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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers



Is there an application process for participation?

Each school has different admissions criteria. Please check with your local faculty first before signing up. Columbia and Cambridge students can sign up directly online here.


My university is not a partner school. Can I join the program?

The program is intended for students of the partner schools in the countries listed only. 

Is there a consent form to be signed?
In order to participate in the questionnaires a consent will be signed electronically. Participation is voluntary.


I don’t want to travel. Can I participate in parts 1 - 3 (small-group work, and large group conferences) only?

Yes! The program is primarily a networking program and connecting with your peers independent of travel is encouraged.


Can I participate in part 4 (travel) only?

No. Only students who complete parts  1-3 are considered for laboratory assignments and travel. All assigned paperwork must be completed in order for you to be placed within a laboratory internship.


What are the costs for this program?

There is no cost involved to join the program and tuition is waived. Travel and accommodations are not covered and is the responsibility of the traveling students. Faculty will help with grant applications.


What is an NSL?

An NSL is the local national student leader. Each country cohort selects two NSL(s) who serve as liaisons for the program. The NSL serves as an intermediary bridge between the student cohort and the program. In addition, all NSL(s) communicate with each other during the course of the program, to work out any issues that might arise.


What is the NSL's role?

The role of the NSL (responsibilities)

  • Create a local community of ICEP students on the home campus

    • Meet with the local cohort members for fun activities ​

  • During the small-group sessions

    • Remind cohort to check emails

    • Relay questions from students to program

    • Remind students of assignment deadlines

    • Contact “missing” students

    • Let program know of cohort attrition

    • Remind cohort of the global meetings

  • Conference(s) preparation (global weekends and final conference)

    • Communicate time options for the conferences to program

    • Work with local faculty and senior NSL on venue to host conferences

    • Prepare short slide presentation to introduce their country and culture (“cultural presentation”) to the other peer groups

    • Take attendance at conferences

    • Send photos to social media from their cohort

    • Attend the post conference feedback session with faculty

  • Travel

    • Act as main contact person connecting the incoming traveling students with the cohort

    • Prepare “buddy list” of host students (to socialize)

    • Help with housing questions

    • Help with general questions for incoming students

    • Keep a list and connect incoming students with “ICE buddies” (see below)


What does the NSL get in return?

It is an honorary position and can be noted as selected leadership position on your CV.

What is a senior National Student Leader (SNSL) ?

Senior National Student Leaders are past year's NSL and help with the execution of the program. They represent an additional level of support for students and faculty. This is a prestigious position and by invitation only. 





Will I zoom with peers from the country that I want to visit?

Groups are randomly selected in order to give students the opportunity to network with as many countries as possible.


Can I select my country preferences for the small-group work?

No. It is in the best interests of the program that all countries are evenly distributed within the small groups.


Are there dates provided by the program, for the groups to meet?

No. The groups will need to make internal arrangements to meet at least 4 times online during the semester. The program begins mid-October. All small group work and group assignments are expected to be completed by early-mid January.


How do I connect with the larger group?

The online email repository and the Instagram and LinkeIn group will connect all students. We encourage students to actively use the above. During the monthly networking sessions you will meet the large cohort and will network with them. 


What if I need to drop out?

We understand if scheduling and time constraints necessitate students having to leave the program. Please do not go in silence. Please contact your NSL, your group, and the program. In some cases we let students return for a portion of the program, but that is decided on a case-by-case basis.


What do I do if I cannot reach a small group participant?

After 3 successive emails or message attempts without a response you should contact the program, your NSL, and the NSL of the partner country. The student/participant will be excluded from further activities and you will either be assigned another student or continue on as a smaller group.





When does the final conference take place?

The conferences are held on a weekend (one conference on Saturday and one conference on Sunday) in towards the end of the program following the small-group work; dates are selected based on a majority vote by NSL(s) and faculty.


How long is the conference?

The conferences are each approximately 2.5 hours.

Do I have to participate in the conferences?

Yes. As a courtesy to your presenting peers everyone should attend. This is the first time the entire group will meet. Traveling students must attend the conferences in order to qualify for travel.


Can I participate individually in the conferences or do I have to physically join my cohort?

Please join your cohort in-person in order to limit the number of dial-ins and screens. We may make an exception based on a case-by-case circumstance. Starting in  2021, we will host all conferences online. There is no in-person participation unless you local cohorts meets onsite as a group (check with your National Student Leaders).


How do I make a video for the presentation?

See instructions here.


Who will present at the conferences?

A list of presenting groups will be circulated a few days prior to the conferences. Groups should prepare their presentation as if they are presenting. 



Which countries can I visit?

All participating countries host summer students. However, laboratory positions are limited and will be assigned on a “first come first served” basis.


