hey guys, I'm Gassan, I'm a first semester student, and I received an email from a prospective student who asked me questions about the school, and I tried answering them. I remember asking alot of these questions before coming to school here, so hopefully this will answer some of them. (after reviewing this, it seems like I didn't answer everything, maybe I'll post more later...I'm late for class.
1. The most important thing I want to know is how is the education at
Do you think it is sufficient do you feel that the professors were
-the answer to this is yes, the professors so far are good. The first semester is put together really well. Most of the man's best friending that comes from the students is regarding non academic things. The professors are really thorough, and provide us with their teaching resources. The time that you spend here on the island you're learning basic sciences, and it's not any different than basic sciences anywhere else. They have some teachers here that are permanent professors (Dr. Misenburg is the biochem guy, and we use his book...once you get past his thick german accent you realize that he's an amazing teacher...he's one of the best presenters I've ever listened to) Dr. Kalli is the Histology professor, and he's also really good. The genetics teacher, Dr. Larson is dry, and speaks in a monotone, I find that his teaching style confuses me more than helps, so I do most of my learning on my own for genetics. Dr. Grogan is a biochemist...and he's dry like most biochemists and a lot of students complain about his style (his style is very biochemistry..I was a biochem major in college so I don't have any problem with it...though he does kinda sound like Kermit the frog) Dr. Laville is also another permanent teacher. She's very nice, and she's teaching us lipid metabolism right now, and so she's on my bad side at the moment, she just dumped a hell of a lot of material on us. Then there are rotating professors, and they've mostly been involved in our Cell Biology and Histology course. They got two amazing teachers that came in from Canada, Dr. Kelly taught us cell bio, and everyone loved him, and Dr. Hannah taught us about embryonic development and a couple of the histologic systems.
2. How was the atmosphere at Ross with regards to the student
local people, etc? Are the students there motivated or are they too
back?The students are motivated. I've never studied as hard as this in my life, and it's paying off...so far I'm doing really well. But I know of a lot of people that are stuggling with the material. So far I seem to pick up things pretty quick (which I'm happy about, because I was worried about my ability to cut it as a medical student after being rejected from school in Texas) anyway we honestly don't have much else to do but study, and you can't hang out with people because people are always studying. it's almost the opposite of laid back. Everyone seems to be wanting to prove themselves, and you don't want to take it easy because every semester costs so much...think about paying $5000/exam you don't wanna eff any of the tests up. The pace of learning is really fast, it's a lot different than undergrad. Right now I'm typing this from the library, and there are a bunch of people in here, but most of them seem to be socializing more than studying, but some are studying...it's lunchtime afterall.
The locals are very friendly here. They're a lot friendlier than other islands, because this isn't really a touristy island. The Dominicans are really religous, and are nice. The people that are associated with the university, like the taxi services and the food shacks and the stores around campus are all really friendly, because all of their business depends on us here at school.
3. Would you do it again if you had to? Are you happy there?So far so good. Obviously I would have liked to get into a U.S. school, but given my choice of caribbean schools, I would still have come to Ross. When I was interviewing with St. George's the Doctor who was interviewing me (a St. George's graduate practicing ER medicine in Texas) told me that with going to the Caribbean, you should go to either St. George (grenada), Ross(dominica), or AUC(st. marteen)but if he had it to do all over again, he would've gone whereever it was the cheapest. Honestly, I never inquired about AUC, but between St. George and Ross, Ross was cheaper, and everything else seemed to be about the same, they were started about the same time etc. So that's why I came here. Another benefit or negative depending on how you look at it, is that at Ross, you're rushed to get off of the island. We don't really get breaks for the summer or whatever, and in between terms we have a short break, so that we compress all 4 semesters here. I'm sure that that's going to get annoying, I'm hoping that I don't get burned out. So you get off of the island faster, but you sacrifice your breaks. I think that St. Georges gets the breaks.
