Classes at the Ross University School of Medicine are now in session and with the exception of a few minor complaints about the housing situation, students appear to be satisfied.
Barbados TODAY visited the Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center-based campus this afternoon where a newly-refurbished building was buzzing with activity. Students, mostly first year, who were having their first taste of the Ross University experience, were pleasantly surprised with the school and its new host country.
Kelly Pedraza, a first-year, first-semester student who has only been on the island for a week said: “Everything has been great. The people have been really welcoming, which I am kind of surprised about.
“Today was our first day [of classes] and everything was pretty introductory, so I’m not very worried yet,” she said with a smile. “I think that after the initial adjustment period, everything will be really smooth.”
During her short time on the island, Pedraza has also paid a visit to a few of the country’s popular landmarks.
“I’ve been to Carlisle Bay. It’s really beautiful there. Everybody’s been really warm and understanding about the fact that I don’t know a whole lot [about the island]. I’ve been to Oistins. That was the first time I tried shark and it was really good, so no complaints,” she said.
Kinza Javed, a first-semester student from Connecticut noted that “the campus is beautiful on the inside and the professors and faculty have been very helpful in creating the perfect environment so far for me personally.” She added that the first few days had been surprisingly smooth.
“I actually thought it would have been much more difficult to adjust than it has been,” she said.
Despite the regular campus shuttle service, Kinza said transportation had been an issue and accused some taxi operators of attempting to scam students.
“Everyone charges you different amounts for going to the same places. I wish people would appreciate Ross students’ business a little bit more and not charge us crazy amounts as you would for tourists. We’ve been scammed a little bit,” she said.
As it related to the contentious issue of housing, Kinza told Barbados TODAY that conditions could be a little better. Without going into detail, she said: “A lot of students are having major issues with the housing. It seems like it was a little bit rushed, but other than that, all other accommodations relating to the school have been great. All members have been very helpful, both Barbadian and American.”
Ryan Nguyn a Canadian of Vietnamese decent agreed that the housing situation was “a little bit rough right now”.
Nevertheless, he was happy to “have clean running water, an AC unit and a roof over [his] head.”
“I am by all means happy with what I have right now,” he said.
The Canadian student whose goal is to one day specialize in internal medicine is also very happy with the hospitality shown to him by locals.
“It’s been phenomenal. The ‘Bajans’ here have been very helpful, very friendly. . . I am actually very surprised with the community here, with how everything is turning out. I didn’t have any issues moving in, so I’m actually very surprised that it has been a very smooth transition.
“We just had our first class today, in biochemistry and a little biology. It was good,” he said, while adding that amid preparations for the start of class on Monday, he too was able to enjoy many of the activities offered on the island.
“We’ve been to the (St Lawrence) Gap so far, we went to Oistins fish market, the Boatyard as well. Those are phenomenal places. It was a time just to get all of the first-year, first-semester students to get together and interact and talk to one another about where they’re from and what they’re doing,” he said. [email protected]