ICO in Spain
One of my best friends is currently teaching in Spain for a year. She is living in Madrid, giving me the perfect chance to come visit and explore Spain for the first time. During my trip to see her, we traveled from Madrid to Barcelona. One thing I noticed was the amount of opticals everywhere! This got me thinking, what is optometry like in Spain?
ICO also has an exchange program with Madrid. We send two optometry students there, and they send two optometry students to Chicago. This gave me a great chance to ask our current exchange students what their career in optometry will look like in Spain. From my understanding, optometry in Spain is pretty different than optometry in the United States.
For one, optometry in Spain seems to be a bit more refraction-oriented, whereas in the States, it is becoming more medically-oriented. Another difference is that students go directly from high school into a professional program. Instead of spending 4 years in college an then heading to graduate school, they complete a degree in optometry as part of their college education.
It was very interesting to learn what my future profession is like abroad. I am still amazed by how prevalent eye care was in both Madrid and Barcelona. Can’t wait for the next chance I get to head abroad and learn more about optometry across the world.