Island Numbers: Restaurants and Taxi Drivers?

Helpful information that has been passed along from upper semester students.

St. Kitts Numbers – Restaurants – here you can see local restaurants, delivery options, phone numbers, location, and websites/Facebook pages. A lot of the businesses here in Saint Kitts rely on Facebook as their source of contact and sending out promotions and closures.

St. Kitts Numbers – Taxi Drivers – here you can see local taxi drivers. Although I’m not sure if they are all RUSVM approved taxi drivers, but this list was supplied to me by an upper semester student.

Bat Cave Hike (Also Driving Directions with Google Maps Pictures)

I just wanted to post updated directions to the bat cave. My husband and two friends who are semi-new and brand new to the island attempted to go on the hike yesterday, but as fate would have it, things didn’t go so well, hence my new category “shit happens.”

First, the driving instructions to the bat cave hike:

  1. Turn left at the main RUSVM gate and head towards Challengers
  2. Drive straight on Island Main Rd. for 5 minutes until you reach the Bloody River, which is located at a curve in the roadScreen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.42.11 PM
  3. At the Bloody River**, turn right (before the Bloody River there is a road to the right side)Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.42.49 PM
  4. If you have reached Middle Island you’ve gone too far!
  5. Follow the road that runs parallel to the Bloody River which turns to the right and then to the leftScreen Shot 2017-05-02 at 12.45.29 PM.png
  6. Park on the left hand side of the road once you reach the dead end of the road and make sure all your doors are locked!

** There will be a historical site sign marking the Bloody River

Second, you should contact RUSVM about hiking tour guides. You can ask Student Services. There are a few locals who work on campus and will insure that you are on the right trail, if the creek is overflowed, they will know how to continue with the path being covered in water, and will be there for safety if anything would happen. Also, you should make sure you are going with at least a small group of about 5 people.

MY SAGA:

Yesterday 4 of us attempted to go to the hiking trail with horrible driving directions, which mentioned nothing about the bloody river, and something about turn at the basketball court and a green fence, which were completely incorrect direction. We were driving around for about 20 minutes before we finally found the place!

After we parked the car and found the correct trail, as we were about to enter the trail, a man came out of the trees asking if we needed a tour guide for the hike, claiming that people had just started a tour just before we arrived. Noticing that there were no other cars, and the guy who approached us from the trees didn’t seem trustworthy, we told him no, but he badgered us for money for a little while.

After he finally walked away from us, we walked down to the creek, which was only about 5 feet from where the man came out of the trees, to see if it would be safe to continue what we had gone out there for. We stood at the creek discussing what we should do noting the untrustworthy man behind the trees and the overflowed creek. Both men on the trip were very uncomfortable about what had just happened, and we were skeptical that the man who had approached us form the trees would likely be going to get his friends and coming back for us. It seems a bit dramatic, but in a country you are unfamiliar with, you never know what can happen! (And note, even if you’re a 7th semester, this country is still unfamiliar to you. You did not grow up here, and most people will not have your back if they are looking for trouble.) We decided to call RUSVM security and tell them what happened, in the hopes that they would come sit at the top of the hill while we went on our short hike, but they said “okay” to the fact that we were trying to go on a hike and we were concerned for our lives; nothing became of it. We decided to go back to the car and leave.

As we walked back to the car, I noticed shiny coins on the ground outside of my driving side door. Upon reaching the passenger side door, I noticed that the door was cracked open, but still locked, so I couldn’t get in. Once I got inside the car, I noticed that my glove box was opened and vehicle paperwork was moved, my husband noticed that all our coin was taken from the ash tray where we house all our change, and upon searching the car for other things that may have been off or stolen, I found that our snorkeling backpack had been stolen from the back of my SUV. Of course it would be my gills that he would steal, which are my outlet from stress on the island.

At this time, RUSVM security officers were calling to see if everything was okay. We told them what we had found, and they were sending the RUSVM security team and the Saint Kitts police. My husband and friend suggested to check and make sure the guy didn’t steal our battery under the hood because we also couldn’t get our car to start. The battery was there, but he somehow was able to jam our shift into the lowest gear, which wouldn’t allow us to start the car. We, then, called security back because we were very uncomfortable sitting in the middle of a cane field waiting for security and the police to show up. (For the record, we waited on the hill for security for about 25 minutes after the second phone call was made, and then another 30-45 minutes for the police to show up to take a statement.)

