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Thread: Cost of Living

  1. #1
    shdc1000's Avatar
    shdc1000 is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    Cost of Living

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    Whats the cost of living here? I know you guys have only been here a few weeks but an approximate number would be nice. Could you break down costs for:

    -housing
    -food
    -internet
    -phone
    -electricity
    -car/transportation
    -any other misc. costs

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    DrQTKricket is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    the cost...

    so like you said, we are only a couple of weeks into this, so this is just a guess... i think the financial aid department did a pretty good job on estimating costs, but I can give you some more specifics...

    I am one of 22 students in my class, I live 10 minutes (walking) from school in Camps, and I share a 2 bedroom apartment/house with my roomate/boyfriend for $1100/mo ($550 each). Most people don't have roomates, and probably pay more. We haven't got our electricity bill yet but we only have two small airconditioners in the bedrooms that we only run at night, along with some lights and fans... we don't anticipate it will be too much over $150 US. Water is included in our rent, along with yard maintenance, but we did have to hook up the cable and internet which is about $100 US/mo. Then we also received digitel cell prepaid phones upon arrival.... we just use them to talk to friends at school or else it's too expensive to call home. If you spend $10 EC, you can talk for a few weeks. We decided to get yahoo voice and set up a number on our computer with an area code from Ohio (where we are from)... the incoming line with voicemail is $30/year and you buy credit for outgoing calls ( 1 cent per minute to call the US). Food can be pretty expensive here. They tend to import EVERYTHING, even fruits and vegetables that seem like they could be grown here (normally have a "USA" sticker). I would say between the two of us, we spend about... $400 EC/ week on groceries, plus a few snacks from the bookstore here and there. Transportation isn't too bad when you live as close as we do. We walk to school and anytime we want to go downtown (Basseterre), we hope on a "bus" (a van with a HA or H license plate) for $2 EC one way (less than $1US). Sometimes you need a taxi, which can be a little pricey, but no more than it is in the US. When we get groceries, we take the bus there, or walk, and take a taxi home for somewhere between $10 and $20 US. The beach part of the island, Frigate Bay, is a $20 US taxi ride away (tip included), and the buses will not take you there, so if you want to go to a beach, it will cost you, unless you hitch a ride or have a car. If you want to buy a car, there are lots of students selling cars for around 3-4K US, plus you have to get insurance and your license (~$100EC). You can also rent for about $300US/mo, or share a care with someone. So far, we haven't had much time to do anything "entertaining" that would cost money besides a few dinners here and there. Like I said, I think Allysa and Calvin (the financial aid team in NY) have done a really good job of making sure we have enough money to make it through the semester... the hardest part was the upfront expenses of plane tickets, laptops, vaccines, etc.

    I hope that answers your question...

  3. #3
    UMHS's Avatar
    UMHS is offline School Official 522 points
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    For those of you doing the conversions, one US dollar equals 2.6882 EC$ equals.

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    lifeAgift's Avatar
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    Thanks, that was very helpful.

    So the refrence made to financial aid was due to the fact that they shared information relative to expense and submitted a realistic budget for FAFSA/ Sallie Mae etc... ?

    Is your boyfriend/ roommate also a student and if not what will he be doing on the island each day while you are in class?

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    DrQTKricket is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    Yes, the comment made about the financial aid team was in regards to their calculations on cost of living and thus, how much they allowed us to borrow.

    My boyfriend actually is a med student with me, so we both have loans and are living pretty comfortably. However, I can say that there are a handful of students in our class that have brought either their kids, their spouse, or both, and they seem to be living off loans just like us, the only difference is, they seemed to have had previous "Career" jobs and maybe saved some money for this cause. Of the two couples I know where the husbands are in school and the wives are at home during the day, one has a baby, so they decided to find the money to buy a used car or rental car, because staying home all day with a baby and no car obviously wouldn't be fun As for the other couple, the school does a pretty good job of trying to include everyone they can in events like weekend hikes for example... that wife went with us and the faculty last weekend for a free hike while her husband stayed behind and studied. I'm not really sure what someone could do to occupy free time, given that I don't have much of it, but there seems to be endless possibilities, depending on your money situation. I mean, we do live on an island

    On a finishing note, I've noticed that the majority of students in my class do have kids and/or spouses, and a handful even had very prestigious careers back in the states, but amidst all the responsibilities they had and still have, they all wanted more for themselves and their families, and they all seemed more than determined to rise up to the occasion and do whatever it takes to get through this to the other side. A couple of ladies in our class have children and families back home, some people are running a family on the island with loan money meant for one person... so whatever the hardship... where there is a will, there is certainly a way.

  6. #6
    lifeAgift's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    I was curious about the what to do part because my husband will come along once I'm accepted and I read somewhere that visitors couldn't officially work on the island. I'm sure he'll love diving, running and hiking for a few weeks but then....

    Thanks for all of the insight. I'm definately going to plan a visit during the next 12-18 months. Sooner if possible!!!
    Last edited by lifeAgift; 05-25-2008 at 10:57 AM.

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