Since 1972 students have found their own housing during their first week in London by participating in the 'Flat Hunt'.

Finding a Flat

Every semester since the London Center first opened in 1972, students arrive in London, tired but excited to begin their upcoming semester abroad - but first, they must find a place to live. Although the Ithaca College London Center does not provide housing for fall and spring students, the staff offers support and guidance to students to ensure that they find appropriate accommodations before the start of the semester. Students spend the first few nights in a hotel while looking for possible housing options along with their flatmates. The London Center staff has experience helping students find accommodations and will provide lists of landlords and letting agents (i.e. housing providers) used by previous students. 

Students come to find that securing a flat upon arrival in London is the cheapest housing option, but they should be prepared to commute as housing in zone 2 (and beyond) is less expensive than housing closer to the Center. Apart from keeping costs down, another advantage of taking part in the 'Flat Hunt' is that students have the opportunity to see different parts of the city and immerse themselves in British culture. Some providers may also have slightly cheaper accommodation in less central areas of London. 

Pre-Arranged Housing

Students may also choose to arrange housing before leaving the U.S. Those who do so should have at least 4 to 6 flatmates and contact housing agents as soon as possible. The advantage of arranging housing before arriving in the U.K. is that the cost of the 5-night hotel can be saved. One disadvantage is not being able to see/inspect the accommodation in-person. If this sounds like a viable option for you, get in touch with the London Center staff at iclondoncenter@ithaca.edu who will send you a list of providers that you may wish to contact before arriving.  


Although the vast majority of students choose to rent flats during their time in London, some choose to use homestays. It is important to note that there is a cost associated with homestays, which can be more expensive than the rental of a flat, but homestays also come with some advantages. Students find that the primary benefit of selecting a homestay is that they experience a greater degree of immersion into British society. In addition, as most homestays tend to be located in the outer London boroughs, students are also compelled to explore more of the city. If you would like to learn more about homestay options in London, do not hesitate to reach out to the London Center staff at iclondoncenter@ithaca.edu.

What You Can Do Now to Prepare

  • Consider which of the above options suits you best.
  • Create a realistic budget.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate at oanda.com.
  • If you decide that renting a flat is the best option for you, start thinking about possible flatmates. How many?  Who?
  • What are your expectations? What points are you willing to negotiate? Keep in mind that this is only for 4 months, and is a place to lay your head, but ideally not spend all your time.
  • Start to learn about the different areas of London.  You can do so by looking at maps, reading books, and looking through the web. 
  • Check out the tube map to get an idea of what journeys might be like. Keep in mind, however, that it doesn't represent the street layout so it might be quicker to walk or ride the bus than to take the tube on some trips.
  • Thoroughly read (and then re-read) the ICLC emails about housing.