Most people just want a general idea of what to expect. I'll try to be as unbiased as possible. Before deciding on Statia, I did my research and I looked at several other appealing schools. For more than one reason I chose this one. I didn't make any school visits, so I can't tell you for sure which facilities are better or which islands are nicer. I was going to post pictures when I got here but I have been really busy studying and I just found out that my camera is broken. I'll try to figure something out as far as that goes...
I can tell you that this island has tons of history behind it, in turn; most of the buildings are small, brick, and super old. There are tons of abandoned brick storehouses all over the island. No skyscrapers, mansions, or modern development. Most of the streets are small, cobblestone and one-way. That, in addition to the weird road signs it makes driving a pain at first. The cows, goats and chickens have the right away also. The islanders are the nicest people I have ever met. You can actually get a bad reputation around here for not waving to everyone you pass. The only time they are rude is when it comes to driving, but that makes sense. They have been driving on the same roads their entire life and here comes some foreigner going the wrong way down a one-way street, it's understandable. A vehicle isn't a must, but it's very convenient. A good Statia beater will cost about $2,500 or a scooter is about $1,000. During the week, there is nothing to do but study, you're in med school. The weekends are usually a pretty good time though. People hang out at a few of the local bars, one in particular. There is usually a beach party on Sat. (the water is beautiful). Almost every weekend someone has a birthday party. The snorkeling/diving is great. The Quill, an inactive volcano, is fun to hike, ONCE. If you enjoy a somewhat more “upbeat” atmosphere, a plane ticket can be booked at anytime to one of the other islands for $80. I think a boat ride is about the same price. Most of the other islands have discounts on hotel rooms for students and are around $90 a night, double beds (down from $150-200). Go in groups and cut the price. There are some really good restaurants here at reasonable prices, no fast food. Most grocery items you find in the US, you find here, the prices aren't that much different (depending on where you live now). Money exchange; US $1= 1.77 guilder. To call home, use Skype. They have prepaid cell phones here that are pretty cheap and convenient.
Yes, most of the professors are foreign, that includes the accent and everything. They know the material well and do a great job of teaching. I have not had any problems understanding them and I'm from the south. Our instructors are very approachable, they invite questions and they interact with the students while teaching (to make sure everyone is awake). One of our instructors actually memorized everyone in the classes name within the first two days; I still don't know everyone's name. Each semester differs slightly, but exams are given three times a semester and all held within one week. Everything taught within the first two semesters is accumulative and may be asked at anytime on any test. The lectures from each class are designed to coincide with each other. While learning about the thoracic cavity in anatomy, you are dissecting it in anatomy lab, studying blood, heart, respiration and muscle contraction in physiology, etc. The test are straight foreword (mostly), hard if you didn't study or pay attention and somewhat easy if you did. The professors want you to pass. Questions are mainly case study or clinical based and in computer based USMLE format. They are similar to BRS, Pre-test, and Kaplan questions and they have anywhere from 4-10 multiple-choice options. One minute per question. All of the class lectures are available to the students online through the school. The school website does a poor job of showing the actual school premises, the school handbook pictures are much better. The school facilities are modern and in some cases better than I have seen in some undergrad US schools. I have been to the library once, they have books, not sure what kind, but I haven't heard anyone complain. I brought my own books because I'm much more familiar with them. The labs are great, they have what you need. All of the textbooks are good and they are included in the tuition. Tutors are available every-night, a few are P.A.s (also students) and the professors will help you out if you are stuck. I think you start clinical rotations, “on call”, in the local hospital during the fourth or fifth semester, sooner if you are in the hyperbaric program.
The Semi-Biased Part
I know a few people that have transferred here. The ones I've talked to were from Saba and MUA-N. There are several others but I haven’t talked much with them. The person from MUA was happy there but had some problems in Pharm. The info he gave me; facilities were roughly the same vs. more students, the island was much more modern, anatomy lab was based on selective learning and the clinicals weren't as good. The person from Saba; smaller island with less to do, compatible facilities, better rep, and problematical admin.
-Research the school
-Talk to other students
-Bring clothes hangers
-Learn from several resources
-Take Biochem before you start
-Find a house close to the school
-Be open minded
-Start looking over basic anatomy
-Buy plane tickets to San Juan, from there buy a ticket from Carib. Sun to the island
-Contact your mentor
-Bring a laptop and printer
-Be prepared to learn more than you thought was possible or necessary
-Don't come to med school based on atmosphere, do your research.
Feel free to ask any questions and I‘ll add some more as I think about it.