Study in Bahamas

Are you searching details for the Bahamas? Are you curious to know about the country, its geography, education, lifestyle, etc in detail? Do you wonder you students choose to go to the Bahamas for higher studies? If yes, then please go through the below-mentioned post to satisfy your curiosity.

Country Overview

The Bahamas is officially known as the “Commonwealth of the Bahamas” consisting more than 700 islands, islets, and cays in the Atlantic Ocean. It is an archipelagic state located within the Lucayan Archipelago. It is in the north of Hispaniola and Cuba, east of the Florida Keys, northwest of the Caicos Islands and Turks and southeast of the United States state of Florida.
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is located on the island of New Providence. The Bahamas can also be referred to as an island chain that is shared with the Turks and Caicos Islands. If we talk more about the islands, the closest island to the United States is “Bimini” and is also addresses as the gateway to the Bahamas. Inagua is the southeastern island and the Abaco is located to the east of Grand Bahama. Andros Island is the largest Island and Acklins, Ragged Island, San Salvador, Cat Island, Berry Island, etc are some inhabited islands in the country.
The climate of the Bahamas is tropical and winterless most of the time. The country may get affected by hurricanes and tropical storms occasionally.
Regarding the administrative system, the districts of the country have the local government whereas the New Providence is having a central government.

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Quick Facts

  1. Naussau is the capital and the largest city of the country. It is also occupied by most of the population of the whole country.

  2. The official language is English.

  3. The Bahamas got independent from the United Kingdom on 10th July 1973.

  4. The total area of the country is 13,878 square kilometres of which 28% is water.

  5. The estimate of the population as per the data collected in the year 2016 is 391,232.

  6. The legal currency of the Bahamas is “Bahamian dollar (BSD)” which is equivalent to 71.73 INR.

  7. The calling code is +1 242 and the ISO 3166 code is BS.

  8. The internet TLD is .bs.

  9. Castaway Cay is a private island in the Bahamas which is owned by Disney. It was purchased by the Walt Disney Company on 99-year land lease from the government of the Bahamas is the year 1997.

  10. There are 31 districts in the country excluding the New Providence.

  11. The national flower of the Bahamas is a Yellow elder because it is native of the country which blooms throughout the year.

  12. The Bahamas is the of the richest countries in Americas in term of GDP per capita.

  13. Most of the economy is dependent upon the tourism and it is not only an industry but also provides job to most of the population of the country.

  14. Although the official language is English, many people speak an English-based Creole language which is known as “Bahamian dialect”.

  15. The predominant population is Christian in the country.

  16. The national sport of the country is Cricket.

  17. Mount Alvernia is the highest peak in the Bahamas.

  18. The country was named based on the Spanish word “Baja Mar” which means “shallow water or sea”.

  19. The Lignum Vitae or Tree of life is the national tree of the country.

  20. Blue marlin is the national fish and flamingo is the national bird of the Bahamas.

  21. The longest underwater cave system in the whole world is in Lucayan National park situated on Grand Bahama Island.

Admission Process in Bahamas

Bahamas has some special requirements for international students for admissions as below-
  1. Five BGCSEs or equivalent passes including Mathematics and English with at least grade C is required. If not this then 4 BGCSEs or equivalent passes including Mathematics and English, Natural science and a Social Science with at least grade C is required.

  2. Candidates need to provide the proof of proficiency in English and it is applicable for the students whose first language is not English. For this, they can submit the score sheet of language proficiency tests like TOEFL or equivalent.

These are the basic requirements but still, the students are suggested to check the specific requirements of the university they choose for admission. If they fulfil the criteria they can submit their filled application form enclosed with other supporting documents online.
The international applicants who fulfilled the admission criteria as per the university terms will get a notification in the form of the provisional letter of acceptance. This provisional acceptance includes the Bahamas Department of Immigration Form or the First Schedule Form 1. Applicants need to fill and submit the completed First Schedule Form 1 enclosed with the provisional letter of acceptance to the Bahamas Department of Immigration. This has to be sent 6 months prior to the date of enrollment.
Please note that the students are not allowed to register for course or classes with only this provisional acceptance letter. They need to get the full acceptance letter for the same. The validity of provisional acceptance letter is for 6 months within which they need to get the full acceptance letter.
The full acceptance can be obtained from the selected university after submitting the completed medical form, proof of the permission to pursue the course in Bahamian university from the Bahamas Department of Immigration.

