Skip to main content

Lee Wu

SFU Co-op Student
Beedie School of Business › Accounting

empty
Two small boats in Barbados water
Another first impression that I had of Barbados was that the people here are very friendly, including all of the people I have encountered, as well as all of my colleagues.
Crowd of people in Barbados

After I arrived in Barbados, my new manager kindly picked me up from Grantley Adams International Airport, and drove me to my accommodations located right next to the beach (5 minute walking distance). On the way, I had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Barbados. My very first impression of Barbados was that the ocean appeared so clear and clean. My assumption has been that many tourist attractions are full of litter, but this is definitely not the case in Barbados. Because I was tempted by the sunshine and clean beach, I went swimming and snorkeling the next morning. It was a windless day and, in the water, I encountered many different kinds of tropical fish, sea horses and even a turtle (Yes, people here swim with turtles).

Another first impression that I had of Barbados was that the people here are very friendly, including all of the people I have encountered, as well as all of my colleagues. In fact, my colleagues decided to host a monthly event in order to give me ample opportunities to learn more about their country. This Saturday, we will dine at a very famous local restaurant and I am very excited to try it out.

Picture of Scotiabank

This stunning country’s economy is mainly driven by tourism. Every year, around 60,000 Canadians choose Barbados as their vacation destination. I have met a number of Canadian tourists here, and there are even bars that are designated “Canadian Bars”. Aside from the Canadian tourists, I’ve also noticed the presence of Canadian banks in Barbados. The 3 largest banks in Barbados are Scotiabank, RBC and CIBC. After speaking with local professionals, I discovered that Canada and Barbados have very close ties, especially within the finance sector. One example of this is that Canadian companies contribute to 75% of the international financial community in Barbados.

Barbados’ highly-educated workforce, along with its close interaction with Canadian firms, has resulted in most of the citizens here being well-informed about Canada. As such, many people that I have chatted with have told me they have heard of a school called SFU (Yeah!! people from 6, 600 KM away have heard of our school).

 

Barbados: The Water is the Place to Be!
Picture of turtles underwater

Barbados is ideal for year-round water sports. Even in January, the water temperature is still around 26 degrees Celsius. The east coast of the country is legendary among surfers who are looking for a wind-surfing adventure. Personally, I think that surfing is the most economical water sport for a student aside from swimming. The west coast of the country is the most suitable for swimming and diving.

The resorts and dive shops on the west coast offer a comprehensive set of diving packages ranging from beginners’ lesson, who begin learning in a swimming pool, to experts, who take part in deep ocean and night dives. Although I find diving to be one of my favorite water sports, but as a student, I am conscious of the fact that re-filling oxygen tanks is relatively expensive.

The tourists' enjoyment of the water is enhanced by the fact that Barbados` government is very conscientious about preserving their ecosystem. As a result, marine life thrives in the ocean, and people swim alongside them, a symbol of the symbiotic relationship between fish and humans.

Eating Out in Barbados
Plate of neatly presented food in a plate

I’ve found eating out to be fairly pricey here. Generally speaking, food is expensive at any location with a large number of tourists and Barbados has proven to be no exception.

My colleagues have a hard time believing that in Vancouver you can have a $24 all-you-can-eat sashimi dinner, while here, an order of 5 pieces of sashimi is around $48 BD (the equivalent of $24 CAD).

Because of the history of Barbados, the flavor of the country’s food has been influenced by the African and European cultures. The locals use a variety of methods to prepare their food, including the Wok, grill and wood stone oven. Because the island’s surroundings provide a plentiful supply, fresh flying fish is one of the most popular dishes. Barbadian grill has provided a unique and memorable taste to my dining experience.

So, What is There to do in Barbados?
Performer in the street with people in the background

Today, the Holetown festival has become one of the island’s strongest examples of cultural community and heritage tourism. The week-long celebrations of Holetown include exhibits which sell a variety of local crafts. In addition, the festival also highlights the Barbadian culture and history, as well as Caribbean performances which included street parades, limbo dances, and stilt walker performances.

The first day of the festival was kicked-off with opening celebrations at the Holetown Monument with local dance performances. That day, I bought several crafts as my souvenirs, as I found many of the handcrafts to be very intricate. For example, there were bows made of fish scales, mini figurines created by a single wire, and printings of the chattel houses of Barbados.

I was very glad to have the opportunity to see the latest creations of Barbadian crafters, as well as observe the participants in the festival who truly demonstrated the best of Barbadian hospitality.

  • Lee Wu Jan 30, 2012
    Like to recommend this item
    visibility  12

About the Author

Lee Wu

SFU Co-op Student
Beedie School of Business › Accounting

You Might Like These... International, Life Experience, Co-operative Education

Korea
International Spotlight: Korea

Bordered by China, Russia, and separated from Japan by the Korea Strait, Korea makes for a strong international hub of Asia.

California
International Spotlight: California

Sunny California is not only one of the favorite tourist destinations but also a state with a variety of opportunities.

Kaleigh sitting on a cliff staring out to the wilderness
My Co-op Work Term in Gaborone | Part Two

In Part 2 of her series, Health Sciences Co-op student Kaleigh Banister gets into the local Gabarone culture and takes a bit of time to explore the natural wonders she’s surrounded by.

Two small boats in Barbados water
library_books
Blog
Barbados: My First Impressions and the Canadian Connection
International, Life Experience

If you want to spend a semester travelling, but don’t want to give up your opportunities to learn, then a co-op placement in Barbados could meet both of your aims. Lee Wu went all the way to Barbados to work as an audit intern. Learn how Lee Wu spent his Co-op semester as an audit intern abroad. Here he details his impression of the country.

Two small boats in Barbados water
library_books
Blog
Barbados: My First Impressions and the Canadian Connection
International, Life Experience

If you want to spend a semester travelling, but don’t want to give up your opportunities to learn, then a co-op placement in Barbados could meet both of your aims. Lee Wu went all the way to Barbados to work as an audit intern. Learn how Lee Wu spent his Co-op semester as an audit intern abroad. Here he details his impression of the country.

You Might Like These... Prospective

A girl standing in front of a plane
Considering International Co-op? Some Helpful Tips to get You Started

Trying to decide if going on an International Co-op Placement is right for you?  Follow these words of advice from Laura Buchanan so you can make a well-informed decision.

Two girls holding custom-made SFU book bag and pencil case
Health Sciences Engagement Improves Lives

After their four incredible months in India, the girls are finally back. This Co-Op inspired them so much so that they have decided to take the initiative to start their own fun-raiser for Destiny Reflection. Read on to find out what they have been doing since they got back and how the experience has changed them. 

Traveling Image
5 Ways to Avoid the Long Distance Travel Blues

A long bus or plane ride is associated with awkward social situations, a lack of food options, the weird tiny bathroom in the back, and of course, trying not to become mind-numbingly bored.  I’ve investigated past personal experiences to build a survival guide to avoid the long-distance travel blues.