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Volunteering/working in the Virgin Islands

 
andyd
(@andyd)
New Member

Hi everyone!
I've been looking around the web but have yet to find anything truly helpful. My girlfriend and I plan on volunteering/working (Workaway) in the Virgin Islands (Christiansted, St. Croix) for a few months. Well, start our journey in the Islands, we'll see where we end up. But I was just wondering if anyone could provide any info/personal experience on the area?

Everyone says the cost of living is expensive, (we're from NY). How expensive exactly?
How much money would we need to live for a few months (housing is taken care of)?
We plan on living the simple/laid back life, opposed to the tourism/vacation one.

How are the locals? What are some of the must see things on the island?

Again, any information would be greatly appreciated : )

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Topic starter Posted : September 20, 2011 1:03 am
threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member

Andyd,

I'm not there yet either, but I am moving there in December and I've been doing a lot of research. I've heard that the cost of living is 30% higher than America, while the pay is 30% lower. The electricity is monopolized by WAPA and they charge an average of $00.40/kwh as opposed to the mainland United States which averages $00.09/kwh. I hear that all types of groceries are available, but since most of it is shipped in from the Mainland US, the price for the same exact products is twice as high or more sometimes. I read one instance of a person paying $7 for a gallon of milk, but I heard the average is about $2.40 (anyone who actually lives in the USVI, please feel free to correct me).

Any ways, that is what I've found. I hope that helps.

Raj H.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 10:34 am
IslandHops
(@IslandHops)
Trusted Member

Me son, dem man at wapa a chagin me 0.487 on de las bill at work. Dam de leac. (that's island speak and meant in a humerus, non-derogatory way). 😎

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Posted : September 20, 2011 11:37 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

I have NEVER seen milk for less that $4 a gallon, EVER.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 4:00 pm
VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
Trusted Member

And that's not even a GALLON of milk, it's a half gallon. Yeah, you can get milk for $9, but I get mine for $4. You end up shopping around, normally three or four stores. And not just to find the best price, but also to find the brand or whatever you're looking for. You don't have to live like a tourist for the Islands to suck up all your money. Now, that being said, I do love it here.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 4:27 pm
BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
Trusted Member

$3.99 for a half gallon of 2% milk at Pueblo. $6.99 for a gallon.
They got a new brand in with a longer expiration date.
The older brand was $2.59 for half a gallon.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 4:58 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

I always get organic milk and its 6.49 for a half gallon at Plaza. Luckily it takes me a long time to drink so that lasts me 2 weeks (I won't buy it if the expiration date is a few days away). If they don't have that, then I'll get soy milk (which they always have).

My point is, not everyone shops around and visits different stores--frankly, I don't have the time or the patience--if Plaza West doesn't have it, I don't buy it/eat it that week. Life here is made easier if you are adaptable, flexible and don't have any challenging dietary needs.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 5:00 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

There are two sayings that a newcomer might consider. At my favorite beach bar, Off the Wall, they once had tee shirts that read "order what you want, eat what you get". And one of the dollar stores motto is "if we don't have it, you don't need it". Funny, but also very true.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 6:32 pm
BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
Trusted Member

Pueblo used to have a brand of 2% or maybe it was 1% milk that started out under $4.00 a gallon.

In the states, I think the lower the % milk the more expensive it is. It was opposite at Pueblo until they got this new brand. Now the same price across the board.

Next time I do my major shopping, I will price items at different stores. I know Cost u Less upped there price on ginger beer (case) to over $15.00, but still under $14.00 at PriceSmart. I think a lot of items I regularly buy are cheaper in PriceSmart. Sometimes even Kmart.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 7:27 pm
VentoGT
(@VentoGT)
Advanced Member

To the OP, read this board, use the "search" function, and you will learn a LOT. If you just ask "what's it really like", you're not going to get many answers as the subject is often discussed and has more angles than one could possibly imagine. Good luck!

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Posted : September 20, 2011 8:49 pm
andyd
(@andyd)
New Member

Thanks for the insight on milk haha.

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Topic starter Posted : September 20, 2011 9:05 pm
andyd
(@andyd)
New Member

Thanks for the insight on milk haha! So by the sounds of it, groceries are expensive, it makes sense, it's an island. What about other daily necessities? How is public transportation? Like I said, we plan on going for a couple months and are volunteering/have a host family, so we wouldn't need to pay for housing. How is the job market? Bartending, waitressing would be ideal.

My main question is, is it possible to temporarily live on the island for a couple grand? Could anyone maybe suggest a rough budget?

Thanks again!

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Topic starter Posted : September 20, 2011 10:00 pm
li2stx
(@li2stx)
Advanced Member

If you are from Long Island or Westchester, nothing on STX (price wise) will surprise or shock you. Good luck

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Posted : September 20, 2011 10:47 pm
BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
Trusted Member

When Kmart has sales on soap, toothpaste, detergent, toliet paper, etc. I stock up.

When they have sales on their Kmart store products (Smart Sense), "Buy 1, get 1 half price". I stock up. It can be medicine to paper dishes. Just depends.

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Posted : September 20, 2011 10:59 pm
CAtoSTX
(@CAtoSTX)
Trusted Member

Is it doable? - if you supplement with bartending/waitressing - SURE.
If you get your healthcard as soon as you get on island - and show up - face to face to get a job, and you show up regularly on time - you've got a head start.

Public transit runs from C'sted to F'sted along a main road - I know people who use it, but if you live off the rout - it's not so ideal. Also not reliable if it rains, get's late, there's an event somewhere on the island....

The best thing to do on a day-off on the island - and on a budget - the beach! Or, is that living like a tourist?

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Posted : September 21, 2011 2:50 am
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