Submitted by Victoria Sanchez on the 2017 winter session program in the British Virgin Islands sponsored by the College of Health Sciences…
Before coming to the British Virgin Islands, I was totally blind to the set up and dynamic of the Islands. In my mind, all I was picturing was sandy beaches and crystal clear water. While this is a totally accurate depiction, it is only half of the story.
What I did not realize was that the BVI is a very mountainous region. I like to think of it as a bunch of big mountains placed sporadically in the middle of the ocean. The first thing that came to my attention was how difficult this makes traveling. I had to take a plane, a taxi, a ferry, go through customs and take another taxi just to get to Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. Then I had to lug my 50 pound suitcase up what felt like a 90 degree hill to our cottage. It was a long journey, but definitely worthwhile.
The biggest surprise that came with this terrain is probably something most abroad students probably wouldn’t be able to deal with. No WiFi. It is very hard to get a connection from one tiny antenna up an entire mountain. If I am lucky enough to get a little connection it is very spotty and just enough to send a few texts to friends and family. Many restaurants around here know that tourists have this issue and even charge for WiFi. It turns out that it is nice not to always be on your phone and you truly realize that WiFi is a luxury rather than a necessity.
The best part about this setting is the scenery. The commute everyday to the hospital we are working in is about a 20 minute ride. I look out the window the entire time and at every point there is a breathtaking view right before my eyes. When you get to the tippy top of the mountain, it looks so unreal it could be mistaken for a green screen. Even though this makes traveling and long walks home difficult, it is worth it to see the true beauty of this island.