Student Visa Application Process

If a candidate is interested in pursuing higher studies in the Bahamas, obtaining a Bahamian student visa is very important. Below are the steps to be followed to get student’s Visa for the Bahamas-
  1. The first step is to finalize the course to study and then apply for admission in the chosen Bahamian university.

  2. Once the acceptance letter is received, you need to initiate your student visa process. For that, get the checklist of the required documents first and prepare the file accordingly.

  3. The form can be printed and then filled in block letter only.

  4. Submit the filled and signed application form enclosed with all the required documents properly.

  5. All the applicants need to appear personally at the nearest Bahamas Consulate of Embassy for interview and documents verification purpose.

  6. The Visa Application fee can be paid in cash there and a receipt must be collected after making the payment.

  7. The application can be tracked online and once approved, it can be collected from the visa centre.

  8. Now you can plan your departure and can book your tickets.

It takes around 2 weeks to get the approved visa only if the documents submitted are in proper order. It may get delayed due to uncertain reasons, so applicants must start the application accordingly.
The visa application fee varies depending upon the types of visa like single entry visa or multiple entry visas, visa with biometric data features, duration of visa, etc. It ranges from 100 to 500BSD and is non-refundable even if your application gets rejected.

Work permit in the BahamasInternational students can work in the Bahamas while pursuing their studies in a part-time manner. But for that, they need to get the approved work permit from the Department of Immigration. If you want to work up to 90 days, you need to apply for short-term work permit and if you want to work for more than 90 days, you need to apply for long-term work permit.
The application process includes filling the application form and notarized it affixing a BSD10.00 stamp on it. This form needs to be submitted with other supporting documents. The processing fee for the work permit is BSD 100.00 and is non-refundable.

Below is the list of supporting documents required for the work permit-
  1. A letter from employer mentioning the designation, kind of job and duration of the job is required with the application for work permit.

  2. A copy of the biodata page of the passport of the applicant.

  3. 2 passport size colour photographs with the name of the applicant mentioned on the back side.

  4. Copies of the certificates obtained.

  5. A certificate from the Department of Labor attached with the vacancy detail.

  6. A letter from the university allowing the applicant to work on part-time basis.

It takes around 3-4 weeks to get the work permit but the application submission cannot guarantee an approved work permit in the Bahamas.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle can never be a fixed definition and it varies depending up on different factors. We can explain it in a summarized way as below-

Social life-

Most of the population in the Bahamas is settled in the urban areas and big cities like Freeport and Nassau. The official language in use is English which makes it comfortable to communicate with the locals. The citizens practice self-expression and they love expressing themselves through music, dance, and arts.

Cuisine-

The food in the Bahamas is having a unique taste. The Seafood is the staple for Bahamians. The local regular food includes land crabs, fresh conch, rock lobster, etc. Boiled fish with grits is considered as a local delicacy. Pigeon peas, tomatoes with rice, spices, and onions are a common accompaniment to most of the dishes. People in the Bahamas love to have a beer like Kalik and Sands after their meal. Sky juice- a kind of coconut water with gin and sweet milk is also preferred by some. Another unique drink which is only available in the Bahamas is Switcher/ Switch- made with limes, water, and sugar.

Healthcare and Medicine-

The healthcare system in the Bahamas is excellent. They have qualified staff and advanced healthcare facilities. The government is funding the healthcare system in the country and it also takes care of the high standards of the national healthcare system. The services are free for civil servants, children, pregnant women and individual of 60 years of age and above at the primary level. The public healthcare services and systems are also available at free of cost.
There are 3 government hospitals and 2 private hospitals in the country. Apart from this, they also have 55 healthcare centres available on different islands.

Safety and security-

The guidelines with reference to the safety purpose are always associated with new locations and countries. In the Bahamas, it is advised to not to go alone during night hours. Also, avoid going to beaches alone. If you are driving, keep your windows up even when you stop in the traffic. It is also advised to keep your windows closed if you are staying in the ground or first floors. Lock your doors and check the same even during day hours. All these suggestions are in line as the crime rate is high in the Bahamas, especially in big cities like Nassau.

