Study in Barbados

Do you want to study on an island? Well, Barbados is a beautiful island. It belongs to the Caribbean islands. If you are intrigued to know more about this country then goes through the following sections. You will come to know about the educational system, geographical framework, economical situation and lots more.

The culture of Barbados is a mixture of two major cultures, namely, West Africa and Britain. The British people set their colony in Barbados long back in the 16th century. Barbados gained independence from the British in the year 1966. From then this country has gradually evolved to become a democratic society. The people of Barbados are also known as Bajan. More than 90% of the population of Barbados follows Christianity. Rest of the community is divided among Anglicans, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. The religion of Hinduism and Islam has mainly come from the Indians who have settled long back in Barbados. It is said that the people of Barbados are highly religious. The religious beliefs have partly come from the people of Africa who have settled in Barbados. The other part has come from the British people who ruled for long in this country. In the 19th century Anglicanism was the dominant religion in Barbados. But slowly and gradually Christianity became the dominant religion here. This can be attributed to the hard work of the Christian missionaries for years.

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About Barbados

  • Geography and Climate-Barbados is basically a Caribbean island and is the easternmost isle of West Indies. This country has a few hills among which Mount Hillabyis the highest point. It is merely 340 meters above the sea level. Since this is an island, the climate here is maritime climate. The climate can be very humid sometimes. Since this is an island, it experiences huge rainfall. Such rainfall can also result in submerging of few areas of Barbados. This rainfall contributes to the residual soils of this country. The soils are also very rich in lime.
  • History-As mentioned earlier the British colonies were dominant in this country The first English ship is said to have landed in Barbados in the year 1625. In the next century, the buying and trading of slaves became a common thing for this country. A lot of West African citizens were brought to Barbados to serve as slaves for the plantation landlords of this country. This hideous tradition stopped after 1840 in Barbados. In 1834, the British people abolished slave tradition in their country. The Barbados people received their independence from the British rulers on 30th November, 1966.
  • Economy-The economy freedom score of this country is not very high. But it has improved a lot since its independence. The main revenue of this country is generated from the tourists. A lot of tourists visit this country each year. Other than this, some of the revenue is generated by agriculture. Being an island, the soil of this country is not suitable for many crops and fruits. That is why, the agricultural source of income is not substantial.

Quick Facts

  • Did you know that the meaning of the word Barbados is The Bearded Ones?
  • Barbados is a very small island, with the total area being 431 square kilometres.
  • The currency of Barbados is known as Barbadian Dollar One Barbadian dollar is much cheaper than US dollar.
  • The famous Hollywood singer Rihanna was born in Barbados.
  • Barbados didn’t have its own flag until its independence. This country used the flag of the country of Britain as their own flag.
  • Since this country is an island, a lot of the civilized and urban areas of this country was only a mere swamp. It is due to the hard work of the people of this country a lot of cities evolved the way they did today. One of the best examples of this evolution is Bridgetown.
  • The city of Bridgetown happens to be the capital city of Barbados.
  • In the year 1666, there occurred a devastating fire in Bridgetown. A lot of properties were damaged by that fire. Therefore, the government of Barbados passed an act through the House of Assembly of the parliament houses. By this act, all the houses that were under wooden construction to be reconstructed using stones.
  • South Carolina which is now a state of the United States was originally settled by the people of Barbados. The first Governor of South Carolina was a Barbadian.
  • Have you heard about the Bussa’s Rebellion? This rebellion is considered to be the largest slave revolt in the history of Barbados. The slave tradition was the most heinous traditions of Barbados. It is after this huge rebellion, all the slaves of Barbados were enlightened and the fight was more consolidated. Finally the British rulers were compelled to abolish this tradition.
  • Did you know that Barbados has a fishing city known as “Oistins”.

