Kitchen Essentials You Need to Bring to Grand Cayman as a St.Mathews University Student
You got accepted to SMU! Congrats! The journey is just beginning and there are so many things to do to prepare for your big move to Grand Cayman Island! If you're like us, you're moving into the Residence Hall and probably staying there. It's tough to decide what thing you need or should bring to the island with you. I know it was for us, and we were lucky enough to have an extra trip to bring back more things at the beginning of the year.
We've been living here for 8 months now, and from our own experience and talking to other classmates and friends, we've compiled a list of essentials to bring with you to the island, ESPECIALLY if you'll be living in the dorms. I hope this helps you in your transition here!
1. Coffee Machine
I guess this only applies to people who actually drink coffee, but if you're going to school, it's VERY likely that you do! So why bring a coffee machine, there are stores that sell them on island right? Yes, buuuttt... it's hella expensive. considering the space it takes up in your luggage to cost ratio comparison, it's totally worth it to bring one from home.
We're from Miami, otherwise known as northern Cuba, so our days are filled to the brim with cafecitos (basically espresso shots) so we brought over our Mr.Coffee Espresso Machine and our traditional Stove Top Espresso Maker for smaller batches. What's nifty about our machine is that it has a steamer so we can make cappuccinos! Babe just has to learn how to make the coffee art now to be legit.
ALSO, if you have the luxury of space in your luggage and drink coffee as heavily as my husband does, I would say bring a couple blocks of espresso from home. Our staple brand is Pilon, which back at home is like $3 and here it's like $6. If you can't afford the extra real estate, no worries! We really save a ton of money by making our coffee at home as opposed to buying at the coffee shops. It makes a HUGE difference on our budget.
If you're a smoothie person, then maybe that means bringing a blender to the island. Our cheap Hamilton beach blender that can barely blend water together cost us $40, so if you already have like a NutriBullet at home, I would bring that.
2. Command Hooks
Guys! This is a GAME CHANGER. Living in a dorm, space is a pretty big deal. We aren't keen on buying extra storage space because we'll be leaving before we know it, and we don't need all the extra junk. A big thing about moving here is thinking like a minimalist.
The Residence Hall doesn't allow you to nail things to the wall. So, to make the best use of the space we do have, we brought over these Command Hooks. I use them on the inside of doors to hang lids, purses, and even a bulletin board. To make the room a bit more home, I brought over a few tiny canvases to paint and eventually hang using these command hooks. I haven't done that yet, but I definitely will!
3. Hot Plate
WARNING, this item is actually not allowed in the Residence Hall. It WILL get confiscated if the staff get's wind that you have one. Here's the thing, I'm an advocate of responsible use of this item. Don't leave this unattended, leaving others at risk of a fire in their home. However... There are days when going to the residential kitchen is just a pain. Whether it's because it's raining furiously, unbearably hot outside, or because it's a disgusting mess because people don't respect shared spaces.
I hardly cook in the kitchen anymore thanks to this wonderful piece of equipment. We bought something like this from a Walmart back home. It's not the best, it rhythmically looses it's heat because I guess it would melt otherwise, but it gets the job done from the comfort of your room.
4. Pot and Pan
There are so many people that had to spend a pretty penny on pots and pans here, when back home you can get a 10 piece set for $50, where as here, one tiny pot will cost you about $25. So my suggestion, even if you can only bring one pot. Bring one.
I came with a whole set, and actually gifted a pot to a friend. If I had to choose one pan to bring, it would be my 9 inch frying pan with high edges. I use it too cook up any kind of protein and even to make one pot pasta dishes. IF you decide to bring a pot too, bring a dutch oven that can be put in the oven too! it really opens up the possibilities of meals you can make, and you can even do some baking in there.
5. Special Seasoning, Spices, etc.
If you're used to a specific seasoning, or your mom makes a batch of something that just reminds you of home, bring it. I actually know a few people bring back frozen food from home! It's part of adjusting to a new place, you're just gonna miss things from back home.
There are just some things you won't find on the island, but there is a decent amount of cultural variety on island. So it's not to say that you won't find anything. Just keep in mind that everything is imported over seas so there's just a little less variety.
I use a lot of Badia Seasoning, it's the cheapest back home and on island. I make a lot of my own mixes, so I personally haven't had an issue finding specific spices.
FUN TIP! An excellent way to save space in your room is to use MAGNETS! I hot glued two magnet per small seasoning and stuck them on my white board. Obviously, if you don't have a white board, you can stick them on your fridge which is included in every room at the residence hall!
Overall, you're gonna want to bring some basic tools so you don't have to buy EVERYTHING here, it can get pretty expensive to buy bugger ticket items. But, I would definitely buy things like spatulas, utensils, bowls, etc. on island, as you can find them at a decent price at Kirks Home Center or Buy Smart
If you have any questions or want more info about the island, comment below!