Congrads and Good Luck to all incoming MUA Fall 2012 Students. I was fortunate enough to spend a week visiting Nevis (pronounced KNEE-vis) and MUA is summer and thought i would share some info.
1. Getting there.
DO NOT FLY TO THE AIRPORT ON NEVIS....the cost differential to fly there as compared to St. Kitts is not worth it.
I know there will be wide diversity in where people are coming from, but all end up on a 34 square mile island. I suggest setting up an American Airlines "AA Advantage account" as the seems like the Airline that visits ST KITTS most frequently flying through Miami and PR. I think Delta also flies there through Atlanta or Charlotte. Search out your cheapest way , i like cheaptickets.com
The St Kitts airport seems modern enough; customs and immigration went smoothly. You then need to take an approx $10US taxi to the dock in Basseterre to get the ferry from there to Nevis.
The ferrys leave essentially hourly during the day with the last at 6pm. There is a website with the schedule
but don't trust it- when i was there they cancelled a trip so plan on taking the earliest possible on. The trip one-way is $11 US. The Ferry goes to Charlestown in Nevis. This is the largest town on the island so while there if you need or want to shop or do banking all is within walking distance of the dock. The you have an approx $15US taxi ride to MUA from Charlestown.
2. MUA Campus
Let me just say that my expectations of what to expect were exceeded. The campus sits on an old sugar plantation on the atlantic side of the island (the side without beaches). It sit back of the main island road about 400 yards after a nice long private driveway and sign. The campus is large and well-maintained. The staff are very professional. The library is modern, the main classroom building is a large three story structure- the tallest building on the island. Seems like all classrooms and study areas air-conditioned. There is a cafe which operates 7am-7pm M-F, and 11-6 saturdays. There is a 24 hour study area next to the cafe and gym (which requires a small additional membership) in the main building, but appears to be a work out on your own deal, mostly cardio equip with some free weights.There is also a outdoor pavilion and picnic area- but the swimming pool is gone. Professors seem very accessible and friendly. The ones i spoke with are happy to be teaching at MUA and positive about the schools future. Overall the campus is very functional and there are rumors of a new building project. WiFi is free on campus
The Cafe on campus provides meals 6 days per week. There is a meal plan with two parts: meals are $8-thats for any meal, breakfast lunch or dinner. That includes a soft drink. You by the in increments starting at 30 meals; the is a slight discount as you prepay for the meals, i think 30 meals was $238 US and 60 meals was $475; then there is a flex part of the plan where you prepay at least $100 and thats for drinks, snacks, etc. All is kept track at the cafe by the staff. No meal card or anything required. The food was tasty and menu varied enough for most tastes. They also serve items ala carte and they take US$ and credit cards. There seems to be other food and snack vendors the come to the picnic area and set up stands selling food an drinks on a regular basis. In fact on of the best restaurants on the island- an indian one told us they were going to start selling at MUA. There is nothing within walking distance of campus. Most students seem to either eat lunch on campus or drink or walk home to eat.
There are two Dorm complexes associated with but not run by the school. Potworks and Rawlins.
Potworks is about 400 yards from the school and an easy five min. walk on a back road. It is a somewhat modern complex of three or four 3 story motel-type buildings. These rooms are mostly singles or studios; with a few doubles and suites. Mostly MUA students but some locals too. This is the quiet dorm. I spoke to some student who implied Rawlins was the party dorm. The rooms have most of the essential furniture you need with the exception of a desk lamp. All rooms are AC equipped and they have back-up power, WiFi and cable are extra. A fair number of students have cars too. Getting a ride to schools seems easy. There is a small store and cafe on the roof of one of the dorms which is open 7 days a week and sells meals and groceries including beer.The other dorm complex, Rawlins is about 5 to ten mins from campus and really NOT walk-able. The main road is narrow and poorly lit. Rawlins is a larger complex of mostly doubles. Its off the main road but near mini-market gas station with has a Bank of Nevis ATM (there is no ATM on campus). I am told there is some type of bar at Rawlins, but did not see it. The office for both dorms is at Rawlins which is where rent is paid. The school runs a shuttle van to Rawlins and the schedule is posted on the campus website
5. Cell Phones
During orientation the two cell providers: Digicell and Lime will provide free phones loaded with some complimentary minutes for student to try. The phone service is a pay as you go type thing common in the caribbean.
Two banks to pick from Sciota Bank and Bank of Nevis. School has a relationship with Sciota but Scotia is only located in Charlestown- a 20min. drive. The school does run a van there fridays (see above). Bank of Nevis is also in Charlestown but has the ATM nearer the school at Rawlins.
Seems like most places like restaurants, etc take debit/credit cards and US$$ -not much need to carny EC$