View Full Version : Couple of Questions

07-04-2008, 01:59 PM
I am starting school in September 08. I had a couple of questions for some of the students currently on the island. Can anyone recommend which housing is the most desirable/best? Group 1,2,3? I know it is already pretty late in the game to sign up for my first choice, but I'll give it a shot. I want housing that is affordable and close to the campus. Do you all use the transportaion provided by the school for an additional fee? Another question was what do you guys use to make international calls back home, I'm sure cell phones are wayy too expensive, looks like I'll have to leave my phone at home even though I have another year on the contract, such a waste. How is the food down there? Is there a meal plan or do most of you cook in your apartments, any need to bring food from home? Lastly, do you buy your textbooks once on the island? Any advice would be appreciated.....Thanks!

07-04-2008, 02:29 PM
As far as your phone at home, if it's an unlocked tri or quad band phone you can bring it and sign up for service down here. If it isn't and you want to terminate your contract, you just need to show proof that you are moving our of the country and out of their coverage zone to be able to terminate the contract without paying an early termination fee.

07-04-2008, 03:06 PM
I would recommend Mandalay or Amor Villas. Mandalay is nicer because it's about a 3 minute drive to the new campus (where you'll be holding your 2nd semester classes) and it also has a beautiful beach view. But Amor's good too if you get a single. As far as transportation, it is about $400.00, i think...and buses leave the campus at 2,5, 8 and 11pm to all housing places. As for your phone calls, I used to use Iconnect which was $15.00 a month but you'll need to connect wireless and maybe you can purchase a land phone now because mine was pretty expensive at the radio shack here. I know a bunch of people who use SKYPE as well. Cell phones are not that expensive here some ppl buy them for about 100EC=~40US (but this doesn't include the cool modern ones) and buy prepaid minutes. Incoming calls are free so you can have your family and friends call you instead if you choose not to get a land phone. There aren't any meal plans, not even a cafeteria, but there are three dining venues around (two of which are papi's (one chinese place, one grill place) which both help you build your immunity and another of which is the sandwich guy who makes the best sandwiches in the world...well um...in antigua. You can get a bunch of snacks/canned foods/macaroni and cheese boxes etc. because you won't have time to cook every day and the food here can be a little expensive (I'm used to 99cents stores and sales at Pathmark every week). As for textbooks, ORDER them now, half.com, wherever, make sure you get them from home because they're expensive at the bookstore. The textbooks I recommend you getting is Netter's Atlas, Ross Histology book, Baby Moore Anatomy (you won't have time to read the big one), BRS anatomy, Netter's flash cards, Histology Road Map, and make sure you burn the ADAM CD (anatomy) from someone once you get to the island because they use the images there to test you on the anatomy visuals.

Good luck to you.

07-04-2008, 06:42 PM
I would have to say the best housing is Mandalay and Amor Villas as well. ALthough, I belive it's $3400 for those. Then Sugar mill is pretty sweet too since laundry is included there and you get a tv in each bedroom and the living room. Their single apartments are nice too. Then trafalgar is cool, but it's far if you don't have a car. Trafalgar is the only housing where the transportation is $400. Everything else is in the $200s and Cortsland is $100 something. So after trafalgar, then I guess Anchorage Inn. I lived there last semester, now I live at Trafalgar. We have a car so trafalgar isn't bad at all. As for Cortsland, my friend showed me pictures and needless to say last semester, she moved to anchorage within the 1st week of the semester. At least though, Cortsland has a communal kitchen. Anchorage inn didn't have a kitchen, but utilities are included. I made cable be included by buying my own power cord for the cable box from Hitachi (shh don't tell ;)) We all were stealing internet until they saw us on the network. The ethernet ports are in the room so everyone just had their own cord. And for Jacobs and the new Josephs apartments, I haven't seen the inside of them nor the outside of Josephs so I don't know. I use yahoo messenger to call home. You buy prepaid either $10 or $25. And it's only 1 cent a minute. My first $10 lasted from when I got here on Jan. 4 to the last week of June. But given, my family didn't mind calling me on my cell phone here. As for books, I borrowed BRS anatomy, and bought Moore and Netters. For this semester I bought the BRS for biochemistry which is a waste of money, but I bought the Lippincott review book too. For genetics, you just need the slides. And I'm in histology too, and the guy I lived next to last semester gave me his book. I don't think the books here are that expensive as compared with my undergrad bookstore. And as for food, I shop at the bargain center and the cheapest brand I can find at Epicurean.

