The International Living Center (ILC) is not just a place to live.  It's a thriving community of residents from around the world living and learning together.  A small community with only 150 students, the ILC offers a unique chance to live in an undergraduate apartment community made up of a mix of US and International students. It was founded on the belief that the best way to form intercultural friendship and to foster international understanding, is through working, living, studying, and socializing with people from different backgrounds.  And that is true.  With so many residents being a long way from home, a strong community is formed very quickly, with many residents developing life-long friendships.  To that end, the ILC works to organize many special events designed to create a global community among residents and to help new international exchange students and international students adapt to living in the United States.     

To hear from some former ILC residents about why they think the ILC is so great, please watch the ILC video


ILC Selection Process

The strength and vitality of the International Living Center community is based on consistent participation by all ILC residents.  You'll get out of the ILC exactly what you put into it.  If you are willing to attend programs, learn about and appreciate other cultures, and generally be a part of the community - then you are in for a great time with some amazing people.  

ILC Residents will be selected based on their willingness to commit to the following:

  • Sharing their culture with others

  • Understanding, appreciating, and respecting the values, cultures and differences of others

  • Actively participating in an ILC club/organization

  • Attending ILC and College Nine sponsored events

  • Willingness to learn about other cultures and a passion to spread this knowledge throughout your community

  • Excited to build upon a thriving community by bringing your own knowledge and energy into the space

students sitting outside of a welcome to UCSC sign.


ILC Application Process

Whether you have been dreaming about living at the ILC since your first campus tour, or if you only just learned the place existed last week, there are a few things you should know about living in the ILC:

  • First, living at the ILC can be quite competitive: we often have more applications than we have spaces and the ILC usually has a waitlist of students looking for spaces.  

  • Second, preference is also given to students who will be in their third or fourth year. You can still apply if you are going to be in your second year, and we have many second-year students living at the ILC, but the process is a bit more competitive for you.  

  • Third, the ILC is an ever-changing community, meaning that we will be gaining and losing students at several points during the academic year.  This means that if you are interested in joining the ILC at the start of winter quarter, you can do that!  

You apply for the ILC through the housing application on the housing website.  This supplemental application is attached to your housing application, which asks you about what you are looking for in housing as well as what you might look for in roommates.  While filling out the form, you will be asked if you are interested in living at the ILC.  Once you indicate that you strongly prefer the ILC, you will be given a few questions at the end of your application specific to the ILC.  This includes questions about you, where you are from, and what your interests are.

An Info Session is usually held at the start of spring quarter where you can find out more information about living in the ILC and talk to the ILC staff.  You can also email the ILC staff at any time to talk to them about your specific questions at

ILC buildings


ILC Amenities, Apartments, and Features

The International Living Center features two apartment buildings located in a redwood grove behind the College Nine and John R. Lewis College Academic Buildings.   There are numerous hiking trails directly behind the ILC, as well as easy access to community spaces, study lounges, computer rooms, academic buildings, and transportation.

In the ILC there are six-person apartments with a communal kitchen, living room, storage room, and bathroom, and comes with either a balcony or a patio space.  These apartments come in three forms:  there are apartments with four bedrooms ( two single rooms and two small double rooms), apartments with three bedrooms (one single room, one small double room, and one large triple rooms), and apartments with two bedrooms (two large triple rooms).  Each apartment is furnished with appliances and furniture.

You can access the official university suggestions on what to bring on the housing website, however current residents recommend you bring: Kitchen Items, as none of the kitchens are equipped with utensils or cookery; Extra Long Twin Sheets, as the beds are long twin beds and need sheets made to fit a 6'6" mattress; and 'Creature Comforts', as in things to make your room feel more homey, like posters, photographs, mementos, etc.

For those of you traveling to UCSC by plane, we know that you might not be able to bring all these items listed and so every year, ILC residents leave donated items behind so that future ILC residents can use them!  You will have access to these donated items at move-in.  And if you don't see what you need there, the ILC will be taking trips to local stores so that you can purchase items that you don't have room for!

a group of ILC students with carved pumpkins.

ILC Programs, Events, Trips, and Offerings

At the ILC, we offer a wide variety of programs and events, designed so that there is something for everyone. The purpose of these activities is to help create the social community of the ILC as well as have a lot of fun in the process! These activities may or may not be available to those living outside the ILC. Some of these activities include a week-long orientation in fall quarter, off-campus trips to sights and attractions around California, fun social events, a weekly current-event discussion group, and a 2-unit course on intercultural understanding.  Our most popular activity is our Culture Nights where, residents share their culture, food, and homeland with the ILC.  

In past years, ILC residents have been served a four-course Italian Dinner prepared by our visiting students, attended an American college football game, learned how to BBQ Australian style, practiced making Japanese origami, carved pumpkins and hosted a trick-or-treating program for neighborhood children, debated the global impact of changes in us government, took the ILC's 2-unit course on Intercultural Understanding, went Kayaking in Monterrey Bay, sang Karaoke songs in 18 languages, learned the differences between West African Countries, learned to surf, and got an insider's view on Columbia's political history.  The opportunities change each year based on student interest, but the possibilities are endless!

Students in the ILC Class
If you are interested in learning more about the ILC, you can come by and visit our community of reach out to us at