Music-

Art is an import part of the culture of Bahamas and Music keeps a special place. You can hear music like Caribbean calypso, African rhythms, goombay music, etc across the islands. These are traditional forms of music unique to the Bahamas. The music is created by beating on the goatskin drums and the Bahamians also have some English folk songs. It is due to the European colonial influences.

Tax system-

The tax system in the Bahamas does not include inheritance tax, capital gains tax, personal tax or gift tax and that is the reason is one of the most preferred tax havens for United States residents. Businessmen also prefer islands as they provide offshore banking, registration of offshore companies.

Cost of Living for Students

The cost of living in the Bahamas depends upon many factors like the lifestyle you follow, the size of family, the location you choose to stay, etc. Below are the main points which decide the cost of living.
Accommodation cost-The rental accommodation for longer duration is a bit difficult as people prefer short-term lease only especially for international residents. The people staying in the Bahamas for business purpose can find a rental accommodation, especially in big cities like Freeport and Nassau. The rent varies depending upon the size of the apartment like one bedroom apartments is available at US$ 500 to 1000 per month in the city centre whereas the same can be rented at US$600 outside the city. The rent lease is of 2 types in Bahamas- Gross lease and net lease. In the gross lease, the owner or the landlord bears all the charges related to the property whereas, in the net lease (full repairing lease), the tenant has to bear all the charges and bill related to the property including maintenance, repairs, taxes, etc.
If you want to buy and own a property in the Bahamas, it is also easy as the government has no restrictions on the same. They support the international people to invest in the real estate in the country. To buy a property of fewer than 2 acres, one needs to register the same with the Bahamas Investment board. If you are buying a property of more than 5 acres, you need to get a permit from the government. Buying property in the Bahamas includes some legal fees and taxes which need to be paid otherwise the purchase will be considered as invalid.
Once you own a property in the country, you can have a resident card by the immigration director after paying the certain fee. This card needs to be renewed every year which will cost around US$500 per year.
Please note that the properties in the Bahamas are costlier especially in major cities.

Groceries and food- the Bahamas is following a high standard of lining hence the things are not reasonable and one can find it expensive to dine out on regular basis. The inexpensive restaurants will charge you around US$10 to US$20 per head whereas the mid-range restaurant can charge you around US$60 to US$100 for the same.
The food cost can be minimal if you are fond of eating fish and other seafood as these are available locally. Otherwise, food is not reasonable as the manufacturing is almost nil in the country and other edibles available are imported in most of the cases.

TransportThe gasoline is available at US$1.43 to US$1.53 per litre. Local transport is also available like public buses which charge around US$1.25 for one way ticket. The monthly pass can be bought by paying US$56 to US$150 depending upon the route.
The taxi fares range between US$10 per kilometre at the minimum. The country also has Mail boats to move from one island to another. These mail boats run on a weekly basis only.

UtilitiesThe basic utilities like heating, garbage, electricity, water, etc cost around US$200 to US$300 per month. This also depends upon the number of family members residing in a house and their consumptions. The local calls charge around US$0.30 per minute. The Internet is available at the cost of US$35 to US$50 per month with the pack of unlimited data and 6Mbps speed.

Documents for University Admissions in Bahamas

The documents required for entry purpose or visa purpose vary depending upon the native country of the applicant. One can get generalized about the documents required from the below list-
  1. The very first requirement is a valid passport of the applicant and it must be having the expiry in coming 6 months.

  2. A recent passport size photo of 2X2 size.

  3. An arrangement for visa fee is again an important task. It can be paid in cash or cheque payable to “THE BAHAMAS CONSULATE GENERAL”.

  4. A completely filled and signed application form.

  5. Proof of travel plans is mandatory with the visa application. You need not book the confirm tickets but need to share dates and flight details.

  6. The specific requirement for the student visa is an official letter of acceptance from the Bahamian University. It should clearly mention the details of the course you will be pursuing including the duration of the course.

  7. A fee receipt issued from the university is also required to be enclosed with the application.

  8. A copy of biodata and previous qualification certificates need to be enclosed.

  9. A proof of financial capability to bear your own expenses during your stay in the country is required.

  10. Details about the accommodation during your stay in the Bahamas need to be mentioned.

  11. A letter from the police department mentioning about non-criminal record.

  12. Medical certificate mentioning about your health status and vaccination status.

  13. A proof of your civil standing that is your marital status, birth certificate copy, children details, etc are the important part of visa application.

