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School psychology in USVI

npmusicman
February 26, 2018 05:44PM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 6

My wife and I are considering a move to the Caribbean, particularly USVI (no work permits or immigration to deal with), at some point in the future. However, I'm trying to be positive, yet realistic about this and doing lots of research. My wife may be retired by then (depending when we would do this) but I would certainly be working. I'll have a PhD in school psychology, but I'm trying to learn more about education and psychological services and needs in the region. Anyone have any tips, experiences or advice? Fortunately, my qualifications would allow me to work in any school setting, public or private, k-12 and even University. I appreciate the time and advice, everyone. Thank you.

PS: Seems like any message board about living in or moving to the Caribbean is filled with negative comments. I don't know how much I should believe these things or not... Why would anyone continue to live there? High crime, low wages, isolation, "island time"... I mean, is it REALLY that bad in the Caribbean?

Re: School psychology in USVI

Scubadoo
February 26, 2018 10:51PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,957

Take the negative comments as background. They're not necessarily wrong but aren't necessarily the general experience either. I think there is more constructive information on this forum than negative. General comments about higher cost of living, island time, difficulty buying certain items, difficulty finding reliable contractors/repair companies, stuff breaking sooner than on mainland, frequent power outages, lack of individual health insurance, hurricanes, Sahara dust, bugs, are generally valid but just something to set expectations with and deal with as an expected challenge. It's just the paradise tax we pay.

Teachers in the public schools aren't paid well and must contribute to the Government Employees Retirement System which is on a fast track to running out of money and not being able to pay benefits. Not sure if the University Teachers must pay into that but I'd guess so. Check out the private schools and private practice.

Re: School psychology in USVI

npmusicman
February 27, 2018 12:51AM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 6

Thanks scubadoo. I appreciate your realistic and informative response. I realize that there’s good and bad everywhere and it depends on what you see as good and bad. Different lifestyles fit different people and personalities better than others. For me, the weather in NYC is not good, the cost of living/housing is high, our cars have been vandalized and even stolen, traffic is heavy, etc.

The Caribbean and USVI seem to have a bad rap when it comes to healthcare and schools. That is a concern since I have a 2 year old. We depend on the education system and schools a lot I guess in that way: for my career and my daughter.

Well, thanks again! We’ll be sure to make a PMV or two!

Re: School psychology in USVI

Gator's Mom
February 27, 2018 08:51AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 791

UVI offers TIAA-CREF retirement as an option for its faculty and some staff. You don't have to contribute to GERS.

If you're a 55 or over VI government new hire, you can opt out of paying into GERS.


Quote
Scubadoo
Take the negative comments as background. They're not necessarily wrong but aren't necessarily the general experience either. I think there is more constructive information on this forum than negative. General comments about higher cost of living, island time, difficulty buying certain items, difficulty finding reliable contractors/repair companies, stuff breaking sooner than on mainland, frequent power outages, lack of individual health insurance, hurricanes, Sahara dust, bugs, are generally valid but just something to set expectations with and deal with as an expected challenge. It's just the paradise tax we pay.

Teachers in the public schools aren't paid well and must contribute to the Government Employees Retirement System which is on a fast track to running out of money and not being able to pay benefits. Not sure if the University Teachers must pay into that but I'd guess so. Check out the private schools and private practice.

Re: School psychology in USVI

npmusicman
February 27, 2018 09:18AM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 6

Thanks Gator’s Mom! Good to know! UVI could be a good option then in that way! I think a lot of teachers and other school professionals use TIAA or some thing in New York City too.

Re: School psychology in USVI

Afriend
February 27, 2018 11:28AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 441

The “negative comments” you read about are not meant to dissuade but rather to list some of the major differences there are between daily life in the Caribbean vs. back on the mainland USA. Many people have the mistaken conception that life in the Caribbean is just like it is “back home” only with lovely weather and palm tree lined beaches lapped by turquoise blue waters. Life in the islands has it’s own set of challenges which are difficult to explain until you’ve experienced then first hand.

When those contemplating a move read a couple so-called negative comments it is not unusual for them to downplay the negativity and respond by saying something like “who cares if there are a few power outages - the weather is near perfect and the views are fantastic” or “so what, I’m going to be sitting on the beach all day.

What the contributors here are trying to point out is the cumulative effect the inconveniences we who live in the Caribbean have to deal with day in and day out. After a while some of theses inconveniences become downright annoying.

As one of the previous responded said, it is the price we pay to live in paradise. I like to tell people the Caribbean, indeed, be paradise but it is not heaven.

Re: School psychology in USVI

npmusicman
February 27, 2018 12:01PM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 6

Thank you Afriend. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate who is being realistic and who was maybe under this illusion of paradise and then had a fit when it wasn’t.

