I moved here with my girlfriend and we are both 23, college graduates and just wanted ‘something different’…and St Thomas is definitely that. we had a room reserved at Villa Fairview, so we had a place to stay when we got here. We were VERY overwhelmed with the idea of being so far away from home (Ohio) and not knowing anybody, but when you stuck in that situation, you find your way. We thought the best way to find out about things was to talk to people who were in our shoes, so we went around town and asked anybody who looked like they were in our shoes what the deal was. Everybody was sooo helpful, they all had been in our situation and actually seemed excited to help; which was great.
We spent the first few days just trying to figure out the island, where things were; it was hard sometimes finding things because areas are designated by names which really make no sense i.e. sub base, Anna’s Retreat, Peterborg…if someone says something is in Sub Base, they just assumed that you knew where that was. That was something that we learned quick, it kinda forces you too!
Finding jobs was actually really easy, my girlfriend simply went to the offices of a jewelry store in town and got an interview. After a few interviews she was offered a job…without any sales experience and I got a job as a mate on a boat. Jobs are easy to find, the trick is finding one that pays enough to live.
Villa Fairview is right in town, and that really wasn’t were we wanted to be, so we looked for an apartment right away, which was also pretty easy due to the Island Trader (a newspaper that is mostly classifieds). We found a great apartment and were out of Villa Fairview. The catch 22 about moving is that we needed to get a car. Again we went to the Island Trader and with a little persistence and quite a few dollars spent in cab fares to look at cars, we had bought a 95 Mazda Protégé for only $1700, we actually got a pretty good deal.
So in 4 weeks we accomplished a lot, I am actually pretty amazed. I guess some advice is to not get discouraged if you have a setback, and you will. Be persistent when trying to get a job, it seemed that if you really seemed interested, people were eager to interview with you. Most of all, ASK QUESTIONS, I know I heard a lot about how local islanders were very stand-off-ish to people from the states, but that cannot be farther from the truth, if you are polite and say good morning, good afternoon, they are more than grateful to help you. Also be patient and relaxed…you are living the island life now and things really slow down, I never ever thought I would wait in line at a K-mart for a half hour, but I have done it twice now.
Things are much different here than in the states…but that is the exact reason why we came here, and after a month, it is the best decision I have ever made!