Monday, August 28, 2006

Arriving in GND


It is GrenEHda, not GrenAHda. Pronouncing it correctly is a big deal. Grenada was described to me as a third world country before I came and this will not be your experience. Your time on campus will be indistinguishable from any university in the US; your dorm life will be no different than your undergraduate experience. Everyone uses the bus or drives a car. You will have your Subway, your TCBY Treats, movie theaters, malls, grocery stores, hardware stores, school supplies, bars and clubs. You probably will not be able to find the laundry detergent you like or fresh milk, but these are small things. Anyone who says you will be "roughing it" is lying to you.

***That being said, a few people each year have a hard time adjusting. Some have dietary concerns (it is not hard to be a vegetarian; it is hard to be a vegan). Some get very homesick or cannot adjust to Grenada's culture. The pace here is very slow. ***

The very first mistake people make when traveling to Grenada is NOT taking a layover. Often times the airlines will overbook a connecting flight from Puerto Rico to Grenada and ask that passengers volunteer to take a later flight, often the next day. TAKE IT! You will be put up in a hotel, given miles for a flight in the future, and have a chance to enjoy another island carefree.

If you are flying to Grenada on a connection from Puerto Rico you will probably spend your first night without all of your luggage. The reason is simple: you came to San Juan on a very big plane and left Puerto Rico on a tiny little plane with propellers. This is the type of plane where they ask the passengers to move to different seats to balance the weight (if that sentence makes you nervous, self-medicate before takeoff). A puddle-jumper like this cannot possibly hold everyone’s luggage in one flight, so expect at least one piece to be a day late. Make sure that you have some toiletries and two changes of clothes in the luggage that never leaves your sight.
The airline will give you a number to call and you will have your luggage shortly. Try to come to the island early so you can take full advantage of Orientation week. It is nice to have that time for settling in, to speak nothing of all of the trips around the island that are provided.

Grenada’s weather has two settings: downpour and blindingly sunny, so come to the island wearing a rain jacket over a bathing suit. Grenada is likely hotter than you are used to. During those first few days, you will break a sweat from standing, lose weight, and drink water like breathing air. You will see students going to class wearing jeans and long sleeved shirts and wonder what is wrong with them. Just know that your body is getting used to the island; it takes about a month.

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