says John C. Linton, PhD, internship training director at the
West Virginia University School of Medicine in Charleston.
Of course, many applicants want to visit a site just to ensure
a good fit, in terms of both training and the town. To
accommodate them, Linton’s site offers 18 in-person interview
slots. “But visits are for them to see the program, not for us to
evaluate them,” says Linton.
Other sites prefer phone interviews or face-to-face interviews
through videoconferencing software such as Skype. “The ability
to see each other makes everyone more comfortable and able
to communicate better,” says Susan Recinella, PsyD, director
of intern training at Florida State University’s counseling
center. Skyping takes a little getting used to, she says, noting
that people tend to watch themselves instead of looking at the
webcam. Practice with a friend beforehand, she recommends, to
get feedback and ensure you know how things work.
Travel cheap ... Flights and cabs are fast, but don’t forget
about buses, trains and public transportation, says McGrady.
Be the first to book a BoltBus ticket from Washington to New
York, for instance, and you might pay just $1 for your ticket.
Consider multi-stop flights or flying to a cheaper destination,
then driving the final leg. And always carry your bag on — not
just to save checking fees but because you don’t want to risk
arriving without your suit should your checked bag go astray.
... but not too cheap. As you look to trim costs, don’t
underestimate the value of arriving at your interview unfrazzled.
“I sometimes chose to fly direct even
though it’s a little more expensive,” says
McGrady. “Sometimes the time and stress
you save — especially since you’re traveling
in the winter — are important.” Similarly,
ask current interns at the site about cheap
places to stay where you won’t be kept up
all night. (The internship site may also
have deals with local hotels.) “Interns will
know that the hotel you’re looking at on
Priceline is only $49, but there will be
people dealing meth in the rooms next to
you,” says Linton. “People go on Priceline
and have no idea how far away a hotel is,
what the neighborhood’s like and whether
their car will be stripped in the morning.”
More expensive lodging may also have such
cost-saving amenities as free breakfasts and
courtesy vans to take you to the airport or
even to your interview.
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Work your network. Use Facebook
and other social media to identify places to
crash, suggests says Nabil H. El-Ghoroury,
PhD, associate executive director of
APAGS. Or ask your program for names
of alumni or interns who might be open to
hosting a visitor. “I crashed with the brother
of a classmate of mine,” says El-Ghoroury
of his internship application days.
CouchSurfing.org, which connects travelers
with local community members who offer
free lodging and advice, is another option.
If you’re worried about safety, review
references from previous visitors and stick
to hosts who’ve had their name and address
verified by the website. n
Rebecca A. Clay is a writer in Washington, D.C.