It is not every day that one makes a decision to fly to the other side of the world (well, sort of) to live or study, but, I did just that. I pursued a graduate degree in Leeds, England, which marked the first time I left The Bahamas, for more than a week. This journey taught me a lot about myself. Most of all, it showed me that many people have absolutely no clue about the Caribbean. It was saddening really. Along with the common questioning about what possessed me to leave paradise to study in such a gloomy environment, I was met with many misconceptions about my country and the Caribbean in general. Here is a recap of the most frustrating questions.

  1. So where is The Bahamas exactly?
  2. Why don’t you have the Jamaican accent?
  3. So how is life in Barbados?
  4. Do you guys even work over there?

My personal favourite was being ran after and asked for weed by a stranger as I was trying to get on a bus. In addition to these questions, I would sometimes come across people who visited one Caribbean island long ago and were now self-proclaimed experts. One of my supervisors at the charitable organization I volunteered at constantly told my peers about the wild animals we had, including poisonous snakes. For the record, there are no poisonous snakes indigenous to The Bahamas.

Even more frustrating was the comparisons some of my African peers made. For example, they’d attempt to be condescending about the fact that Caribbean people only speak English. First of all, there are Spanish, French, Dutch and other indigenous languages including country-specific dialects across the Caribbean. Of course, they did not know this, because they only know the Caribbean to be Jamaica (big ups to my Jamaican friends).

I found myself correcting some who were actually interested in learning and totally ignoring others who just really had no clue. Hopefully, by now they have enlightened themselves. If not, all I have to say is, No, I am not a Jamaican, but yes, we are all Caribbean.

Until next time!

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

New Providence, The Bahamas

Island Girl Since:

Born and Bred

Originally Hails From:

New Providence, The Bahamas

Jasmine was born in New Providence, the capital island of The Bahamas (which comprises 700 islands, rocks, and cays). Until 2016, when she moved to England for graduate studies, she had never left her rock for more than a week. In The Bahamas, they have a phrase, “Born, bred, ga dead, Bahamian;” Jasmine considers herself an island girl through and through. Notwithstanding her newfound love for traveling, her islands and fellow Caribbean people are near and dear to her heart.

Jasmine has returned from her studies in England and is now concerned with development of her country and the Caribbean, in general. Her goal is to visit every Caribbean island within the next five years and commune with her fellow Caribbean people. She wants to start a blog to show the diversities of the islands. Many people are not aware of the many languages, cultural differences, similarities, races, and nationalities that hail from the Caribbean.

Her stories will enlighten you of her experiences and those of her friends as she continues her journey as an island gal (although her home island is perceived as the city-life island of The Bahamas). If you would like to reach out, feel free to email Jasmine .

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