The FAQ sections below provide responses to our most commonly asked questions.
What is a 'travel advisory' and why does it matter?
The Canadian government provides travel advisories for the benefit of Canadian travellers. If the Canadian government issues a specific travel advisory (such as avoid non essential or avoid all travel) for a country or region in a country where an internship was planned, it will be cancelled. This information is available at the Canadian Canadian Government’s Travel Advisory website.
How do the clinical skills and experiences obtained during an international clinical internship compare to those from an internship in Canada?
Similar to clinical internships in Canada, there is a great diversity in the experiences you will have and the clinical skills you will obtain while doing an international clinical internship. What students have told us is that they learned to be very flexible, to adapt to new and different environments, to work with various teams, to take initiative, to develop more confidence, to communicate in various ways and to be more independent while on international internships. These are essential clinical skills in any job whether in Canada or abroad.
What are the benefits of an international clinical internship to a student in terms of his/her profession?
In small research studies, students from U of T have reported that the skills they develop in international clinical internships have been very valuable in their clinical practices after graduation. Especially in a multicultural city like Toronto, they have been able to use their experiences to enhance their professional skills years later. More than a few students have found that having completed this type of placement has been an advantage when applying for jobs as they stand out from other candidates and project passion and enthusiasm when describing their experience.
What types of clients would I be working with and in what settings?
The clients and settings would vary depending on the internship site. Please refer to the specific country information for more details. Placements are available in hospitals, treatment centres and community settings. Clients can be children or adults and the issues are varied.
What clinical supervision will be provided during the internship?
Availability of supervision depends on your site of interest – see country specific descriptions for more information. Most sites will have supervision in the discipline of the internship available. Most often supervision is provided by someone of your discipline who has been trained in the country chosen. In specific instances, Canadian supervisors may travel with you for all or part of the time.
What are my obligations to ICDR when doing an ICDR ICI internship?
It is the expectation that students going on an international internship participate in at least two ICDR-Group meetings for their internship country (1 meeting before and 1 meeting after their internship). In addition, students are required to provide feedback and updates on the ICI information sheet for that country following their internship.
How much does an international clinical internship cost?
The cost of an internship varies depending on the internship site but would range from approximately $2,000 to $4,000. Students are responsible for all internship-related costs including airfare, food, accommodation, health and travel insurance, transportation and visas. For more information about the the cost at each site, please refer to the ICI information sheet for your country of interest.
What funding support is available for ICIs?
As mentioned above, students are responsible for all of the costs associated with the placement. For OT students, a small amount of funding is available from MTCU (usually $250 to $350 per student) and one scholarship is available (see departmental handbook for more information). Students in the past have applied to service clubs and have held fundraising events to raise funds to bring materials for country partners.
How are students matched to internship sites, and do all students who apply get placed?
The matching process differs from department to department. Generally speaking, most students who complete the application process, meet all criteria and who are willing to be flexible as to destination or program are able to be placed.
Which countries take OT, PT and/or SLP students?
The countries and sites which take students will vary depending on the profession, time of year and year to year. Five ICDR country groups have offered ICI placements: Cameroon, Kenya, Philippines, Tanzania and Trinidad. See the Where and When ICI Chart for more details on possible placements during the next several years. Of course, circumstances can change and no placement opportunity is guaranteed to occur as indicated.
How long is each internship?
International internship vary depending on the department and when in the program you go from 5 to 10 weeks.
Where will I live during an ICI?
Accommodations depend on what is available at each internship site and could be a guest home or rental accommodation. For more information on a specific site, please refer to the country specific documents.
Will I need a visa?
It is your responsibility to determine the visa requirements of the country your internship is in and if necessary, to obtain this in advance of the internship prior to departure. If you are planning to travel to surrounding countries before or after your internship, ensure that you apply for a multiple entry visa, which costs more than a single entry visa but permits re-entry. If you stay for an extensive period of time, you may be required to apply for a residence permit in the host country. The details of this requirement depend on the policies of the country of interest. The ICDR-Group where you would like to do your international internship can provide more information about the specific visa requirements.
Will I need to know or learn another language?
The use of English varies depending on the ICDR country in which you are doing your internship. Your supervisors will speak English, but the clients you work with may or may not. Documentation would be completed in English. Please see individual country listings for more information.
What if I have food allergies or restrictions?
The arrangements for food (i.e. meals prepared or self-catered) depends on the site of interest. Students with food allergies or restrictions should ensure they will have appropriate food choices while in their internship. It is important to note that for some internships the nearest medical facility may be 2-3 hours away by car.
Are there other activities that I could participate in during my international internship?
An important part of your stay overseas is to have fun! There will be countless things to do in each country — it is up to you to determine what options exist and the safety of those choices. Many places will allow you to do ‘weekend trips’ which are often a great option. The cost and arrangement of these activities are the responsibility of the student and are outside any internship-related costs.
What if my plans change and I am unable to participate in the internship?
Please check with your departmental clinical coordinator about options if you are not able to participate in the internship.
What access will I have to communication while away?
Most sites will have internet access; however connectivity may be limited and/or unreliable. There will likely also be a cost to access internet that you would be responsible for. It is highly recommended that you travel with an unlocked cell phone and purchase a local SIM card and phone time from a local cell provider.
What are the guidelines for social media or public blogging while on an ICI?
Many students choose to share their experiences either via social media or blogging. Please remember that the same rules would apply while doing an international internship as apply when at home – you must be careful not to breach the confidentiality of any clients/patients or to share photos without explicit consent. It is also important to communicate in a way that is respectful of your hosts and ICDR partners.
What distinguishes a internship with an ICDR country from other international clinical internships?
ICDR-country sites are based on long-term, sustainable partnerships and are affiliated with an ICDR-Group. Members of the ICDR group have been to the country and many have experienced an international internship at the specific site you are travelling to. They can offer valuable advice about the country, the facility and other opportunities.
Would I be able to do more than one international internship?
This varies from department to department so contact your clinical coordinator for information.