How to Find Internship Accommodation in London.
Interning is something that many of us will have forged into our plans as stepping stones to progress in our chosen career paths. It does tend to be a necessary first step to get into some industries but for some that means finding accommodation in a new place. Today I am sharing all the options I have considered whilst looking for my own internship accommodation in the city of London. In one of Britain's most expensive places to live I look for accommodation that is inexpensive, has good proximity and is convenient for my needs as a student and intern.
Hostels tend to be some of the cheapest options for short term stays and you have the option of a private room or a dorm. Personally I have tried hosteling and have had mixed experiences with it. Staying in dorms is super cheap but you can end up with people who aren't as considerate as you are and if you are working everyday you need to make sure you are getting enough of an opportunity to sleep. I have a few stories from sharing a dorm in London but I'll save it for another time, I have however had very good experiences staying in private rooms. It is worth noting that you can only stay in the same hostel for a certain amount of time (28 days) and you do have to pay per night so if you are doing a longer internship it might not be the most affordable option.
Halls of residence
This is one I am yet to try as I haven't interned during the summer months in London. University halls of residence do offer contracts over the summer months that are often very flexible. Their prices vary but some are very reasonable and have bills included which is one less thing to worry about. Halls will also provide cooking and washing facilities, wifi and have 24hour security staff. You can also find female only halls and they often have great proximity to the center of London.
My next stint of interning in London starts in just over a week and on this occasion I have used Airbnb to find accommodation. This is because I will be interning for 2 months and really needed to find something inexpensive due to the fact that I am also paying rent on a flat down at university. This is the first time I will be using this service so I will definitely report back on my experience, however the host I have gone with is verified by Airbnb and has a lot of good reviews so I am feeling optimistic. Airbnb is a website and app that hosts use to advertise rooms or entire apartments that you can rent, and bills and cleaning is included. What really surprised me about this option was the discount that I got for booking into my accommodation for a longer period of time, I got around 400 pounds knocked off what it should have cost.
Private House Shares
Room rentals in private houses may be the cheapest option if you are interning for a longer period of time. I would recommend meeting up with your host and looking at the property beforehand if you can. I have heard that SpareRoom is a good site to use but sites such as Gumtree could also be a good option.
Now this is an option I have only discovered recently and from what I can gather most places only do 12 month contracts, however I do feel inclined to share the co-living option with you because it does sound pretty cool. Co-living spaces are generally buildings with small studios apartments and rooms to rent specifically for working professionals. They often have facilities such as a bar and gym and put on their own events. If you're picturing a kind of inner city hipster commune you're getting the right idea.
I looked into a place called the Collective Old Oak which is London's biggest Co-living, Co-working space and although the rooms do look very small it looks like an exciting option for a year of working in London. It won't be for everyone but it's definitely worth looking into if you want to live somewhere where you will bump into lots of people you could get to know during your stay, and also work and relax onsite if you want to. One thing I would advise based on what I have read about this option is to avoid booking your accommodation through a third party website. As all the negative reviews I have seen are to do with how the company they booked with was unorganised or kind of mismanaged the money side of things.
Home stays are another interesting option to try and are great for anyone who has never visited London and wants to learn what it is really like to live there permanently. Home stays are basically a home away from home, where you stay in a host family's house and you can even opt in to have meals with them and basically you become part of the family for the duration of your stay. I think this option would be really great for people who have never lived in the U.K before because you are likely to be well looked after during your first stay here, however personally I am looking for something that can give me a bit more privacy and space whilst working in the capital. Home stays do sound great for some however and this website looks like a particularly reliable place to organise your home stay with.
My final option that again I haven't tried but think it sounds interesting is housesitting. Housesitting is where someone lets you stay in their house for free in return for looking after their pets, watering their plants or simply just for peace of mind. House sits can vary from a couple of days to an entire year so it is definitely worth looking into this option. The only thing that has stopped me from using this option is that I haven't been flexible enough for the dates that the homeowners have advertised, as they are the ones who dictate when and how long you will be staying in their home for.