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… Apartment?

After being accepted, the next concern for students who will be attending Saint James School of Medicine-Anguilla is almost always, “Where should I live?”

SJSM Anguilla Housing

Work Out Your Budget
The first step to finding housing for your stay on Anguilla is to figure out your monthly housing budget.  You will be on Anguilla for 20 months and you need to account for rent, utility bills, groceries and transportation.

When putting together your budget, take into account your current preferences and habits. Use those to guide you into the ideal place. Don’t go by what your ideal cost of living would be; go by your expected cost of living. Take into account factors like how often you prefer to eat at restaurants and what your monthly spending habits are now.

You may find a giant apartment for a great price, but if you can’t study unless your room is roughly the temperature of an iceberg, you may find your electricity bill higher than your rent, and you’ll know then you’ve made the wrong housing decision.

SJSM Anguilla Housing Students

Roommates
A great way to save money on a place is to connect with one or more roommates. You can find roommates through the SJSM Student Forum, SJSM Facebook groups, the Buddy Program or right on the island when classes begin.

The new student forum is a great place to find roommates before classes start. The forum is private and only accepted SJSM students are allowed to register.

Don’t fret if you procrastinate and can’t find a roommate before you head to the island, as orientation is a great place to meet other students and someone before you make a long term commitment! Most students don’t finalize their living arrangements until classes begin because of our next tip…

Don’t Commit to a Place Until You Arrive
It may seem counter-intuitive not to get all your ducks in a row in advance for a smooth transition to medical school, but the most important housing advice any current SJSM student can provide is to not arrange your housing in advance. Surprisingly, however, this advice is often ignored, much to the detriment of the student.

To describe it simply, there are several factors that make waiting until you arrive to arrange housing the best decision you can make. Number 1 is the housing itself. Viewing something online and actually seeing it can be two very different experiences. You want to make sure you’ve inspected the property itself, in person and approved of the location. You can’t tell online if it is next to a noisy restaurant!  Since most housing also comes fully furnished, you want to check out the mattress, the couch, the TV or whatever is most important to you when it comes to your new home.

Another reason to wait is apartment availability. At SJSM we have 2-3 week breaks between semesters, which is the time period a landlord has to turn the apartment over between students. Most students agree to 3-4 month leases to keep their options open. If you try arranging housing 5 months in advance, you may find that the landlords will not respond as they do not know if their current tenants will be leaving at the end of the semester. The landlords are well aware that there will be plenty of students looking for housing in the days before the semester starts, and it is more efficient for them to wait for the students than spend time and effort recruiting students for apartments that may not have availability.

Keep the Lease Short
When you’ve found your new place and everything seems perfect, it may seem smart to lock it down for your entire 20 months on Anguilla. However, you’ll see that most students do not recommend this. The general consensus is to only contract to stay on a month-to-month basis or for the period of one semester. There are a lot of reasons behind this that make it a smart decision.

The first is that you are new to Anguilla. You may have toured the island and checked out a few places, but the majority of students have never visited Anguilla prior to their move. It takes more than 48 hours to familiarize yourself with the new environment. You may realize within a month that all your new friends live on the other side of the island or that you’d rather live in walking distance of your favorite study hangout. Having the flexibility of a short lease allows you to pick up and move quickly and easily between semesters.

Anguilla Housing Student Beach

Keep Calm
This final tip is the most important. You are starting a new chapter of your life in a new place, it’s going to hectic at first!  Take some time to relax and take in your new surroundings. Don’t put getting settled above your sanity. Anguilla is beautiful and Basic Science only lasts 20 months. Take time to visit the famed beaches and local BBQ spots. You can even study on the beach! Most medical students do not have that luxury and after Basic Science you will be doing rotations in hospitals far away from the sun, sand and surf. Enjoy your time on Anguilla!

SJSM-Anguilla has a Housing Coordinator to assist with housing. You can visit http://squareless.ai/ to view housing options. The Student Government Association also maintains a housing list with recommendations for incoming students.

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