If you are reading this post, I imagine it is because you are going to be utilizing North Carolina AHEC. If you don’t know what NC AHEC is, then this post may not be for you. AHEC stands for Area Health Education Centers. AHEC has many different components to help healthcare professionals. One of the services they offer is subsidized housing for students participating in internships around the state. This allows schools within the state to send students places they could not if there were not affordable options for housing.
After completing a survey, I was randomly placed at my internship site in Elizabeth City in Eastern North Carolina. Elizabeth City is about 4 hours from where I live in Chapel Hill, so I knew I would need to utilize AHEC housing. After receiving this information I applied for AHEC housing. I applied for housing in December or January for housing in May and June. It took a long while for myself and others within Eastern North Carolina to get placed. Some classmates in other regions were placed much earlier, and so I stressed a bit about what my housing would look like if they did not have a place for me. Luckily they did, it just took them a bit longer to get me all the information.
After reaching out to the Eastern AHEC representatives in April, I received information about my housing in Edenton. Edenton is a small town in North Carolina and it is about 35-40 minutes from Elizabeth City. To this day, I am still a bit confused as to why they placed me here instead of Elizabeth City, but I have made it work. And now I know, I don’t ever want to commute this long for work ever again. But anyway, a few weeks before my summer experience started I got the information how to get into the housing unit, and the rules set forth by AHEC.
I have had a great experience with AHEC housing, other than it being farther than I had hoped from my job site. The place is fully furnished, with an in unit washer and dryer. The unit also comes with dishes and basic cookware. Everything else including sheets, paper products, non-basic cooking gadgets are the students responsibility to bring. With regards to cleaning the unit is cleaned by a cleaning crew twice a month. I imagine this is the same for all AHEC housing, but that the schedule may differ depending on how many students they house or how long students stay in each unit. Because the cleaning crew came during normal business hours, I could tell they had come by, but never saw them myself.
For the most part my experience in AHEC was great! I had no problems on the day I arrived even though they use a bluetooth keypad that I’ve never seen before. The neighborhood the unit is placed in is so quiet with little traffic on the road. It seems like a safe place and all the neighbors wave if they are outside and they see you. And although I know this probably won’t happen in every AHEC location, one of the neighbors insisted she buy myself and my roommate dinner. She was too sweet and said she enjoyed having the students close by. Of course then I had to go into my whole Celiac Disease spiel, but she bought me a delicious salad and I did not get sick after. It was a nice gesture and I will always remember her because of it.
During my stay I had two problems, one of which I did reach out to my AHEC contact, and the other I knew they could not do much about. One day I came back to the unit and went to wash my hands and noticed that the water wasn’t working in the bathroom sink. So I went to the kitchen to try that sink, it also was not working. I had not been informed of a scheduled water outages so I was concerned. I then emailed my contact and within an hour I received a reply with a phone number to call to give more details. I used that number to tell my contact what was happening and they said they would find out what was happening and report back to me. It turns out the water had been turned off to do some work in the neighborhood and nobody was informed beforehand. After a few hours the water was back on and I had no problems after that. I was happy with the quick response time of the AHEC contact and that I was continually updated until the problem was fixed.
The other problem I experienced while in the unit was a power outage due to a thunderstorm. At this point I had been staying in the unit for a little over a week and my roommate had not checked in yet. I could hear the storm outside, but I truly did not expect the power to go out. I was getting ready for bed, and then it went dark. And not going to lie, I was a bit freaked out as it was so dark. I turned on my phone flashlight and found a few flashlights in the laundry room. Because it seemed like it was a power outage due to the storm, and being later at night I knew nobody could do much to help me. So I calmed myself down a bit reminded myself that I was in a good neighborhood and finished my bedtime routine as best as possible and went to bed. The power ended up being out for only about an hour and I only know that because when it came back on I woke up from the flash of the lights on the internet box. Also, I should probably know what the internet box is called, but I’m just going to stick with internet box.
So those were kind of the big problems I had while in my AHEC housing. There were some other minor inconveniences, but I don’t want to complain too much as it is subsidized housing and I only had to deal with them for six weeks. Sometimes we have to deal with minor inconveniences to get to where we want to be. Despite these minor inconveniences, the unit was very livable, all the utilities worked even if they weren’t at there peak. Like I mentioned before, when there was a big issue I was able to contact an AHEC representative and get it resolved quickly and easily.
Overall I had a great experience using AHEC housing. I appreciated that I could go to a part of the state I was unfamiliar with and did not have to look for a short-term apartment or stay in a hotel for an extended amount of time. The unit I stayed in was an older unit, but it had a lot of space and worked well for me. If you are studying to become a healthcare professional in the state of North Carolina and are placed in a rotation far from your home, AHEC is a good option. Reach out to whomever you work with for your rotations to see if you are eligible for AHEC housing.