By: Navneet Dhaliwal, PM4
“Bon dia!” was one of the first few words processed upon arrival on the island. Coming as a tourist with your family and friends is quite different compared to walking through the airport doors feeling the hot wind and thinking, my home for the next 3 years. Coming on this island as a Pre Med 1 student for the first time is a once in a lifetime experience. Hundreds of thoughts run per second in your mind questioning the move you decided to make: “Is it worth it? Will it work out? Will I adjust?”
Walking through the doors and right away being greeted by the welcome committee puts the mind at ease, especially for a newcomer. Being greeted with friendly smiles and positive minds really opened our minds switching from the negative to the positive, thinking this might actually work out. Right off the bat the committee bonded with the newcomers giving a quick over view of the island and some important information. Getting dropped off at your home away from home by the committee made it so much easier than getting taxi. Depending on when you arrive, you get a chance to explore the island before classes start. Since the welcome committee had provided their numbers it made it much easier to figure out what is where and where to get what, allowing the newcomers to get a feel for the island before school started. Home sickness did kick in. The change in weather, infrastructure, and daily life style may not be something one is used to. However, as pre meds, you have to give the island a chance. Do not judge it so quick. The more the pre meds explored, the more realization happened. You can get everything in Aruba! Groceries, shopping, school supplies you name it, Aruba has it. That definitely puts a new student’s mind at ease. Also the locals here are super friendly and helpful. Everyone wishes everyone a good day, smiles all around, and good vibes prove that it is indeed One Happy Island.
Then comes the first day of school. Nervousness as a newbie kicks in when walking through the hallway looking for the auditorium so you can attend orientation. Orientation lasted the first three days and it was super helpful providing one with information that will help you during your medical career on the island. Most importantly, all students start to build bonds with one another. Friendships started to form, you hear laughter all around, allowing the feeling of being lonely to go away. You start to get excited about your medical career. Walking in on the first day of class was not so bad because you had already made friends the first three days of orientation. That really helped the Pre Med 1’s ease into school. Professors are great at making class enjoyable and easy to follow. Help is always available and the university tries its best to make you feel comfortable. Within 2 weeks of school the pre meds have developed such a bond with one another that you do not miss home that often, as they are always there for each other. All in all, arriving in Aruba can be one tough move but the experience and relationships that form on the island are priceless and something that will last you a lifetime. As time goes on, one can adjust thanks to all the help available, and next thing you know you will be packing to leave the island as time has already flown.