haven’t gone there yet (but will soon).
- Of course, the eggman. Not a bad deal and now I can get omlets. He comes on tuesdays but you got to get there early.
- IGA – pretty popular shopping place at the spiceland mall. They have most American type brands that your used to and a short bus ride from campus. The bus will drop you off right at the mall and pick you up there too. Theres also a lot of other little shops in the mall, including a hardware store where you can find kitchen and appliance stuff (although they are really expensive for the most part).
- Various fruitstands – There are a ton of fruit stands around and are all very cheap and super fresh. Things are in season right now so I’m not sure how regular this will be, and what they have varies a lot from day to day. Usually though, I get all of my fresh veggies and fruits from these kind of stands. My favorite is nearby the container park/options, which is about a 10 minute walk from campus. She has a lot of stuff and has some awesome juices too.
- Campus vendors – during lunchtime especially there are local bakeries and people that sell fresh veggies and fruits. Also some various food places that set up near David Brown hall. They are still pretty cheap and convenient, but I’ve found that the fruits/veggies are a little cheaper off campus.
All in all, you can survive here on a budget when it comes to food, especially if you look for things that come from the island. Anything that was made locally will be pretty cheap. For example I got a bag of potatoes, tomatos, a cucumber, 2 mangos, an avocado, fresh guava juice, and onions from a fruit vendor for about $15 USD. So I’ve been on the lookout for things like that, locally made chips, bread, tortillas, cheese, even Ting, which is kind of their version of sprite. Most normal things like that you can find here and are pretty affordable!
So I’m sure you’re wondering, but David, where do I find alcohol when I need to? Glad you asked. So done a little more exploring, heres some things I’ve found that are relitively nearby campus. A few big differences for going out down here. First, alcohol is really cheap. You can have a pretty good night on $60 EC or about $22. On top of that, the mixed drinks are much stronger than I’m used to in the states. They are very generous with the rum. And as far as the resturants go, yes there are menus but they run out of things regularly. So just have a few ideas in mind if they end up not having something.
Things do happen much more slowly here so be patient, I’ve also found sometimes it helps to give them cash before asking for a drink. Also, hookahs here are really common and you can get them at a lot of places you wouldn’t expect. Many bars i’ve been to so far sell them. The locals are also very friendly and love to chat!
- Bananas – This is the nightclub everyone around campus goes to. To be honest, it can be pretty busy, especially before term starts. Their big days are on tuesdays and thursdays, where they basically do a bogo on drinks. They have games like beer pong and stuff like that going on, do a google search and you’ll see what I mean. It’s pretty big and open, but the first time I was there it took over an hour to get a drink. I’d expect during the term when you should be studying it’s much more laid back. Get a rum punch here.
- The Brew – The brew was much more my style, in that you could actually get a drink pretty quick. It’s a lot more chill but still a little crazy (in a good way). It is called the brew for a reason though! They have really good locally brewed beers on tap and have live music sometimes. They have a pool table and right next to the bar there is another smaller bar that does salsa dancing on thursday nights.
- Greek kitchen – I love this place, they have your usual greek stuff and they do pretty good pizza too. Did I mention they have hookahs? And are right next to the entrance on campus?
- Glovers – Glovers is right on campus and so far they are my favorite. They’re named after a small island off the cost that you can see from Modica, and do grilled meat, pulled pork, as well as salads and wraps.
- Container Park – This place is pretty cool. It’s about a 5 minute walk from campus, and is kind of what the name suggests-it’s a bunch of small resturants and bars that are built in to shipping containers. You can get tacos, burgers, italian, salads, and a few other things as well as pretty good drinks there. To top it off there is a small grocery store right in there where you can by a lot of necesities. They also have fishbowls.
- Dodgy Dock – This place is a about a 15 minute walk (yes you can take a bus for this but I like walking) from campus, and seems a bit more formal/upscale. It sits right on the ocean overlooking campus, and you can sit down to eat too. The Margaritas are really good here, and so are the Pina Coladas. They had live music when I was there.
- Taxis – I’m learning the importance of having a guy for this. Generally you want to find a taxi driver and stick with him. They will keep giving you cheaper rides the longer you use them and they get to know you. I’m noticing that this is kind of part of a wider rule, so be kind to whoever you’re dealing with!
Sorry I haven’t posted in a little bit, lots of things have happened! We’re officially married as of August 5th! It was an amazing day and the fish from our unity ceromony (we mixed two koi fish together) survived the plunge too so I feel like that’s a good sign. They now happily swim in our livingroom while taunting our cat.