We were told by RUSVM security that students are always told to go on the hikes around the island with a tour guide, because it can be much less safe when you’re alone without a local, especially when in small groups. After using up all my minutes on the phone with security, RUSVM wouldn’t reimburse me for using $25 worth of minutes and told me “in future emergency situations, call security and tell them to call you back, then we will pay for the call, not you. Sorry.” After leaving what was supposed to be a fun hiking trail, we realized that all the time we had spent waiting for security and the police to arrive, after having them take our statement, that they were not going to look, nor did the cop even seem to care. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we won’t be getting our snorkel gear back, and this man will likely attempt this shit on other students in the future.

I made a post to the Ross University Student’s Facebook page, and you’d be surprised by the number of people who tried to write off what happened to us. “We went to the bat cave hike and the same thing happened to us, but we told him off and did the hike anyway and we were fine. Just go before 11am when he shows up” – we arrived at the bat cave at 9:45am, and this still happened to us. They also had this happen to them before and didn’t find it necessary to share with others. “I will never pay someone to be my tour guide on a hike that I’ve been on a hundred times before. Thanks Ross Security” – I wish someone would have suggested to me to find a tour guide, which could have prevented my vehicle from being ransacked, having my outlet from stress on the island stolen from the back seat of my vehicle, and the fact that I could’ve not wasted half my day because an arrogant man disrespected my property with no regard for anyone other than himself.

ADVICE:

ALWAYS have your guard up! If something feels wrong or uncomfortable, it probably is. Just leave! I felt uncomfortable the moment the man popped out from the trees and I wanted to leave immediately, but I was thinking about my friends and all the time it took us to find the place, I didn’t want to make them leave. Had I trusted my instinct, none of this would’ve happened that day.

What’s A Budget?

Some of the best advice I can give you is to make a budget your first semester as soon as you get your dispersement before you spend any money. What I got in the habit of doing is taking out money for the week and going to the gas station or grocery store with exact change. It helps me to make sure I don’t spend more than I have. It makes shopping more complicated adding up everything as I go, but I never overspend.

Another thing I’d suggest is paying any bills that you can when you receive your money. I pay may landlord rent for the whole semester and I’ve worked out a deal with him where I give him a deposit for electricity, since it is in his name. He still sends me my electricity bill every month so I can see how much electricity I am using, which helps me cutback if it’s more than what I budgeted, and if I haven’t used the whole budget, he returns it to me. If I go over, he will present me with the total amount I owe.

I also got into the habit at the end of the last semester to withdraw cash for gas and groceries for the last few weeks of school all at once, so most of my bills are out of my bank account. I made envelopes, which I kept in a safe place, which had all the cash for the groceries for the rest of the semester. I even sent in my last 2 month’s internet payment (paid by check) in the beginning of April. It helps you see how much money you have left. If you’re going to be living with another person who isn’t receiving any income for bills here, this is probably a really good way to go to prevent over spending.

I’ve included a template for the budget sheet I made and have used for two semesters now. The school can provide you with one, as well, but I prefer the one I made. It seems a lot less complicated to me. Others like the one dispersed by the financial aid department.

If you have any questions about budgeting, please let me know! I love to make budgets and I love to update them. Money seems like it’s the one thing I can control here at Ross. Of course I can control my studying, drinking, etc., but it’s a constant thing that I get to manage well.

rusvm-semester-budget_shea

Grade Replacement After “F”

I just found this information, after hearing nothing of the sort from anyone at Ross, so I thought it might be helpful to make a note of it here. At RUSVM, when you retake failed classes, only 2 classes will be replaced with the passing grade of the repeated class throughout the entire pre-clinical program. Having said that, if you failed 3 classes in one semester, only two of those grades will be replaced with “R” from the previous failed semester. For example, I failed Microanatomy, Gross Anatomy, and Physiology. This past semester, I repeated all three classes. I received only two “R”s on my transcript and one of the “F”s remains. My passing grades from this semester remain, also, on my transcript, but if I were to fail another class in the future, it will remain on my transcript and will be calculated into my cumulative GPA regardless of retaking and earring a passing grade.

