OT 610: International Students
Finding a Place to Stay
While it will ultimately be your responsibility to find your own place to live while you are attending OT 610 or SI 610 (OT/SI 610), the staff at Pediatric Therapy Network, the host site for the course, will be happy to assist you. They have information about rooms or apartments that may become available when previous OT/SI 610 therapists complete the course. If you are interested in learning more about housing options, please contact Erna Blanche for information for the contact at PTN.
Since you may not be able to finalize your living arrangements until you are in town for the course, it is best to be prepared to stay in a hotel/motel for a period of time, before you move into a more permanent place (most hotels/motels charge per room, no matter how many persons are staying). If possible, we recommend visiting the towns and areas surrounding PTN to decide in which area you will want to live. It is usually more difficult to find an apartment for a short period of time than it is to rent a room, as many places want you to sign a rental agreement for at least six months. “Rooms to Rent” are advertised in many online sources, however, caution should be exercised in renting from someone you do not know. Again, the staff at PTN are happy to assist you to make the process as safe and simple as possible. The Daily Breeze is the local daily newspaper of the area near PTN in case you prefer to search through this type of resource.
A map of the area, or the many online map resources, will help you to have an idea of the distance between PTN and your place of residence. When you have decided in which area you want to live, consider the distances between home and work. Some areas require a car, and others are within biking distance or within reach by the public transportation system (see Transportation section below). While it is feasible to get around without a car, Southern California has limited public transportation and most visitors find they need a car if they wish to see more of the area during their stay. Nice and relatively safe areas to live in, which are fairly close to the clinic, are Torrance, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, North and South Redondo Beach, and Palos Verdes.
If you want to start looking for places to live, some online sites include: www.apartmentguide.com, www.southbayrentals.com. These sites will give you an idea of how much the rent varies for places of different sizes and in different locations.
Pediatric Therapy Network
1815 W. 213th St.
Torrance, CA 90501
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Most therapists coming to the area for the course use cell phones for communication purposes. International therapists may wish to explore whether or not their own plans offer coverage in the U.S. If not, or if this is too expensive, it may be best to purchase a low-cost or prepaid cell phone locally. PTN offers Internet access for therapists participating in the course. Access to the Internet away from PTN may be available at residences or hotels. Many local businesses and restaurants offer access.
The most flexible way to get around L.A. is by car. If renting/driving a car is not an option for you, using public transportation is possible, but you’ll need time and patience. Some therapists have opted to use bicycle transportation. This may work for you if you live within a few miles of PTN.
L.A. has several regional transportation systems, the largest of which is the MTA. The Torrance area is serviced mainly by Torrance Transit (TT). Monthly bus passes are available for purchase and transit schedules can be viewed online.
Registration at USC
Bring the following documents to the University Park Campus of USC (just south of downtown Los Angeles) for registration:
- Letters from the OT Division confirming you as a student of the OT 610 course
- Permission to Enroll form from Dr. Blanche
- Documentation of your health insurance at home.
Follow registration instructions given to you by Erna Blanche.
If you have insurance from your home country you may not be required to pay for the Student Health Center and USC Health Insurance. To have the insurance fees deducted from your bill, you will need to contact the Eric Cohen Student Health Center at the USC Health Sciences Campus, where the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is also located. A representative there will send you a form that you will need to complete and return with a copy of your medical insurance before USC will waive your student health insurance and verify that your home country insurance is valid during your stay in the U.S.
Good luck and enjoy your stay!