We shipped off to Las Vegas for a little honey moon adventure. Got to see some cool shows like Jeff Dunham, Criss Angle, Piff the Magic Dragon (I got to hold Mr. Piffles!), and got some R&R in. The trip was a ton of fun and honestly I can’t wait to get back over there because morning drinking isn’t really frowned upon…plus there’s so much more to see. I left with a heavy heart and a slight gambling addiction, so I guess I’m a pretty typical “went to Vegas” story.
But I was sad not because how bad I am at Roulette, but because I knew that meant I had to get on a flight to Grenada. It’s something my new wife and I have talked about a bit and we determined we’d support eachothers dreams, even if that meant we’d be seperated for a while…as when I was at Georgetown. But the fact that it was happening already was hitting me, I mean we just got married and now we have to spend the next 2.5 years apart!
It’s officially my 4th day down here and I think I can safely say I’m pretty much settled in living situation-wise, although I’m still adjusting and have no idea where anything is yet aside from the main buildings and a few resturaunts. I’ll be posting with some more pictures of the campus and my room in a little bit now that I actually have some down time.
As far as the trip went, it had it’s ups and downs. I do know that taking a direct flight to Grenada (NOT through Port of Spain) is worth it even though it costs more. My first flight took me to Newark with just enough time to get on my flight to POS. However, United overbooked their flight again..we all know what that means.
I was ready to fight for my life, and then they upgraded me to first class when some people decided to do a layover.
Hm, what a pleasnt turn of events I thought. I went from literally the last seat to the very first seat. I’d never flown 1st class before so it was a treat. I probably had just about a bottle of wine and what felt like a gormet meal. It almost made up for the next part of the flight, which took us through POS flying Caribbean Airlines.
We arrived in POS at about 2:00 AM and had to go through imigration, customs, grab our bags, then go back in through customs/TSA and recheck our bags. It took a while. And we were all told conflicting things about how many checked bags we could take on the flight. Some people were denied taking 2 checked bags, and many like myself only brought 1 and were told we could have brought another checked bag. When I called to ask earlier I got some wishy-washy answers about this because of the embargo period, and didn’t want to risk losing a bag, so I just took the one. Stuffed to the brim of course.
Then we waited until about 8:00 to get on the short 40 minute flight to Grenada. But overall it sounds like flying directly from JFK or Miami is the best bet, lesson learned. Stay away from POS if you can. It’s not worth it.
When we got into Grenada getting through customs was so much easier than I thought it would be. The whole process of immigration/customs/getting bags probably took 5-10 mins. It was super easy, just as long as you had your acceptance and immigration letters you were golden.
There was a person from SGU that met us at the airport and got us on a taxi to the campus (yes, they paid for this part thankfuly). It was a short 10 minute ride, and from there it was pretty easy. I grabbed my room keys and promply dived into bed because I didn’t sleep during the layover at the POS airport.
This is what I’ve learned about Grenada so far. Island time is noticable even though I’ve only been here a short time. There are a LOT of goats on the island, and a bunch of them hang around campus, which is pretty sweet if you ask me! We’re in rainy season so it pours hard off and on, although it’s not too crazy hot. Its been pretty comfortable so far and the dorm rooms and classrooms are on the colder side. I’m wearing a hoodie right now in one of the study areas if that says anything. But ouside it’s pretty nice.
Cash is definately king around here. I’m finding it’s best to just pull out some EC role with that. There is an ATM on campus and the EC is pegged to the US dollar- $1 USD=$2.7 EC. So some things are actually pretty cheap. I got a new SIM card and plenty of data for about $10 USD, and most people pay around $10-20 USD/mo for that. Food I’ve had at resturuants has been pretty good and inexpensive, probably comparable to what you would expect in the US. Drinks on the other hand are surprisingly cheap. I haven’t fully explored the grocery situation yet so I’ll update on that when I do.
Aside from that, I’m still learning the ropes of this place and getting used to life on the island. I’m missing home but begining to love if here. I’ve met some pretty cool people, joined some clubs like the Neuroscience Society and Public Health club, and done most of the normal orientation things. I’ll be doing just public health courses this semester, which is a short 12 weeks, so I’ll let you guys know how it goes. In January I start term 1 for MD and May I do my second term for MPH. Pretty excited to get going, classes start Monday!
I graduated with a MS in biochemistry just under a month ago, and I thought I’d share a little bit about my time there while it’s fresh in my brain. Might as well! So I was a bio major and minored in chem and psych in undergrad. I kind of delved into research my junior year and by senior year I was hooked. I mean, I got to go hunting for Lyme disease while wearing this snazy jump suit. It was way too small and every time I moved my arms I automatically wedgied myself. For science!