The Horribly Terrifying but Ultimately Successful Search for Housing

Maria's picture

I had been warned and I confirmed it: looking for accommodation is the one nightmare that foreign students will have to face before they can settle into the otherwise wonderfully student-friendly city of London.

Fortunately, I had friends in London that came to the rescue after I called for help. A couple of months before my arrival, my friends showered my inbox with e-mails full of invaluable advice on how to make the most of my housing search, even from the United States. There I submitted online applications to LSE residence halls as well as International Students House (ISH), a private residence hall for university students. When LSE rejected my application and ISH put me on a wait list, I was thrown against my will into the world of letting agents and websites of available rents.

This is when my friends’ advice came in handy. Some of them had moved several times within London and knew what websites offered reliable lists. They recommended I first check my institution’s housing database, as often times universities have agreements with agents that offer them cheaper, student-friendly properties. I had carefully designed a budget for my time in London, which guided my search for locations. Soon I discovered that the pricey real estate in London meant that with my budget I would have to live somewhat far from the center if I wanted a studio flat in a safe area with good links to public transportation. Sharing a house or apartment with other people was a cheaper and popular option among students, but I was willing to sacrifice some money for the benefit of privacy.

While I was still in the United States, I arranged appointments with letting agents for my first week in the UK. Upon my arrival, however, I decided to check with ISH in person just in case. It turns out that a little bit of luck and personal initiative can go great lengths. When I met with the ISH Dean, I was offered a vacant room and I immediately accepted it. I could not believe I would spend a year in this beautiful student residence full of international students in the heart of London.




Maria is a guest blogger for Foreign Students. She posts regular updates of her experiences as a postgraduate student at LSE in London. Click here to see her older posts.   

Share with friends