Re: School psychology in USVI

stjohnjulie
February 28, 2018 03:08AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 709

I agree, it's hard to describe life here to those who have either never experienced it or only experienced it on vacation mode. I guess a lot of the regular posters can determine pretty quickly from a post whether or not the poster needs a dose of reality and tend to lay it on when people are just being completely unrealistic. Some people you just have to smack the rose colored glasses off their face instead of gently remove their tint smiling

Yes life can be simpler here. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that we tend to make due with what we have available. But we also have to learn to wait for a lot of things, which can be frustrating to a newbie. Completing a private party car sale can sometimes take all day. Getting repairs done at your home can take weeks of waiting for the 'guy' to show up. Even finding a banana at any store on island can sometimes be a futile experience. If you can learn to let go, things here are much more pleasant. I often say that if you love routine, but don't like schedules, the VI might be a fit for you.

The public school system has many challenges. More now than ever since they are down several schools and currently running on split sessions. If you are looking at STT as an option, you might want to connect with Insight Psychological Services and see if they can point you in the right direction. As in the states, and even more so here, there is the stigma around mental health issues. Many do not seek out the services that they need for fear of being labeled in a negative way.

Re: School psychology in USVI

Scubadoo
February 28, 2018 08:59AM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,957

Quote
stjohnjulie
But a lot of that has to do with the fact that we tend to make due with what we have available.

I like to tell folks it helps if they have a little McaGyver in them.

Re: School psychology in USVI

npmusicman
February 28, 2018 09:17AM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 6

Thanks for the pointers about life there and the schools and psychology. Very important considerations for me and my family.

People often throughout my life have told me I’m slow (maybe they should slow down), and I hate the stress of rushing places. Maybe I’m more of an islander anyway lol Try rushing around in a northeastern city in winter with tons of people... UGH! Can’t stand it lol I personally like to talk with people and spend time doing things. Some people find that annoying, but I like it. Value people, not things. And don’t waste your time, but do take your time.

Re: School psychology in USVI

Gator's Mom
February 28, 2018 09:40AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 791

On STX, these 2 organizations seem to have positions available.

Virgin Islands Behavioral Services - [www.uhsinc.com]

Island Therapy Solutions - [islandtherapysolutions.com]

Re: School psychology in USVI

npmusicman
February 28, 2018 09:48AM

Registered: 3 months ago
Posts: 6

Thanks for the information, Gator’s Mom! I’ll keep an eye on them and try to touch base with them and network a little. Plant seeds for the future. From what I have heard so far, it seems like there are opportunities for people like me in the islands; that is to say, the needs are there. It’s just the challenge of really understanding the place and people, and then obtaining the resources. But it sounds like it could be exciting if one is up for it.

By the way, I’ve reached out to some people in the Islands by email, and I haven’t gotten any responses back in days. Is that typical there? I’ve contacted professionals in the Bahamas, USVI, and ... maybe one or two other places. I don’t know if I’m being ignored or it just takes people a while for whatever reasons. I’m not looking for work now, and I’m not moving for at least a few years. I’m just trying to take the time to network and learn now instead of going in blind at the last minute.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2018 09:50AM by npmusicman.

Re: School psychology in USVI

stjohnjulie
March 01, 2018 02:14AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 709

Few things, Not everyone has communications restored yet. And even if they have been restored, they might have a huge backlog of emails to go through. But a lot of places don't really respond to emails. And the last emails they will answer are emails for people who are considering a move in the distant future. People get tired of spending time and energy answering questions for people who are probably never going to make the move. A phone call would be better. A face to face meeting is even better. In general, people don't tend to hire people who are not actually physically on island because most of the time it just doesn't work out.

If you like to go slower, this could be the place for you! As long as you don't get frustrated with the fact that it takes forever to get stuff done smiling

Re: School psychology in USVI

East Ender
March 01, 2018 04:14PM

Registered: 13 years ago
Posts: 4,909

Ditto what afriend and stjohnjulie have said. There is a Masters program in psychology at UVI. I was under the impression it was basically an educational psych program. This was because they needed psychometrists, etc. in the schools here but were unable to hire because of the low salaries so they decided to train local talent. It would behoove you to talk to someone in the psychology community, for example: [www.vipsychologists.org]

Re: School psychology in USVI

stxisbest
March 01, 2018 07:42PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 173

Quote
Scubadoo
Quote
stjohnjulie
But a lot of that has to do with the fact that we tend to make due with what we have available.

I like to tell folks it helps if they have a little McaGyver in them.

A lot more than a little trying to get some things done here. 28yrs last month and have no intention of leaving other than in a boat to get my ashes scattered. cool

Re: School psychology in USVI

stjohnjulie
March 02, 2018 02:31AM

Registered: 10 years ago
Posts: 709

Quote
Scubadoo
Quote
stjohnjulie
But a lot of that has to do with the fact that we tend to make due with what we have available.

I like to tell folks it helps if they have a little McaGyver in them.

This 'talent' really shines at Halloween time. The costumes people come up with are so brilliantly funny!

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