All the above-mentioned documents are more or less general and needed in the application from all the countries. To get the country-specific requirements, it is better to contact the Bahamas Visa via the customer service representative.

Education in Bahamas

As per the education system in the Bahamas, it is compulsory from the age of 5 years till the age of 16 years and the government of the country operates more than 150 primary and secondary schools. There are around 50 private schools also in the country which are not running through government funds. Some of the public or government schools are not having proper or basic educational material and infrastructure and some of them are overpopulated as the fee structure of these schools is reasonable than private schools.
The education system includes primary level education, secondary level education, and tertiary level education. Recently they have added the preschool also before these above mentioned 3 stages. The whole education system and their policies are under the management of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture on the Bahamas. This Ministry of Education is led by the Minister of Education and some other council members who are managing different education-related tasks. Director is in charge of the Department of Education and he is also the education officer of the Minister of Education.
Preschool/ Early Childhood education-It started recently when the government of the country implemented the preschool centres available for the children under the age of 5 years. There are some day care centres and some private preschools also for those who want this. The thought behind implementing Preschools was felt by the idea that the children should be more equipped when they start education from grade one. They should learn the fundamental skills during the age under 5 years. There are around 64 preschools in addition to the primary schools currently running in the Bahamas.
The curriculum of these preschools gets evaluated every 2 years to keep it updated with the changing requirements. Basically, it includes reading, writing, and numeracy.

Primary education-The Primary level education starts at the age of 5 years and has the duration of 6 years. It is expected that the students know English at least as their second language by this time. The curriculum for Primary level education includes mathematics, science, arts, language, reading, etc. Children learn to solve the problems and the basics of real life.
Primary education is compulsory in the Bahamas and to enter the Secondary level of education, children must pass the examination at the end of Primary school.

Secondary education-It is available for the kids from 11 to 17 years of age. After obtaining this education, the students get their Bahamas Certificate of general education. The complete secondary education is divided into 2 parts and the first half is junior high for the students of 11 to 14 years of age. The second half is known as senior high for the students of 14 to 17 years of age.
The secondary school curriculum includes the study of cultural subjects, technical and vocational subjects. As the students complete the grade nine, they get administered a Bahaman Junior Certificate examination to move further for education. When they pass grade 12, they get Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education. Most of the students complete their secondary education without any problem but to go for post-secondary education is all their personal choice.

Tertiary education-For Tertiary education, the country has small-scale community colleges. As the time passed, the universities with various education programs like certificate, diploma, etc were developed. Then different bachelor and post-graduate degrees were developed in the field of business, nursing, education, etc.
The tertiary education and college managed are by the College Council.

Universities in the Bahamas

Currently there are many colleges and universities in the country which are offering various degree courses in different fields. Some of these are internationally ranked and are serving international students too.
  1. University of The Bahamas-The University of The Bahamas came into effect in the year 1974 and was the amalgamation of 4 different institutes- San Salvador Teacher’s College, The Bahamas Teacher’s College, C.R. Walker Technical College and a part of government high school. Initially, it was having only some associate degrees diplomas and certificates but gradually it developed many undergraduate courses in fields like Science, Nursing, Business, education, etc.
    The University has 3 campuses named as Oakes field Campus, Grosvenor Close centre, and Northern Bahamas Center. Apart from this, it also has a research centre named as Gerace Research centre on the north coast of the island of San Salvador.


  2. Bahamas Institute of Business and Technology-It started in the year 2009. It is the merged form of Success Center for Extended College, Freeport and Success Satellite Centers in Abaco and Eleuthera and Success Training College. The institute was started by Dr Deswell Forbes. The courses offered in this institute are basically divided into 5 major schools named as Allied Health Services, the School of Education and Law, the School of Business, the School of Tourism Management and the School of Information Technology. Each school has defined courses to create the skilled professionals in their fields.

There are many other institutes offering tertiary level education, some of which are established in the Bahamas and some are the campus of other international universities. Atlantic college, Cherub College, Institute of Business and Commerce, University of the West Indies (campus in the Bahamas), Ross University School of Medicine (Bahamas Campus), etc.

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