Which laboratories are available for summer research internships?

Laboratory internship positions (slots) are limited. The list will be shared when slots are selected mid-program.


What if my plans change?

Once you sign up for travel you commit to visit the country/laboratory. If your visit is contingent on funding or on a stipend you need to indicate that on the application site. Please note that you will not be assigned a slot until your funding is secured. If you must cancel, your slot will be given to the next person on the list. It is not possible to switch countries once you are assigned a laboratory.


Who do I contact to sign up for laboratory placements?

All laboratory placements are arranged via the program. Please do not contact individual faculty members for placement. Once you sign up you commit to the travel/country/laboratory. Faculty will begin the search for a laboratory specifically suited for you. If your visit is contingent upon funding or on a stipend you need to indicate that on the application site. Please note that you will not be assigned a slot until your funding is secured. Faculty will not search for a slot for you unless you sign up and confirm that you have funds to travel. 


When will I travel?

There are several travel groups, depending on your school, your school vacation, and summer exams.


Travel group 1 – June/July (8 weeks)  

Travel group 2 – July/August (8 weeks) – If you are traveling to New York please note that Columbia students are away during this travel group.

Travel group 3 – August to October (8 weeks) 

Travel group 4 – November/December - University of Sydney only, selected students from other schools



Can I travel outside of the travel group times?

We do make exceptions, but note that there will be no scheduled social activities outside of the travel group times. We try to “buddy” with other students during the travel group times and plan social activities around them (e.g., museums, concerts, picnics, walking tours). Thus, traveling outside the group times will potentially isolate you.


How long are the internships?

We request 8 weeks minimum, as a courtesy to the host laboratories. 3 months is the maximum for a short-term visitor at Columbia University. For German and Austrian students limited slots are available for work on their dissertations – these will be for a minimum of 12 months (notify the program if you are interested in this option). We also place UK students for their intercalated years.


I have no prior research experience. Can I still be placed?

Yes. The program is for all students. Please indicate on your application that you have no prior research experience.


Can I do clinical rotations as part of my internship?

No. The program is a preclinical program to foster the basic sciences experience and immersion into academic life in the host country. The above is best achieved via a laboratory experience. Rarely, students get the opportunity to shadow clinicians if the host institution allows. This will be in addition to a laboratory position and cannot replace a laboratory rotation.

Do I need a visa?

All participating countries are part of the US ESTA visa waiver country list.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP), administered by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the State Department, permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. In return, those 38 countries must permit U.S. citizens and nationals to travel to their countries for a similar length of time without a visa for business or tourism purposes.

For more information and a full list of countries see:


Students who are citizens from non-ESTA visa waiver countries must obtain a B1/B2 visa for the US. Please inquire within the international office of the partner school or consulate of the other country for requirements if you plan to travel there.


How do I find accommodations?

Your primary sources are your international peers. Please contact your NSL(s). For Columbia housing see general information here. In the spring, prior to summer travel, students can use the facebook site to post searches and offer sublets. Students in travel group 4 traveling to Columbia University qualify for Columbia short-term housing.


Where can I find funding for travel?

Funding opportunities are limited. Columbia students - Please contact the program to discuss your needs.


What paperwork is needed?

For paperwork at Columbia University please contact your labs.


What is an “ICE buddy”?

Students who are part of the ICE program are expected to socialize with their incoming peers. The NSL(s) will keep a list of local students who will help the incoming travel students to settle into the host city and university (e.g., how to use public transportation, where to find a supermarket, what are the tourist attractions, where to find the laboratory, etc.). Ideally a one-to-one “buddy” ratio is desirable, but a group of students is acceptable.

What is a "national social leader"?

Students who opt not to travel  can serve as host social leader. They will arrange for social activities when the incoming students visit. Each cohort selects one or two leaders that act as point person for the incoming students. The social leader will create a social media contact group and organize after hours and weekend activities. 

I need to change my travel dates. What should I do?

Please contact the program first, then contact your host lab. Do not change your travel dates on your own before contacting the program. 

I want to work in the host country afterwards/later on. Will this be possible?

The ICE program is a student networking and collaboration program. This program is NOT intended as a vehicle to enter the host country for future work opportunities. It is expected that students will return to their home country and serve as a contact for their peers, for future collaboration and global networking. There are other programs that are more suitable for help with immigration and work authorizations. Please do not join this program if the above is your intention, because the success of our program is dependent on a global network.

What is the ICEP summer program?

During the 2020 COVID-10 pandemic the program introduced a novel online summer program. This program is open to all International Collaboration and Exchange Program years and can be used to deepen your international networking during the summer. Details for the summer program change every year. See program details for more information. 


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