I’ve included the parts of the RUSVM Student Handbook for clarification:

Beginning with the January 2015 semester, for the duration of the pre-clinical semesters, students will be able to replace two F grades with the R grade, after repeating the course (s) and receiving a passing grade. Grades of R will not count in the student’s cumulative GPA nor will credits be counted towards completion of the degree requirements. Please see details on the implementation of the R grade in Section 2.7.13.1.7 Grade Replacement.

2.7.13.1.7 Grade Replacement

The RUSVM Grade Replacement Policy is designed to provide students with an opportunity to replace previously failed grades after repeating a course and receiving a passing grade.

  • Beginning with the January 2015 semester and beyond, students will be able to replace F grades in their GPA after repeating the course and receiving a passing grade;
  • Grades of R will not be counted in the student’s cumulative GPA nor will credits be counted towards completion of the degree requirements;
  • Failed courses for which grade replacement has been granted will remain on the student’s permanent record, including their transcript, marked with an R;
  • Grade Replacement only applies to grades in the pre-clinical portion of the program;
  • Grade Replacement allows for students to replace grades in a maximum of 2 courses during the length of the program;
  • Additional failed courses will remain in the cumulative GPA calculation and will appear in the transcript accordingly.

Movie Theater (CASH ONLY)

Did anyone say movies? The Saint Kitts Caribbean Cinema is only a few short minutes from campus and is located on the main road on the island called… Island Main Rd. The awesome thing for those who live on campus, you can take the bus there for just $2.50EC.

The Megaplex accepts only cash. They offer snack packages like in the states. E.g., 2 drinks and popcorn is $16EC, large drink and mega nachos with sales and cheese is $22EC. The tickets themselves are $17.50/person.

The theaters are clean with very comfortable seats. From my experience, way better than back in New Orleans. The theater wasn’t packed at all, and it felt like being back at home.

Check out the movies at the Saint Kitts Megaplex 7: http://caribbeancinemas.com/location/st-kitts/

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 6.00.07 PM

Take-Out & Delivery

On the island there is a company that delivers food from about 20 restaurants on island. It’s called 869togo, which is the area code on Saint Kitts and Nevis. Most prices are in EC, but a lot of them are located in touristy areas and charge in US.

They are constantly making connections with local restaurants and businesses, including a flower delivery service, ice cream shop, and a convenience store. Every month or so you’ll notice a new restaurant, which is pretty awesome because you order anything you want and it’s to you within an hour. You can even order ahead to ensure your food arrives at the exact time you want it.

There are also free delivery days, which offer free things along with no delivery fee, which is $10EC. Those are the days I like to use to my advantage! I’ve even had family members order food for me from back home for birthdays and as rewards for doing well. It’s a nice service to utilize.

Most food is reasonable or inexpensive, I’ve actually used the service a lot this January semester. It deliver’s from campus to Monkey Hill and Half Moon, which is within the area where most students live.

I’ve listed the categories from their website:

  • American
  • Asian
  • Chinese
  • Convenience
    Store
  • Dessert
  • Flowers
  • Ice Cream
  • Indian
  • International
  • Jamaican
  • Local
  • Mexican
  • Middle Eastern
  • Pizza
  • Quick Service
  • Sushi
  • Taiwanese

View 869togo.com menus here!

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 5.54.40 PM

Things I Wish I Packed

Things I wish I had packed:

  • GoPro (with underwater housing!!)
  • 3M hooks and replacements
  • Kitchen rugs
  • Wine bottle opener (I either didn’t pack or I lost here)
  • Bottle opener (for beer, especially, but many local drinks are in glass)
  • Shower head
  • Brita filter (faucet or pitcher)
  • Back-up iPhone charger
  • Travel mug/Water bottle (insulated preferably)
  • A second bra (no, seriously, I only have one…)
  • Sunscreen (I know, why would I forget that?)
  • Light jewelry (necklace and earrings)
  • Extra US checks
  • Wifi router!! (if you need to reach out to the cable/internet company: office@thecable.net)
  • Baseball cap
  • Perfume or cologne
  • Head phones
  • Sweat shirt
  • Extra nose rings (I’d suggest bringing extra “rings” for your piercings. Chances are you’re going to lose it once)

Things I’m glad I packed:

  • Apple TV
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels (kitchen and bathroom)
  • Bathroom rugs
  • Shower curtain
  • Dog and cat food (believe it or not, you would think you can buy it here, but the school Hills store doesn’t open until the first week of the semester; unless you want to settle for Purina Dog Chow or Pedigree from the grocery store)
  • Cutting board
  • Can opener
  • Sheets (I know they suggest you bring it, but DEFINITELY bring it)
  • Light/Medium quilt (surprisingly, if you use your A/C at night, it can get really cold)
  • Sweat pants
  • Batteries (AA, AAA, and D)

Passport Expiring on Island?

