Frequently Asked Questions
- What if there's an emergency?
- How do I contact my son or daughter?
- What if I want to send something to my son or daughter?
- What are potential additional costs?
- What is the best way of making sure my child has enough funds?
- What happens during the first week and what about the hotel?
- How does the student insurance plan work?
- Can you explain the immigration system and the visas again?
- My child needs to obtain a visa, how can I support him or her?
If there is an emergency, you can contact the Ithaca College London Center's emergency mobile phone by dialing 011-44-7850-059-626 or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get in touch with the Office of International Programs in Ithaca, NY at 1-607-274-3306. Please bear in mind that if you contact London first, it may be possible to get you the information you need faster as we are 'on the ground.'
If your son or daughter has a personal mobile phone and you are unable to get in touch with him or her, you can call the IC London Center by dialing 011-44-207-244-4800. Staff members are available to speak with you Monday - Friday 8.30am - 5.00pm (GMT) who will take a message and pass it along to your child. At other Center opening times, you can call the Center and speak with a work study student. If it is an emergency, please see the contact details above.
If you would like to send a care package or letter to your child, it is probably best to send it to the Ithaca College London Center for him or her to collect as someone is always here to sign for it when it arrives. Students have mailboxes in the building that post and messages are delivered to. Address it to: Your Child, c/o Ithaca College, 35 Harrington Gardens, London, SW7 4JU, UK. If it's a package, you'll need to complete a customs form which you'll get at the post office or through your courier company. Be sure to write used "personal goods" or mark it as a gift in order to avoid customs charges. Your child may still be charged import taxes if the value of the package is over $50. Should there be any problem on the UK receiving end, students can come to a member of staff for advice.
Aside from the tuition, air fare and housing costs, there may be some additional expenses that your child will encounter such as books, food, entertainment, travel (both ICLC sponsored and personal) and mobile phone costs. All of these costs are flexible and depend on your child's spending habits. Some students are great at making a budget and sticking to it, and some are a bit more laissez faire about it. The ICLC runs College sponsored trips throughout the semester. Although they are College trips, there is still a cost to participate in them. We do our very best to keep the costs down so that all students who wish to can participate, but some students may find the costs too high for their budget. We encourage all students to come and speak to a member of staff if they have any worries when it comes to budgeting and financial matters. Click here for an idea of estimated costs for the term.
Check here for the information given to students regarding banking while abroad. If you find that your son or daughter is running low on funds and you'd like to help them out, there are a number of ways of doing this. You can transfer funds to the bank account in the US that he or she is withdrawing from, you can prepay on a credit card that he or she has in his or her possession so that it has a credit balence, or you can wire money by using a reputable company. There are other ways of getting money to your child but these tend to be the most favored methods.
This is probably one thing that parents are most concerned about. Will their child be thrown out into the cold if they don't find housing in the first week? The simple answer is, no...
The first week is admittedly stressful and tiring for students, but also one which students time and time again say was worth it. The skills they learn by negotiating leases and budgets and navigating their way through the city on the public transport system will stay with them the rest of their lives and is a great way to get to know the city they will be living in for the next four months.
When students arrive on Tuesday morning (unless they are going on the fall semester pre-term Edinburgh trip), they are collected from the airport by Ithaca College London Center staff and brought back to the Center in South Kensington. Depending on the time of day, they are allowed to check into their hotel rooms. Students are then told to be at the Center at a designated time for a brief orientation and welcome to London session. The housing process starts in earnest after that.
At the ICLC, there is at least one room dedicated to housing with maps, listings of estate agents that will do short lets, private landlord listings, examples of leases, notice boards for students either looking for roommates or groups that need any extra people and staff around to answer whatever questions may arise. Students call agents and arrange property viewings on their own but staff are more than happy to discuss options and look over leases if asked.
Each morning, a staff member will normally go to the hotel to see how groups are getting on. (We consistently monitor the creation and reformation of housing groups.) As the week moves on, more and more groups are housed, but it is not uncommon for some students not to have found a place by Friday. If by some small chance students do not have housing by the end of the stay in the hotel, staff will work with students to decide their options. Longer stays at the hotel can be negotiated, hostels and other hotels are also options.
Throughout the week, there are other orientation sessions happening such as internships and work study, local tours of the surrounding area, a brief session on UK safety and laws with local Metropolitan Police and there is a full London orientation on Thursday night. On Wednesday, a social is held to allow students to stop by in a more informal session, but is also a way for staff members to touch base and assess the situation.
We at the ICLC understand that there is enormous pressure on students and will do what we can to assist, but we still believe that this is a great opportunity for students and are consistently told so by them at the end of the term.
*Please note that although the ICLC will give lists of estate agents and private landlords to students, we do not endorse or recommend any one in particular. All agreements are done solely between the students and the landlord.
As students will be living in the UK for less than 6 months, they are not entitled to the free National Health System. All students have been enrolled in the mandatory Ithaca College Study Abroad Health Insurance Plan. Students should register with the company before they leave for the UK and will be issued with a certificate number. They should keep this number, and the ID card they will receive, with them while they are in the UK in case they need to use the health system. It may be a good idea for you to know your child's password and ID so you can help them find the services they need. Ithaca College London Center staff are available should students have questions about locations, terminology and doctors.
There are two immigration paths for students to enter the UK, one requires obtaining a visa prior to arrival, and the other does not. This link should give you a clearer idea of the options and help you and your child decide whether or not he or she will need to acquire a visa.
The most time consuming part of the visa application process is the 28 day waiting period during which the student must hold the USD equivalent of £3,200 (convert at www.oanda.com). This means that the balance in the account CANNOT fall below £3,200 for 28 consecutive days (so the average balance during the period is irrelevant). The type of account must be one that allows instant access to the money in it. Savings and checking accounts work best; stocks and bonds cannot be used. The bank account can either be in the student's name or the parent/guardian's name. If it is in the parent or guardian's name, the student must also supply an official copy of his or her birth certificate or a court order showing his or her relationship to the account holder. The student must also provide a letter of support from the account holder giving written consent that the student may access the money in that account. If the account is jointly in the names of the student and the parent/guardian, no proof of relationship or letter of support is required.
Applying for a Tier 4 student visa can be arduous - it is time consuming, can be costly and requires organization. If parents and guardians can help their students gather the required documents, that may help smooth the process. Templates to assist filling out the applications will be emailed to the students. You may also want to read them over so that you can familiarize yourself with the process. We are happy to field questions from students and parents at the ICLC via email@example.com.