07-04-2008, 06:44 PM
Amor and Mandalay are favourites among the students but they are already occupied for next semester...you can try trafalgar (but very far), Utopia and Cortsland hotel (if you want really close to the campus). All these housing besides trafalgar are in 15 min driving vicinity of AUA. I would recommend school transportation for your first semester atleast. It is very reliable and you can explore other options of car rental during that time frame. For international phone calls, Skype is favourite amond students and also Vonage. Calling local in antigua is not expensive like back in states...its pre-paid and the charges are not bad...Bring a tri-band/Quad band phone from states if you are planning on using that. Food is available at both campuses...Old campus has chinese and some american dishes (Antiguan's version of starbucks is across the street here) and new campus has subway, some american dishes and indian food. Everything is available at epicurian in terms of groceries. Epicurian = Pathmark back in states...so my advice cook home = save money or Buy food from campus. There is no meal plan and everyone who plans to eat their own food has to COOK. I would recommend bringing some cranola bars and few snacks back from states but everything here is available at more price. PLEASE BUY YOUR BOOKS FROM HOME AND BRING IT WITH YOU IN YOUR CARRY-ON.

07-04-2008, 08:42 PM
Make sure for all of the things you bring to Antigua-take them out of boxes/wraps, anything to look it less new. I wish someone told me that before I came here because they charged me $$$ in customs. For something that won't pass off as used (like car parts I once I had to bring in)-print a fake receipt, don't worry they won't find out.

07-05-2008, 04:45 AM
Regarding telephone, there are a few options. One is what people have already outlined - get a triband or quad band GSM cell phone. The phone you have from your GSM U.S. service provider is more than likely a tri or quad band - AT&T/Cingular, T-mobile (if you are with Sprint or Verizon, then you will have to purchase a new phone from ebay, etc because neither of these companies are not GSM providers - they are CDMA carriers); however, your phone would be married, otherwise known as locked to their system. Call your cell phone service provider and tell them you want an unlock code for your phone so you can use it internationally. By law they have to provide you with this information so long as you have been a customer for more than 90 days (However, unless Congress renews this law, it expires the end of this year, 2008). After you get this unlock code, ask them for assistance on how to unlock your phone, or, browse the internet for information on how to unlock your model phone with the unlock code. You usually have a limited number of attempts (5) to unlock your phone, so make sure you do it right! After your phone is unlocked, when you get to Antigua you can use any other GSM (sim card) service provider. Just go to the store, start your service, and there ya go.

What I have outlined above is one option. Another option to look into VoIP (Voice Over IP). This is an internet telephone. Someone above mentioned Skype, but there are many options available, with far better servicve. I use MagicJack while living in eastern Europe, and their service is far superior to Skype and other VoIP's. The three main U.S. companies for VoIP are MagicJack, Skype, and Vonage. There is a list of over 30 companies here in Europe, with some very cool technology over here, but if you are not very tech savvy then I will refrain from listing info about it here.

All VoIP require high speed (broadband) internet. If you have a dialup connection then VoIP will not work. You must have DSL or greater. I will explain MagicJack, and none of the others as MagicJack is the cheapest and has the best quality reception.

MagicJack is a device that is no larger than two jump drives together. It plugs into your USB port. At the outer end is a modem port to connect a landline telephone. After plugging in the MagicJack and installing a small piece of software, the device is up and running. Upon registration you get your own telephone number for whatever location you prefer in the States and Canada. I am from Louisiana so I chose a phone number with a 985 area code. Even though I am in Eastern Europe my family can make a local call to me because my telephone number is a local number for them. This highly reduces cost. Also, with the MagicJack local and long distance calls to anywhere in North America are free. Even though I am here in Eastern Europe I still make free calls to anywhere in the United States I want. The price for the MagicJack is a one time fee of $40.00. The first year of service is free, and each year thereafter is $20/annually. Or, you can chose to purchase a four year service for $60.00. There are no additional fees unless you do want to call an international number. i.e. somewhere in China, or Japan, etc. However, if someone has a MagicJack in (for example) China and they have a Chinese phone number, then the call is free. This is the only case where international calls are free - the person you are calling must have a MagicJack. Otherwise, to make an international call is 2 cents a minute. Still very cheap. Along with the device you have call waiting, call forwarding, voice mail, amongst other features.

Now, I have outlined the positives of MagicJack, but with anything there are a few negatives. 1. Your computer has to always be connected. 2. You internet connection has to always be on. 3. The hardware and software are new, so there are a few glitches/bugs that are being worked out with the code of the device.

Overall, I would not recommend anyone to go with Vonage, because they change approximately $40 to $50 per month for service. The only advantage is that you can use Vonage with your computer off; however, you still need a constant running broadband internet connection. I do not find the call reception quality for Vonage to be better than MagicJack, and Vonage is much much much more expensive. What would you prefer, $40 to $50 a month, or $20 a year with the first year free?

If you prefer a cell phone though, then make sure to get an 'unlocked' tri-band GSM phone.

Hope this helps.

07-05-2008, 08:27 AM
Just wanted to add the with magicjack you can use either a regular phone handset or use your computer's built in mic and speakers (if you have them). Either one.

07-05-2008, 09:37 AM
but isnt internet connection much slower in antigua?
so doesnt that effect ur phone call when u use magic jack?

