The hills were green, wreathed in clouds. Houses clung to the hillside and the car wound its way up and down the road which snaked across the verdant hills. Soon there was a brief drizzle. I was transported back in time to the Himalayan country of Nepal. I was pleasantly surprised to find St Lucia, so green and so hilly. My introduction to the Caribbean was the island of Aruba, mostly flat and relatively dry and brown.
The car climbed a small hill and the capital city of Castries sprawled at the bottom. Like most town and villages in St Lucia, houses and buildings also climbed up the hillside. Castries is a small town and pleasing to the eye.
The American International Medical University is located in a green and quiet section of Gros Islet at the northern part of the island. The campus gardens are well maintained and there is a pleasant breeze which blows across the campus. The front side of the campus is picturesque while the back side is used by some of my friends to pursue their various hobbies and pastimes.
The school has good physical infrastructure. The classrooms are large and the seating comfortable. Having conducted small group sessions and having sat in with the student groups I can personally attest to the comfortable seating. Each classroom has two exits and there is a plan in place to ensure orderly dispersal of students in case of fire or any disasters.
The information technology infrastructure at the campus is good and Mr Arun, our IT manager keeps it in top shape. The internet speed is good and the office computers are of very good quality. The recent years have seen a democratization of knowledge. With continuing improvement in computers, falling cost and access to high speed internet, our students in St Lucia are able to efficiently access the information superhighway. In addition to the medical literature, the library has a good collection of non-medical books which I liked as I have a keen interest in literature and enjoy reading outside of medicine.
Mr Elango, in charge of physical infrastructure in the campus has gone out of his way to help us and ensured we settled in with minimal pain. Dr Raj, Dr Gokul and Dr Selvaraj have been very helpful and have assisted me in finding my bearings in a new place and a new institution. The college campus like most institutions in St Lucia climbs up a hillside. I am intrigued by the sitting platform around the trees on the hill. I was reminded of the platforms which I had seen and loved on my treks in Nepal. The hills of Nepal are steep and unrelenting; the sitting platforms offer welcome relief to aching feet and gasping lungs.
The college canteen is very good and offers tasty Tamil food. Being originally from Kerala, with a culinary tradition similar in many ways to Tamil Nadu I enjoy the food. The cook, Mr Mani is talented and turns out edible delicacies. All this tasty food is unfortunately making me lose my battle with my weight. I am motivating my good friends, Dr Dakubo and Dr Ram to climb some of the steep St Lucian hills to bring down our body mass index.
I have spent my first three weeks with the MD4 students conducting sessions on Pharmacology. They are a talented and focused group of students. I have conducted small group sessions for them and the groups function well. The students know how to obtain information from textbooks, from the internet and how to present their information in a logical and understandable manner. They are well behaved and willing to learn. They work well in a group and some of these students have good leadership abilities; motivating their fellow team members and ensuring the group stays focused on the task at hand. I look forward to interacting academically with the other cohorts of students.
The institution has an impressive media room where we hold our various meetings and also participate in webinars and other online learning modalities. My first three weeks at AIMU have been exciting and challenging. I have a number of friends here (some from my previous stint at Aruba and many made after I joined AIMU). I look forward to my personal growth here and helping the institution grow and meet present and future challenges!
Dr.Ravi Shankar .
Web admin note : The post was written in the last week of May 2017 by Dr.Ravi Shankar . He is now the Associate Dean (Curriculum and Quality Assurance) at AIMU.