Today my husband and I attempted to get his passport renewed by the U.S. Embassy who was visiting Saint Kitts. I found out a lot of useful information. I would also suggest making sure your passport is up-to-date through your time on the island so you don’t have to deal with this.

First of all, the U.S. Embassy from Barbados visits Saint Kitts every six months, which means they came April 2017 and will come again November 2017. I’m not sure if they stick to these specific months, but at this moment, that is the information I have.

If you need to make an appointment to visit with a consulate from the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, you should do so on this website: https://evisaforms.state.gov/acs/default.asp?postcode=BGN&appcode=1

Below are requirements for passports via Barbados U.S. Embassy:

Fees must be paid by international money order or bank draft made out to “U.S. Embassy.” PLEASE NOTE: The money order or bank draft must have the correct and exact amount.  We will not issue any refunds.  

Fees are:

Child’s passport (under age 16): US$105
First adult passport: US$135
CRBA: US$100
Notarials: US$50 per signature

All applicants must provide: completed passport application; two passport-size photos (2” x 2”); proof of U.S. citizenship such as previous U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth abroad, or U.S. naturalization certificate; and social security card.  Please bring originals AND photocopies of all documents.  You must also provide a prepaid air waybill (FedEx, DHL, LIAT QuikPak, etc.) in order to have the new passport mailed back to you.

Requirements for Adult Renewals

  • Your last passport was issued when you were age 16 or older
  • Your last passport was issued within the past 15 years
  • Your passport is undamaged and can be submitted with your application form

Applicants must provide:

  • DS-82 form: Application for a renewal of a U.S. Passport (all forms must be filled online and printed)
  • Current Passport and if necessary, supporting documents
  • Two (2) recent passport sized photograph (5cms x 5cms or 2″x2″) full face, front view with a white background
  • One (1) black and white copy of each identity and citizenship documents submitted with the application
  • Fees are payable in cash, Bank Draft*, International Money Order, Travelers Check made payable to “U.S. Embassy” or Credit Card*

Applicants who meet the above requirements can also mail their application to us without appearing at the  U.S. Embassy.

*We were not allowed to pay by credit card or bank draft! They wanted us to go to a local bank and get an international money order from our US accounts.

More info can be found here: https://barbados.usembassy.gov/acs_consularvisits/st.-kitts-and-nevis

P.S., you will not receive an email confirmation, so make sure you read everything before you close out the page. Even our screen shot of the confirmation page wasn’t enough. We made two trips to the consulate, and left with nothing. I will likely send my husband’s passport back to the states and have my mother send it back to us.

Payment Methods Accepted?

The payment methods accepted on island are slightly picky, so I wanted to share. Surprisingly enough, US cash is accepted by just about everyone. In fact, many people prefer it to EC cash. I’ve actually see more locals at the bank depositing US dollar bills than I see students. I’ve even tried to tip in EC and they ask for US.

Below are the payment methods accepted and not accepted on island:

EC currency*** Accepted
US currency*** Accepted
Visa Accepted
MasterCard Accepted
Discover Accepted by most
American Express Not accepted**

** Not accepted at grocery stores or restaurants; AmEx are only accepted at the Marriott, excluding American Express gift cards.

***The Marriott does not accept cash in US or EC; payment methods accepted are only room charge or credit/debit cards.

 

Health Insurance (Vision & Dental Included)

I apologize now for this information being all over the place! They do not make it easy to view and add insurance options. It takes me at least 15 minutes to find all of these sites, so I hope this help.

Insurance from RUSVM is through Aetna Student Health. Coverage includes transport off the island in case of an emergency in which doctors in Saint Kitts cannot treat you.

