Cold-climate Ross/SGU students: is it tolerable?

Viscernable

Purdue c/o 2025
Jun 13, 2020
1,862
3,439
76
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I'm sorry to ask a question with so little to do with pre-vet/vet education itself, but I've been all over the internet and these forums looking for answers with little success. I know there are a lot of things to adjust to when moving from Canada to Saint Kitt's or Grenada, but after a lot of reading I think I would enjoy the experience, except one crucial doubt. Average daily highs of 30+ degrees sounds like total hell. I'm from Nova Scotia and I think I have fairly typical heat tolerance for a maritimer (read: none). I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone who's moved from a similar climate - how miserable was the adjustment? Did you eventually get used to it? Do you find you can enjoy exercise and activities outdoors and get quality sleep? How are campus buildings, shops/public buildings, and student housing for air conditioning and otherwise keeping cool?

I'd also really appreciate hearing about any other things you've found challenging about attending SGU/RUSVM. Was there anything that you were really surprised by, good or bad? I've been reading and watching students' advice and Q&As so I think I have a decent idea of the main things to consider/adjust to:

- cost of living is more expensive (not too worried since honestly the prices I've seen are comparable to food prices here. It seems food prices in the continental U.S. are just super cheap? Plus I eat mostly cheap staples, only eat out about once a month, don't use makeup or fancy toiletries, etc.)
- no traditional teaching hospital (I'm really impressed by how Ross and SGU have managed to get students hands-on experience despite this, and doing the clinical semesters externally doesn't seem like a problem. A lot of the opportunities for hands-on animal experience during the pre-clinical semesters actually seem really exciting. Anyone who went, did you find you were disappointed or felt like you were missing out on hands-on experience?)
- different cultural attitude towards pets and what they're worth
- micropredators always on the prowl, some with arboviruses (I've heard about the 2013-2014 chikungunya outbreak, but my impression is that mostly there's no reason to be worried about infectious disease on either island as long as you take reasonable precautions like getting vaccinated for rabies and hep A, keeping windows screened/closed, and wearing mosquito repellent - is that accurate?)
- island time
- can't be sure what you want to buy will always be in stock, there are fewer things available than in most Canadian/U.S. towns, shops and services aren't available 24/7 (I'm not a city/shopping/nightlife person so I'm not worried. A bit concerned it might be hard to find healthy vegan options sometimes, and I can't find much info online about sports/fitness at Ross, which I'd really like to know about)
- some more crime than here (I don't think its much worse than most U.S. cities, though?)
 

Missxfurr

SGU c/o 2023
2+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2019
53
53
106
  1. Veterinary Student
I'm sorry to ask a question with so little to do with pre-vet/vet education itself, but I've been all over the internet and these forums looking for answers with little success. I know there are a lot of things to adjust to when moving from Canada to Saint Kitt's or Grenada, but after a lot of reading I think I would enjoy the experience, except one crucial doubt. Average daily highs of 30+ degrees sounds like total hell. I'm from Nova Scotia and I think I have fairly typical heat tolerance for a maritimer (read: none). I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone who's moved from a similar climate - how miserable was the adjustment? Did you eventually get used to it? Do you find you can enjoy exercise and activities outdoors and get quality sleep? How are campus buildings, shops/public buildings, and student housing for air conditioning and otherwise keeping cool?

I'd also really appreciate hearing about any other things you've found challenging about attending SGU/RUSVM. Was there anything that you were really surprised by, good or bad? I've been reading and watching students' advice and Q&As so I think I have a decent idea of the main things to consider/adjust to:

