Orientation Day 4

So today was the final day of orientation. I was quite excited for the alumni presentation, however, it varied significantly from my expectations. I suppose the lesson learned is simply to come into things with an open mind. Conversely, I had a much different reaction towards the current student panel. Interestingly, this presentation provided many useful insights including the following pieces of advice:

1. Don’t get behind

2. Don’t get behind

3. Don’t get behind.

Tomorrow the journey begins towards Roseau. Hopefully there will be some good deals there…


Orientation Day 3/4

Well, the past two days have been quite interesting. Yesterday we learned how much work we are going to have over the course of the semester, and we also learned about the MPS (minimum passing score) and how it was calculated. The end result is that basically we are going to have more work than we can possibly handle and we’re going to have quite a difficult time getting extremely high grades.

Today was spent discussing wellness and opportunities to be involved within the campus. If you happen to possess the appropriate credentials, you can work as part of the Ross EMS team, which is a great opportunity to hone in on important clinical skills. Additionally, the service is great because it allows students to provide a service to the Ross community as a whole. For those of us that are non-credentialed (including myself), REMA exists. I’ll join and give you the details at a later date.

In terms of the overall orientation experience, I think it has been pretty well done. While some talks have been better than others, I think the overall usefulness of orientation is definitely apparent. Tomorrow should also provide pertinent information as we will be hearing from an alumna, as well as current students who know what we are going through and provide useful information for us.

That’s all I have from the past two days of orientation, but I thought I’d share a quick piece of advice based upon my limited experience here:

Make sure to buy everything you need before you come!!!

It is ridiculously expensive to buy scrubs, any sort of anatomy tools, or otherwise. I’ll update on the essentials in the future.

More to come!

Orientation – Day 2

Today was our first real look at what Ross orientation is actually like. The day started at around 8:30 AM with some general announcements. This was followed by a quick video conference with Dr. Flaherty that described our coming four years as a medical student. We were then introduced to clinical education and then given a synopsis of all the services offered through the student affairs branch that is present on the Dominica campus.

After a short break we were asked to reflect on what kind of doctor we wanted to be in terms of personal qualities that will make us successful both as a person and a future physician. This provided a starting point for a discussion of professionalism that is both learned and practiced throughout our time here. Finally, we were given a brief glimpse into what the library can do for us during our time here.

Here are the important resources (most widely used) if you’re curious:


AccessMedicine – Medical textbooks from McGraw Hill.

Cochrane Database (EBSCO)

ExamMaster – Practice questions for exams

These presentations lasted for about three hours in total, and then we were released for lunch. After a brief meal, we all ventured to an optional orientation describing how to stay healthy on Dominica. Realize that living in the Caribbean is no joke because you can easily become infected with a wide variety of ailments that will absolutely make you beyond miserable.

What might you encounter?

Dengue Fever

Typhoid (rare, although if you aren’t careful it can happen)

Centipedes (poisonous) – If you want to kill them make sure you do so length wise or else you’ll be in for quite the surprise.

Fire Ants

Boa Constrictors (rare, unlikely to encounter these)

In terms of the food to watch out for: don’t buy watercress or soft mango. Additionally, don’t by from a shop that has root crops and vegetables side by side. Finally, make sure to wash everything thoroughly.

I’ll be sure to update tomorrow with more useful tidbits of information from orientation.

What You Should Expect (Matriculation process)

What To Expect:

So I wanted to give all of you a good idea of what to expect throughout the process of matriculating at Ross University. Unfortunately, my original post was lost as a result of not saving in my web browser, so I have to re-write the entire thing (trust me… I’ll save in word from now on)! I’ll give provide a brief synopsis until I can reconstruct the original text:

August – During this time you should prepare yourself for life on the island by securing the appropriate documentation, which is required for entry into the country. This includes the following: Passport, Immigration letter (sent to your house) and Acceptance letter (let your new student coordinator know if you do not have it).