4. How is the campus like? Is it modern and up to par with technology.
What do you do on the weekends, etc. The campus is okay. The new lecture hall is amazing, it's nicer than the UT lecture halls, and more technologically advanced, but that's because they just finished it last year. Some of the other class rooms aren't as good, but they're all airconditioned. and they're building a new one, it was a steel frame when i got here in the beginning of January, but now it's all closed in, and it says that it's supposed to be finished by the start of the may class.
There's wireless internet on some parts of campus, the library, and the multipurpose study lab. And the wireless stuff is good...not as fast as the states, but I've been able to download from newsgroups at like 40kbps, which I'll live with if I have to. (you can't use peer to peer like Kazaa, because they have it disabled)
5. In regards to the living situations - what are they like - food wise
what is the climate like - is there a phone in your room - can you cook
there a cleaning service - etc. Any insight you can give me would be
great.There's a whole variety of living situations here. The food...well, there's not what you'd call a grocery store around here, there's the James store right across the street from the campus, which I'd refer to as a glorified convenience store. They have canned goods and dry food stuffs...but the way that vegetables and meats and stuff are bought on the island is that they have a market every saturday in portsmouth (which is the town right next to us, it’s like a 3 minute ride in a transport van) anyway, they sell fresh fish and meats and fruits and vegetables and stuff like that. Honestly, I’ve never been to it, because apparently it starts at like 4 am on Saturdays, and by 9 am most of the stuff that they sell there is gone. I don’t know about you, but I just wanna sleep on Saturday morning, not buy stuff…but that’s me. So I stick to the shacks and the local food places around school mostly. The shacks sell many varieties of food, but the only types of meats that you’ll get are Fish and Chicken (if you refer to those as “meats”) anyway there are 5…5 chinese restaurants right around campus….as a result, I’ve never eaten as much Chinese food in my life! Some are okay, some aren’t as okay, but the prices are quite reasonable, you’ll get a meal that can easily feed you for two meals for 10EC which is less than $5 US. There’s one shack that sells Mexican food, there’s Indian food, and a fried chicken place, a pizza place, places where you can get sandwiches with chicken or turkey or tuna (no real beef products) there’s this health food place run by the nutrition teacher (Mrs. Lambert, who’ll teach you all about the benefits of breast feeding and nipple rolling) I actually like her fruit yogurt…Anyway, stuff like fresh milk…no…there’s this Parmalat stuff, which I’ve never tried, and then there are powdered milks, like Nido which is popular everywhere in the world except the U.S. so I’ve found.
I’m from Houston Texas where the weather is sucky. The weather here is just about the same. Right now it’s winter time, so the heat is kinda tolerable…the temperature is mostly in the 80s, but it rains almost everyday. But it’s a different kind of rain. I’ve never heard thunder or seen lightening. It can rain with a cloud in the sky. And if it rains, it rains for 5 minutes, and then stops. Only several times has it rained longer than that.
6. In regards to the actual classes. What is the grading system -
pass/fail or A,B,C, etc. Is there a note service for students (where
students take turns transcribing lectures)?There is no note taking service. The teachers give you all kinds of handouts, and they post their teaching materials on the G-drive here at school. The G-drive is a student server where the teachers can post the overheads from class, or their power point presentations and things like that. So even without the note taking service there’s really so much stuff that you have that you couldn’t read it all even if you wanted to. Trust me, there’s no lack of learning materials, they seem to have it down to a science. With this wireless network, which is mostly new here (I think that this is the first semester) I’ve been able to download the powerpoint presentations and go along with them in the lecture hall and add my own notes. (by the way, for the wireless thing, I got a 802.11 g card. The network is B compatible (g is compatible with that, but I don’t have “a” compatibility) and Bill Huber (the guy in charge of the IT dept) said that the beginning of the semester that there are plans to expand the wireless networks to the class rooms eventually (but I haven’t a clue when) and when they do that, it’s going to be “a” so I might have to get a new card. My best advice is that if you’re going to get a card, while it might be more expensive, get one that’s compatible with everything, a,b,g. But for now, b and g work just fine and I think that b and g will always continue to work here in the library and in the multipurpose room.
If there are any other questions, just let me know…lunch is over, and so I’m going to class now. Good luck making your decision