Admission Process in Barbados

  • First and foremost, you must produce the transcripts of your academic certificates.
  • You must also show the proof of your birth certificate. This is required to prove that you have completed 18 years and therefore are eligible to study a particular undergraduate or postgraduate course.
  • You need to submit 2-3 passport size photographs. Generally passport size is accepted in the universities. If there are some other stipulated sizes by the university, then it would be mentioned in the respective area of your application form.
  • If you are taking admission in any doctoral or master’s degree, then there is a very important document to go with the application form. This is known as the statement of purpose. This is a document stating your purpose or interest to study in that particular institute. Sometimes doctoral students are called for a direct interview. In that interview, they are asked this question. If the written purpose or the answer told in the interview is not satisfactory, then the candidature might be rejected. In my opinion, check a few online hubs where a general format of statement of purpose is given. Write your statement of purpose in that format. Sometimes some word limit is given for the statement of purpose. Do not cross that word limit by a high margin. To be on the safe side, keep your letter well below the upper word limit.
  • You would also require 2-3 recommendation letters. The institutes always go though the recommendation letters before finally accepting or rejecting your candidature. There is also a stipulated form for this recommendation letter. Generally this format is given in the official website of the university or college. Always consider the professors or principal of your college or school for writing the recommendation letter. This gives a nice impression about you. Do keep this in mind that the recommendation letters should be written in different styles by each person. Same writing style should be avoided by two professors who are recommending you. The basic essence of the recommendation letter should be highlighting the fact that how good and diligent you are as a student.
  • Some colleges conduct a college eligibility test known as MCAT. You must have a valid score in this MCAT. Otherwise your candidature will be rejected before going through the statement of purpose or recommendation letters.
  • You must also submit a proof of your valid passport. The remaining validity in the passport should be more than six months.
  • If you have some employment experiences before applying to the university, you can submit that proof. This will be an added advantage for your application. You can also submit proof of any accolade, any government recognition, etc.
  • Lat but not the least, you must submit the admission fee online. This fee is non-refundable. So even if you are not selected for the respective course in that college or university, the fee will not be reimbursed.

Student Visa Application Process

Before you apply for the student visa to study in Barbados, you must apply to a college or university in Barbados. But, even before applying to the college or university, you must choose the subjects. A list of few subjects taught by the two universities of Barbados is mentioned in the above section. You should narrow down on the subject that is offered by the universities of Barbados, in which you require expertise and the colleges in your locality are failing to provide courses. After that, you must choose the institute that can provide you the respective courses. Then you must apply to the institute with your statement of purpose and other necessary documents. Once your admission process is complete in the respective institute, you should start with the visa application process. One thing that you should keep in mind at the very beginning is that, your passport should have more than two blank visa pages left. Along with that the passport must have a remaining validity of minimum six months. In my opinion, if your candidature is selected by any university in Barbados and your passport has a remaining validity of just six months, then immediately apply for a passport renewal. This process will take a maximum of 1 month. But you don’t apply for a renewal and the visa confirmation process along with other formalities taken more than six months, your candidature in any university of Barbados will be cancelled. Your application fee and other processing fee will go for a toss. When you apply for the student visa, you should keep in mind the time of commencement of the course in the college of Barbados. If the time of commencement of the course is less than three months, then your visa application will be cancelled. So all in all apply to any institute of Barbados at least nine months before the course starts. Your visa application form will be sent to the Ministry of Education for approval. The application will also go to the Immigration Department for the final approval.