What should I bring? I am a very minimalist packer and only believe in carrying what is absolutely necessary plus a few extra things in order to keep comfortable while away from home. Here is my version of the necessary articles I believe you will need on the island:

Packing list:

Bug spray

Sun screen

Outlet converter – You won’t need this unless you travel a lot. They sell a $6 EC converter here to help with EU to UK plug conversion, and because it is the same voltage, you don’t have to worry about internal transformers. However, if you are trying to use a US plug (120 volts) in a UK/EU plug (220 volts) make sure it has a transformer or you’ll have one destroyed piece of electronic equipment.

Space bags – Absolutely necessary. These are incredibly useful for packing dense items such as clothing and bedding.

Linens – Again, absolutely necessary. These are not provided.

Flashlight – For this item I think you need two things: 1. An LED light (they provide one here on your keychain but it’s nice to have another.) 2. A windable flashlight (just incase a power outage occurs and no extra batteries are available) I obtained a Brookstone one that works fairly well, but you are free to choose whichever one works for you.

Batteries – Definitely a necessity, as I’ve heard power goes out often (I’ll confirm this after a few weeks of living here)

Power strip – Absolutely necessary. A US one is more than adequate and will provide a great service to fellow students when you feel like sharing power in common areas.

Food – Bring your favorite conveniences from home. While they do sell some American products on the island, it can be incredibly expensive. I know for a fact I miss my favorite granola bars the most out of any other food I could have brought onto the island, so I’ll be bringing plenty back.

Headphones – Don’t disturb anyone, get a decent pair and they’ll serve you well for years to come.

Brita pitcher – You should definitely purchase one before you come because they are incredibly expensive on the island (around $60 USD). However, if you live on university-affiliated housing you will not need one as the water you’ll most likely be drinking is filtered. I honestly think if you really want to be smart about it, get a gallon jug and fill it on campus. DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER.

US Currency – Make sure to bring a few hundred dollars with you to cover your basic expenses when you first arrive on the island. Many of the markets accept the dollar and will give you a fair exchange. Keep in mind 1 USD = 2.6 EC (or so)

If nothing else (and you’re flying AA) make sure to keep the combined weight of two checked bags UNDER 70 lbs. I’ve heard of people getting away with 100 lbs, but have heard both at the ticket counter and on the phone that a strict limit of 70 lbs is imposed on travel into Dominica (and presumably other islands as well). Pack lightly and do not get burned!

That’s all I can think of for now, but I’ll be sure to add to the list to give you the absolute minimum amount you need in order to be safe and comfortable during your stay in Dominica.

Orientation: Day 1

Some of you may be wondering what orientation is actually like, so I figured I would give you the opportunity to learn all about it.

Today (as I like to call it) is Check-in day. Not much to report here except that plan for things to go wrong or take significantly more time than needed. I was lucky because I was one of the first people to check-in so I didn’t have to go through any ridiculously long lines. To be fair, Ross has the registrations scattered throughout the day, so it seems like the entire process will be relatively painless for everyone….in theory.

In other news I managed to discover where my favorite hazelnut-chocolate spread is located on the island. For those of you who don’t know, this European delicacy is called Nutella and will run you a whopping $28 EC (~10.5 USD). In addition, I was able to find some absolutely incredible guava juice that is sold near security office/subway area for the students. At the incredibly low price of $2.50 EC its a treat not to miss!


Tonight we are set to have a brief introduction lecture, which is then followed by a history of Dominica. I’ll update tomorrow to let you all know how it went.


Hello Everyone!

You are probably visiting this page to keep up with the happenings at Ross on the island of Dominica and get a taste for how life is down here. With that thought in mind, I hope to provide a more complete picture of the whole story from start to finish. Typically this information is fed piecemeal to students piecemeal through a variety of other blogs, and ultimately a person can still feel lost despite a blogger’s best efforts to provide a realisitic look into the experience. I hope to improve upon those before me by chronicling how the school and the experience is now compared to what it was five or so years ago. As I am currently a new student, I doubt I will have a tremendous amount of time to update everything, but I will try to keep things fairly well maintained as I go through the experience myself.

Happy reading!