Fourth and fifth form students of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) on Friday received the Student Handbook 2018-2019, compiled by the Public Entity Saba, to assist them with their tertiary studies. At hand to personally present the handbooks was Saba Island Secretary Tim Muller, acting on behalf of Commissioner of Education Bruce Zagers who was unable to attend.
This is the first time that the Saba government prepared the Student Handbook. The handbook has been in the making for quite some time, explained Commissioner Zagers in its introduction. “It was important that we gathered as much information concerning your preparation to journey off Saba. We want to bridge the gap for students leaving Saba and to assist you with your new life transition,” he stated.
The 42-page handbook includes a lot of useful information for the SCS students on academic and vocational level who are preparing to further their studies in the United States (US), Canada, the Netherlands of in the Caribbean region next year. Saba students currently studying abroad were instrumental in providing the input for this booklet.
The handbook not only contains the practical aspects of studying abroad, but there is also information about the different colleges and universities abroad that Saba students have attended or are currently attending, such as the University of the West Indies, Flagler College, Indian Hills Community College, Lindenwood University, Libscomb University, New England Institute of Technology and Pittsburgh Technical College.
Students can read about the steps that they have to take before completing high school, such as doing proper research, look at career prospects, choosing the right study, country and university, applying for study financing, and how to finance one’s studies through for example study financing or a student grant.
Visa requirement processes are described the handbook as well. A visa is not needed to study in the Caribbean region or in the Netherlands with a Dutch passport, but it is required for the US and Canada. Then there is information about tuition fees, housing, budgeting, student life, preparing to leave Saba and life after arrival.
The ‘What to take to university’ checklist will most certainly come in handy for the students who have started preparing themselves for the academic year 2019-2020. There is also a pre-departure checklist, as well as a best practices list once one has started university. The parents and guardians will find interesting tips too to help their children prepare and succeed. The handbook concludes with the student testimonials of Enock Charles, Elsa Peterson, Esther Henry, Myron Hassell, Carolina Hassell and Sarah Johnson.
Island Secretary Muller told the students on Friday that in 2015, the program was started to have students abroad do a short internship on Saba when they came home during their studies. The internships have been successful, but Muller said that every time he noticed that the students had the same stories to tell.
“So Commissioner Zagers asked them in 2017 to put their tips and their challenges on paper for this handbook. This group of students put a lot of effort in, for which we are grateful,” said Muller.
The eight students mostly of the fifth and a few of the fourth form, in the presence of guidance counsellor Carol Skinner, told Muller where and what they planned to study when they leave the island in the summer of 2019. The vast majority will be going to the US and Canada.
The students have already started to prepare. They attended the Career and Study Fair in St. Maarten late October this year, while representatives of various colleges and universities have already visited SCS or are scheduled to do so early next year.
Commissioner Zagers shared some inspiring words to the students in the handbook introduction: “We encourage you to take an active role in your education. Take time to dream and to reflect on your development as a person. Strive for excellence in all that you do and never settle for mediocracy. This will allow you to shape and refine your vision of who you are and what you want to become. We are here to assist and support you during this process of your education.”