Lifestyle

The institutions of Barbados are quite efficient and friendly, so you won’t have any problem in settling down in the colleges. There is a lot of orientation programs conducted on the new students. If the students want they can participate in the career counselling programs offered by the colleges. The students will be assessed based on their academic potential and a overall guidance will be given regarding the future of their career. Few colleges have healthcare programs. The students can participate in these programs by paying some the respective fee. The colleges sometimes offer a very interesting program, known as the student exchange program. In this program a list of the most intelligent students is prepared. This could be done with the help of a special entrance examination or by checking the average merit score of the students. The selected students will be sent to various foreign countries. The countries to which the students will be sent depend on the universities with which the institutes of Barbados have partnered. You cannot expect this program in any institute where you take admission. This program is offered by very few institutes here.
The accommodation and food facilities in Barbados are quite cheap. The details regarding this are discussed in the following sections. In your initial days of education, you can spend some time exploring the variety of cuisines in Barbados.
If you are not allergic to any kind of fishes and seafood, then you should definitely try the Fried Flying Fish. This is a healthy snack prepared with onions and pepper. This dish could be tried as an afternoon snack. In the afternoon when all your classes are over and you are tired and hungry, this dish will renew your vigour. If you are a Bengali or love eating fish with rice, the Barbados can offer you a nice wholesome meal with rice, pigeon peas and fried fish. This same dish could be taken with chicken curry. If you don’t get chicken curry in the restaurant, you can prepare this dish at home. If you are more of a sandwich person, then cutters could be a good choice for your breakfast. These are sandwiches with different kinds of fillings like egg, ham, etc. If you are planning to study in Barbados, then you must eat something known as the breadfruit. These fruits can be eaten either baked or otherwise. You will also get very tasty chips made of breadfruits. Barbados is a country rich in fish supply. So you have fried fish, fish sandwiches and even fish cakes. If you are planning a trip during the weekend, then fish cakes and breadfruit chips can be good companions for you. It will curb your short interim hunger.
Talking about planning weekend trips, you can think of going to the Bathsheba village. It has a wonderful beach, botanical gardens and flower forests. So you can visit a lot in one day. This place is one of the top destinations for the tourists. If you are a student of History and have opted for a master’s in History or Humanities in Barbados, then you should definitely visit the parliament houses in Barbados. The students of Architecture will also find this place very informative. The Senate and Assembly houses carry the legacy of British architecture. You can even think of completing your final year project work on the evolution and establishment of this building. If you like caves, then you should take a Harrison cave tour during the weekends. You will be able to travel by electric trams and reach the cave. You will have to walk through the cave to see the natural beauty of it. There are many other beautiful places to visit.

Cost of Living for Students

Accommodation-You need to stay in a hostel in Barbados. You should first search for hostels within the campus of the university. If there is none, then search for hostel facilities online. This will be a very cheap accommodation facility for you. You will get free internet facilities. The cost of the hostels will range between Rs. 20,000-Rs.60,000 per month. You can also think of staying in guest houses, but this will be a costly affair than hostels. You may get free breakfast facilities in the guest houses. You can share the guest house with another roommate. Obviously your rent will be split among the number of roommates staying in the same room. The room prices will elevate depending on the number of extra beds required though. Another option could be staying at your relative’s house in Barbados. This option is obviously open for those people who have relatives or friends staying and working in Barbados.
Food-There are already few delicious dishes mentioned in the previous sections that you can think of eating in restaurants. There is another option, which is cooking in your hostel or flat. It is better to cook and clean on your own, as the housekeeping staff will be very costly. If you are a Bengali or from any nearby region and are a fish addict, then you will be very happy to know that the fishes here are quite cheap. Milk and eggs are quite cost here. Milk can almost amount to Rs. 200 per liter. The price of rice and bread is quite moderate here. So you will mainly have to depend on rice, chapatti, bread, fish etc. You can buy readymade chapatti in the restaurants. Since few Indians have settled long back in Barbados, you will see the food type have a touch of Indian style of cuisines. If you are a beef addict, then the bad news is beef steaks are quite costly here. The fast foods are very costly here. In my opinion, it is better to avoid street food in Barbados, if you have some allergy problems. This will be easier for your pocket.
TransportationThere are buses available for daily transport. The students generally avail the public and government buses. The minimum fare of the buses is 2 US dollars per trip. Other than this, there are taxis available. The taxis are not very costly, so you can avail them whenever there is a moderate emergency. There are rental cars. These are very costly and are only availed when people take long tours during the weekends. Other than these, there are boats. The boats and cruises are also opted by the tourists. So when you think of taking a tour with your friends around the beaches you can opt for these cruise rides.