- cost of living is more expensive (not too worried since honestly the prices I've seen are comparable to food prices here. It seems food prices in the continental U.S. are just super cheap? Plus I eat mostly cheap staples, only eat out about once a month, don't use makeup or fancy toiletries, etc.)
- no traditional teaching hospital (I'm really impressed by how Ross and SGU have managed to get students hands-on experience despite this, and doing the clinical semesters externally doesn't seem like a problem. A lot of the opportunities for hands-on animal experience during the pre-clinical semesters actually seem really exciting. Anyone who went, did you find you were disappointed or felt like you were missing out on hands-on experience?)
- different cultural attitude towards pets and what they're worth
- micropredators always on the prowl, some with arboviruses (I've heard about the 2013-2014 chikungunya outbreak, but my impression is that mostly there's no reason to be worried about infectious disease on either island as long as you take reasonable precautions like getting vaccinated for rabies and hep A, keeping windows screened/closed, and wearing mosquito repellent - is that accurate?)
- island time
- can't be sure what you want to buy will always be in stock, there are fewer things available than in most Canadian/U.S. towns, shops and services aren't available 24/7 (I'm not a city/shopping/nightlife person so I'm not worried. A bit concerned it might be hard to find healthy vegan options sometimes, and I can't find much info online about sports/fitness at Ross, which I'd really like to know about)
- some more crime than here (I don't think its much worse than most U.S. cities, though?)
I attend SGU and I'm from Michigan, so the weather is kind of bipolar and we get cold winters. So I'm not use to it being cold all of the time. I will say that you do get use to the heat eventually. It took me about a week or two to fully get use to the heat and humidity every time I fly back. It also depends on if it is the dry or wet season because the humidity levels are very different and it rains a lot in the wet season. Our buildings on campus are kept constantly cold to keep students comfortable and to prevent mold from growing. Most of the time we wear hoodies and sweatpants inside due to it being so cold in the buildings for lectures. Depending on how you like to exercise will depend on how well you will do with the heat. I don't exercise much in general so if I do it will usually be inside to avoid sweating too much. The sun can be overbearing sometimes with the heat and it's much stronger since we're so close to the equator. Let me know if you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them :)
 

FutureFelineVet

RUSVM c/o 2022
2+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2018
271
335
116
Current Ross student so can address some of the stuff for Ross.

- I came from Florida so can’t comment on coming from a cold climate, but can say they keep our buildings freezing as well (I almost always will wear a hoodie). I usually will exercise (walk/run) in early am or around sunset when it’s a little cooler.

- There’s a lot of hands on opportunities and we do have a teaching clinic, it’s not as full fledged as a full on teaching hospital (since we’re on an island and the number of clients is smaller), but it’s still a good learning experience—we do GP and emergency rotations through it in upper semesters. It’s one of only two clinics on island so it gets a lot of foot traffic.

- As for hands on experiences in general, I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all. We get a lot of surgical experience and spend pretty much all our 7th semester (last semester on island) SOAPing (you rotate through different species).

- I don’t honestly worry too much about diseases the mosquitoes carry, but I’m also coming from Florida so lol maybe that’s why. I will say the mosquitoes there are awful. They’re legit so much worse than the mosquitoes in FL—they bite like crazy and cause more painful bites. Idk how the species differ here vs FL, but man, they suck. Definitely buy a bug zapper to bring with you, it was a life saver for me. I haven’t known anyone who has any sort of mosquito or tick disease while on island (although I’m sure it could potentially happen). Also, St. Kitts is rabies free so you actually don’t need your rabies vaccine before arriving. It’s actually way cheaper to get it done at school on island so would rec waiting to have it done later on.

- island time is real. Tbh it doesn’t bother me, but maybe I’m just very go with the flow lol

- there’s actually lots of people at school that are vegans. The Rams (grocery store chain) near campus actually carries a very large amount of vegan options, and you can probably find stuff at the other Rams as well. It’s not as diverse selection as home, but it’s still pretty good. For on campus dining, Paw Paw has a lot of vegetarian and vegan options. Ital Creations is a local restaurant that is entirely vegetarian & vegan options. They bring some stuff to the farmer’s market on campus each week.

- Ross has a free gym for students with various machines, weights, etc. There’s also local yoga studios, Cross Fit, and the Marriott golf course is open in the morning & evenings for people to walk/run.

- Honestly the crime is nothing compared to places I’ve lived in the US. Petty theft is the most common crime. Honestly I do the same things I would do at home (don’t leave valuables in car, don’t walk alone at night, etc.) and haven’t had any issues (knock on wood). I really love living on the island and have never felt unsafe.
 
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