Once you start your first semester, you can get your health insurance information. All you have to do is go to www.aetnastudenthealth.com select Ross University School of Medicine, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Both medical school and veterinary school will show up together. Once you get on the RUSVM page you can find a doctor, pharmacy, or hospital, view insurance plan details, and print your ID card.

If you wish to print your ID card, click on “print your ID card” and add your student ID without @ symbol (@0027xxxx) and birth date.  Your ID card will pop up for printing. You likely won’t receive your card until the end of your first semester, so it’s a good idea to print it off just in case of an emergency.

Make an account with Aetna to view coverage, print ID cards, see members in your insurance plan, see coverage and benefits, file claims, view claim statuses, see health records, etc. Visit https://member.aetna.com/memberSecure/featureRouter/home to make an account and login.

If you wish to purchase insurance for a family member, you will have to visit https://students.aetnastudenthealth.com/welcome.aspx?groupid=474883. Again, you must fill out your student ID without @ symbol (@0027xxxx) and birth date. A list of options will pop up to add to your plan. For dental and vision insurance, you will have to add an option before you can add a dependent. When you move forward, it will ask for the student’s information and then the dependent’s information. At this point, you will pay with a credit card. You must pay at the time of proof of coverage.

Dental and Vision? I’d suggest not spending your money on it. It’s sold as “insurance” but what it truly is is a discount card. I purchased it excited to go home and get my teeth cleaned, but I’d have to pay out of pocket after receiving a “discount” by a participating dentist or optometrist. It’s much cheaper to visit a dentist for a cleaning or an optometrist on island, which the school nurse can refer you to, than pay out of pocket in the US. I’ve included the program details below:

16/17 Vital SavingsSM on Dental

Vital SavingsSM on Dental is a dental discount program that helps you and your dependents save. In most instances, savings range from 15-50 percent on services from general dentistry and cleanings to root canals, crowns, and orthodontia (braces). There are no claims to file.

Because Vital Savings by Aetna is supported by the Aetna Dental Access® network, you have over 156,000* available dental practice locations to choose from nationwide. Each dentist is credentialed and re-credentialed on an ongoing basis. Because Aetna has such a large network of participating dentists, chances are you’ll be able to find a dentist who participates in the program no matter where you work or live in the United States.

*According to the Aetna Enterprise Database as of August 2014.

Vision discounts
Save on eye exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses and solutions, LASIK surgery and other eye care services and accessories.

Natural products and services discounts
Save on acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, nutrition services, online consultations and more.

Fitness discounts
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Save on gym memberships and more.

Annual
9/1/16 – 8/31/17
Student $25
Student + 1 Dependent $44
Student + 2 or more Dependents $63
Procedure Average Cost† Average Cost with Vital Savings†† Member Savings
Periodic Oral Exam $61 $32 $29
Comprehensive Oral Exam $96 $45 $51
X-Ray, Intraoral – Complete Series Including Bitewing $150 $80 $70
X-Ray, Bitewings – Four Films $71 $38 $33
X-Ray Panoramic Film $127 $67 $60
Cleaning (Prophylaxis) – Adult $113 $62 $51
Cleaning (Prophylaxis) – Child $82 $45 $37
Sealant Per Tooth $67 $32 $35
Filling – 1 Surface Resin (White) Filling, Front (Anterior) Tooth $182 $94 $88
Crown – Porcelain Fused to High Noble Metal (i.e. gold) $1,176 $799 $377
Restorative Crown – Porcelain Fused to Noble Metal $1,144 $747 $397
Root Canal Front Tooth (Anterior) Excluding Final Restoration $814 $480 $334
Root Canal Premolar Tooth (Bicuspid), Excluding Final Restoration $906 $582 $324
Root Canal Molar, Excluding Final Restoration $1,120 $784 $336
Scaling/Root Planing Four or More Contiguous Teeth $250 $152 $98
Complete Upper Denture (Maxillary) $1,310 $937 $373
Extraction of Erupted Tooth or Exposed Root – Includes Local Anesthesia and Suturing If Needed $198 $90 $108
Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment Child $5,605 $3,550 $2,055

**The select regional average cost represents the average fees for the procedures listed above in Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago and New York City as displayed in the Estimate Cost of Care tool as of August 2013.

***Actual costs and savings may vary by provider, service and geographic location. The average cost with Vital Savings by Aetna is the average of the negotiated fees for the cities referenced above.