07-05-2008, 11:16 AM
thanks for all the detailed responses. sounds like food isn't much of an issue, thats good to know. as for cell phone, what you guys are saying is that if you go overseas, your provider will terminate your contract? I'll have to find out if At&t will do that. Once you get on the island, incoming calls on your cell are free? That sounds too good to be true. I will most probably go with school transportation for the first semester since that sounds like the most practical option right now. Also, I'm hearing mixed things about the books, do the majority of people buy them online at home and bring them down to the island, does the university bookstore really rip you off that much? Also, is cable tv and high speed internet offered in all housing?

Fornis J. Plebney
07-05-2008, 11:42 AM
do the majority of people buy them online at home and bring them down to the island, does the university bookstore really rip you off that much?

Many, if not all, of the books you use can be found used on amazon.com or half.com. I've always just asked to see which books you really need (vice what is on the booklist) and ordered them ahead of time and brought them down with me. Why buy the same books new and at an inflated prices at the bookstore if you don't have to.

07-05-2008, 12:24 PM
Regarding books...yes the school has all the books but their prices are same as the prices of new books back in states. For example: you can find a new anatomy textbook for 89 us $ back in states and also in bookstore but you can get same new book for less price at amazon or half.com ( I got it new for 29 $ at amazon). So the prices of books at bookstore are same as what you will find at your own undergrad college's bookstore. I hope that helps you. regarding cable, yes we have cable tv in student housing. At utopia, it costs me 70 ec for one month which includes close to 100 channels. all same channels as I get on comcast back in states. We split that 70 ec among 2 roommates so that comes out to 35 ec per person or close to 12 us $ :). Regarding internet, you will have an option of ACT and cable & wireless. you can get reviews reagrding it in different threads.

07-05-2008, 06:00 PM
Before you buy internet, make sure you check to see if there's a free internet signal around somewhere. I was gonna buy ACT, and so the guy gave me 2 free trial cards. Each card has a code that you have to scratch off to see and these flemsy cards, I scratched right through the code. Luckily, I discovered if we leave our door open, we get free internet signal here. It's a small price to pay in my opinion.

07-06-2008, 02:25 AM
md12886, you said that in student housing there is an option for internet. we can choose either ACT or cable with wireless. Are these options available in all student housing? Also, can you or someone else please say what the price is each month for each? Also, what is the approximate speed download per second for each of these connections?

Thanks in advance.

07-06-2008, 06:25 AM
I personally know that most of the student housing has ACT....all you have to do is buy the instantnet card which is a code that helps you get online....that code would cost you around 210 us $ for 4 months (so around 55 bucks a month). We all know its expensive for crappy service but there aren't much options when it comes to internet. on the other side, cable n wireless can be installed anywhere on the island...with a small installation fee of 150 e.c. I never used cw so dont have much details. All i know is, its faster than act and u pay 150 installation fee, 75 us $ per month for internet and sign a 1 yr contract. with ACT, you do not need to sign contract....those are the only two options available on the island. Download speeds are better with cable n wireless according to few threads here, I personally believe that download speed is worst than Dial up service back in states. Cable n wireless can be equipped at most of our student housing...only downfall is the big contract n more money with install. fee. Believe me, My biggest expense so far on island is on internet...everything else is so cheap n managable...IF you know how to spend...Hope this helps...:)

07-06-2008, 06:53 AM
cool. that does help a lot. i think when i get there i am gonna check into c&w then. i have heard a lot of crappy things about ACT, and will not go that route if i can help it. you listing the prices helped me a lot as well. i now kind of know what to expect.

best to you and your studies md12886.

07-06-2008, 07:06 AM
oo yea one more thing...most of the students stay at library and study until 8 pm or 11 pm...thats the time when buses leave for housing....I personally like to study in library and internet at library is faster than our student housing....I download most of my stuff at library...n then come home n browse lil bit...so if you r one of those student who studies well at library , You might wanna think twice before signing that contract...because from what I heard...cable n wireless service are better if you need good download speed....which I use it at library n use my cheap ACT to browse internet when I am home....okay thats it for internet n now back to studies.....Looks like Bertha is not gonna hit Islands....good news for students at AUA:)

07-06-2008, 08:51 AM
.Looks like Bertha is not gonna hit Islands....good news for students at AUA:)
From stormcarib.com
Saturday July 5, 11:15AM PDT - Closer?
The track forecasts over the last couple days take Bertha closer and closer to the islands, showing a more southernly track then earlier thought. One of the models, the well respected UKMET, aims Bertha almost directly towards the islands! Right now however, the official forecast by the National Hurricane Center still keeps a safe distance of over 300 miles between Bertha and the islands. Although Bertha is now expected to become a hurricane in a about 3 days, the strongest winds will be away from the islands. Bertha is still pretty far out there so things can (and will) change. Not out of the woods yet, but so far looking pretty good. Use the Closest Point of Approach (http://www.stormcarib.com/closest2.htm) tool to calculate when and how close the storm can get to your island. -Gert

But i agree..doesn't look like it will be a problem for antigua.

Fornis J. Plebney
07-06-2008, 08:57 AM
All computer models have Bertha well North as of 5AM EDT on Sunday. That's always subject to change, though.

Tropical Storm: Computer Model Hurricane Forecasts : Weather Underground (http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at200802_model.html)

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