Documents for University Admissions in Barbados

  1. You must first take admission in any college or university of Barbados.
  2. After you are selected for the course, you need to download the application forms for the student visa.
  3. You need to produce a photocopy of your valid passport. The passport must have a remaining validity of six months. As mentioned earlier, it would be helpful for you, if you apply for a student visa by keeping at least 18 months validity remaining in your passport.
  4. You need to produce four passport size photographs. The photographs must be taken on a light background. Generally no veil or headgear is allowed in the photograph, unless there is a religious compulsion.
  5. You are required to submit one photocopy of your birth certificate.
  6. You will have to show the proof of your academic records, that means photocopies of the mark sheets and certificates of class 10, 12, graduation as applicable.
  7. After this another important certificate is the letter of admission acceptance.
  8. After you receive the acceptance letter from the university, you must apply for the accommodation in Barbados. Whether you stay in a hostel or a rented flat, there must be an agreement or a written contract signed between you and the owner. You need to produce those photocopies during the visa interview.
  9. You will require a clearance certificate from the police officers of your locality. This would state that you did not have any past criminal record.
  10. You would also require a consent letter of your parents. It should be written in that letter that your parents are aware that you will be studying so and so course in so and so university of Barbados. They must state that they have no objection regarding this, and they will provide you with all the support necessary for this stay. One of your parents must sign this letter.
  11. You would require some proof of your financial stability. Generally the final page of your bank statement suffices for this. You will also have to show the photocopy of the identification page to prove that it is your bank statement.
  12. Last but definitely not the least, you must pay the application fee for the student visa which is 300 US dollars as of this year.

Education is provided for free in this country by the government. There is a high patronization towards education by the government of Barbados. That is why; more than 95% of the population of this country are educated. Well, you cannot expect a doctorate or a master’s degree holder in every house, but at least the school level is completed by most of the citizens. The school level is divided into two categories, namely-a) primary and b) secondary. The primary education starts from the age of 4 years and continues for 7 years. The secondary education starts after that and this continues for 8 years. But before a child starts with the secondary education, he or she has to appear in the Common Entrance Examination. This examination will decide whether the student participating in it eligible to study secondary level or not. After the 18th year, a student has to sit for the Caribbean Examination Council examination. After the completion of secondary level, the student can pursue the tertiary level education. This includes, undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and other vocational courses. There are many colleges and universities in the country of Barbados. Let us find out what courses do some of them offer:

  1. The University of the West Indies-Subjects taught-Medicine, Law, Humanities, etc. I would not recommend you studying medicine in this university or any other university of Barbados. This is because to become a full time medical practitioner in India, you have to pass MBBS from a medical college that is approved by the Indian Medical Council. Although there are a lot of certificate courses available in the field of medicine in Barbados. You can pursue them for treating patients outside your specialization area. As Barbados was highly influenced by the British culture and architecture, you can study Architecture from this university. This country is historically very rich. Therefore, there is a high demand of architects in this country. Other than these, the basic science subjects like Computer Science, Biological Science, Chemical Science, Mathematical Science, and Environmental Studies are also taught in this college. There is also a demand for environmentalists. This university also provides scholarships to the science students. There are scholarships for the research students. Some scholarships are available for students in the master’s degree. There is no restriction over the nationality of the student. Any competent student can receive the academic scholarships, if he or she has a very good academic record.
  2. Washington University of Barbados-Subjects taught-This is basically a school of medicine. Therefore, this university offers pre-medical programs and MD courses. There is one unique thing in this university. A student can apply for this MD course, even if he or she is 18 years old. The basic requirement for this course is the student applying for this course must have completed 60 hours of undergraduate or university level coursework. There is an e-learning division of this university. A lot of competent faculties conduct the courses online and you will also get a fully comprehensive course material after you pay the course fee. There is a separate publication of this university. If you have some research oriented work while studying the MD course, then you can publish your work in this publication. This will add a feather to your medical career.
  3. Erdiston Teacher Training College-Subjects taught-Early Childhood Education, Care and Development, Physical Education, Special Needs Education, B.Ed., etc. This college provides training to the educators. This college provides knowledge regarding incorporating technology by the teachers, while imparting education. There are certificate programs for primary and secondary school teachers. These certificate programs are basically for the educators who have merely a one year experience in teaching children. For advanced techniques, one must study a B.Ed. course from this college. If you are a teacher in India for long, then you can opt for this B.Ed. course. If you are a teacher trainer or you are in charge of child care and development, then also you can study in this college. You will learn the art of training trainers in this college.

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