Frequently Asked Questions

What if there's an emergency?

If there is an emergency, you can contact the Ithaca College London Center's (ICLC) emergency mobile phone by dialing 011-44-7496-924-769 or you can send an email to iclondoncenter@ithaca.edu. You can also get in touch with the Office of International Programs in Ithaca, NY at 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.'

How do I contact my son or daughter?

If your son or daughter has a personal mobile phone and you are unable to get in touch, you may call the ICLC by dialing 011-44-207-244-4800. Staff members are available to speak with you on Mondays from 9.00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday - Fridays from 9.00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. If it is an emergency, please reference the emergency contact details above.

What if I want to send something to my son or daughter?

If you would like to send a care package or letter to your child, it is probably best to send it to the ICLC 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 the item in the following manner:

The student's name
c/o Ithaca College
35 Harrington Gardens
London, SW7 4JU, U.K.

If you're sending 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 U.K. receiving end, students can come to a member of staff for advice.

What are potential additional expenses?

Aside from the tuition, airfare and housing costs, there may be some additional expenses that your child will encounter for items 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 others are a bit more laissez-faire about it.

It's good to be aware the ICLC runs College sponsored trips throughout the semester. Although these trips are College trips, there is still a cost to participate. We do our very best to keep the costs low so all students who wish to participate are able to, but some students may find the costs too high for their planned budget. We encourage all students to speak to a member of the 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.

What is the best way to ensure my child has access to enough funds?

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 you can get money to them. You can transfer funds to a bank account in the U.S. that he or she is able to withdraw money from in London; you can make a prepayment on a credit card that your student has in his or her possession so that it has a credit balance; 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 favored methods.

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What happens during the first week after my student arrives in London and what are the details about the group hotel and flat hunting?

This topic is what parents are most concerned about: The hunt for housing and will their child be thrown out into the cold if they don't find housing during their first week in London? The simple answer is, no...

The first week is admittedly stressful and tiring for students, but students say over and over again that it was well worth the trouble. The skills they build by negotiating leases, managing budgets, and learning to navigate their way through the city on the public transport system will be invaluable to them and will use them for the rest of their lives. This first week will build confidence, shape their character, and is a great way to orient them to the city they will be living in for the next four months.

When students arrive on the Monday morning group flight (unless they are going on the fall semester pre-term Edinburgh trip), they are met at the airport by ICLC staff and brought to the group hotel, located in South Kensington, by motorcoach transfer. Depending on the time of day, they may be allowed to check into their hotel rooms. Students are then briefly oriented to the area and on issues related to safety and security, what they should do in emergency situations, and are given preliminary flat search information. The housing process starts in earnest after that.

The London Center is located just a block or two from the group hotel at 35 Harrington Gardens. Students are are asked to stop by frequently during the first week so they can take advantage of the information we have to offer for their housing search. 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 available staff to answer questions that might arise. Although flat mates arrange property viewings on their own, the London Center staff are more than happy to discuss options and look over leases if asked.

As the week moves on, groups continue to secure housing, 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 help figure out options. Longer stays at the hotel can be negotiated; hostels and other hotels are also options.

Throughout the week, there will be other scheduled orientation sessions that cover internship placements, the work-study program, local tours of the surrounding area, U.K. safety and laws with local Metropolitan Police. When students attend these sessions, it helps staff members to touch base with students and assess their housing situations.

We understand that there is a lot of pressure placed on students when they're searching for housing and will always do what we can to assist, but we still believe that this is a great learning opportunity for students. Our students in hindsight confirm that the "flat hunt" was, indeed, a positive experience.

*Please note that although the ICLC will give lists of estate agents and private landlords to students, we do not endorse or recommend any landlord in particular. All agreements are done solely between the students and the landlord.

How does the student insurance plan work?

Because students will be living in the U.K. for less than 6 month they are not entitled to utilize the free National Health System. To ensure that students have adequate insurance coverage during their time in London, all students are automatically enrolled in the mandatory Ithaca College Study Abroad Health Insurance Plan. Students will be given information about the plan in the pre-departure orientation sessions on home campus and should register with the company before leaving the States. They are instructed to keep their insurance ID card with them while in the U.K. in case they need to use the health system. It's a good idea for you to know your child's username, password, and insurance plan number so you can help them find the services they may need while studying abroad. The ICLC staff are also available should students have questions about health service locations, medical terminology, and local doctors.

Can you explain the immigration system and the visas again?

There are two immigration paths for most Ithaca College students to choose from when they are planning to study for a semester in the U.K. One path requires our students to obtain a visa prior to arrival. The second path requires only a valid U.S. passport to enter. (Note: These two immigration options are offered to most American citizens and may vary according to an individual's citizenship). This link will help you to understanding the two available options and will also help you and your child decide whether he or she will need to acquire a visa for their semester in London.

My child needs to obtain a visa, how can I support him or her?

The visa application process can be confusing for students to navigate. There is the 28 day waiting period during which the student must hold the USD equivalent of £5,060 (convert at www.oanda.com) before being eligible to apply for their visa. This means that the balance in the account CANNOT fall below £5,060 for 28 consecutive days (so the average balance during the period is irrelevant). In addition, the type of account must be one that allows students instant access to the money in the account. Savings and checking accounts work best for this requirement; stocks and bonds and retirement accounts cannot be used. The bank account can either be in the student's name, in the parent/guardian's name, or a joint account in the student's name and the parent/guardian's name. If it is in the parent or guardian's name, the student must also supply an official copy of their birth certificate or a court order showing their 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 a time consuming task, it is costly, and it requires patience. If parents and guardians can help their students gather the required documentation, it may help ease the process a bit. Templates that will help students to complete the applications properly will be made available in the pre-departure orientation sessions on home campus. You may also want to review the information to familiarize yourself with the process before starting. Again, the staff at the ICLC is always happy to answer questions from students and parents about the visa process. We can be contacted at iclondoncenter@ithaca.edu.

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