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Everything To Know About ICO Externships

At ICO, externship selection occurs early during third year. This means that students have essentially their entire third year to plan what fourth year may bring. As a current fourth year, now halfway through my third externship, here are a few tips for those beginning to prepare:


How to find housing

Finding a place to live every few months is most definitely not an easy task, especially while on a grad-student budget (a.k.a. broke.) Here are a few ways to find a temporary home that have worked best for my peers and me:


-Airbnb: This site has worked the best for me so far. It is commonly used by many with available housing and has very flexible dates and reliable reviews. Discounts are also provided for monthly stays.

-VRBO: This site is more for a full apartment/condo/home to yourself. Don’t be scared away by the initial price, simply message the owner and ask if the price is adjustable for your extended stay. Most are happy to negotiate since having someone stay for over a month is more beneficial for them.

-Rotatingrooms.com: The idea behind this site is that students in the medical profession post available locations since they are rotating so often. You select based on nearby hospitals or medical schools and generally will be living with other graduate students.

-Other students: Many find housing by contacting their classmates who will be nearby, peers who have been at that location in the past, or students from other schools that will be rotating at the same location.

-Friends and family in the area: Don’t forget to consider those you may already know in the area. If you don’t necessarily live with them, they can still be helpful by recommending a location for you.


What to bring

I recommend not bringing too much with you to each location. Aside from clothing and essential items you may have, there is generally not much you will need, especially if you are staying at any of the places listed above which provide basic home necessities. I usually bring the following:

-1 large suitcase with my clinic clothes, gym clothes, and any other essentials.

-1 backpack for my laptop, books, electronics, etc.

-No equipment (unless your site specifically asks you to bring something; most will provide everything you need!)


Travel to each site

These are generally based on how far away your sites are from one another and also from where you live:

-Many of my classmates have bought or rented cars for their sites, but I want to stress the fact that this is not always necessary. Even if a site may state, “car is required,” take a look at public transit. It can be a great option; I’ve used it for all of my sites so far.

-Travel websites such as Kayak (my favorite,) Expedia, Orbitz, etc. are a great way to compare flight prices in order to find the cheapest flights to your destinations. To give you an example, my flight from Honolulu to New York City was $200.

-Amtrak is another great way to travel (especially along the northeast!)

-Make sure to take your time to search around a bit before buying the first flight you see. Also, don’t buy too far in advance. Flights are generally more expensive when bought very far in advance.

-Once you’re settled in to your location, make sure to explore while you’re there!

This list is most definitely not all-inclusive but includes most of what has worked best for me. I hope that this gives you some ideas when it comes to planning for externships. Enjoy your fourth year!


#externships #ico #IllinoisCollegeofOptometry #travel

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