Well, I’ve been in Los Angeles for 11 days now, and have had the most fantastic time.
Getting moved in was pretty nerve wracking (just knowing which way to cross the street can be a challenge sometimes!) and it’s taken me a good week to get settled down in a proper routine, but its been worth everything. It is good to be going to class everyday at the same times as that certainly helps you accommodate to a situation easier.
Upon picking up my Bruin Card it opened up a gateway of things for me to do on campus – namely hit the gym! Fitness is key here, especially being a big sporting campus, so the gym is free of charge to use. The only cost is 25c for a locker (14p) which is absolutely nothing. The gym has every machine you could possibly imagine, and often there are queues for them if you go at busier periods.
The campus itself is absolutely beautiful as well. The main ‘quad’ area is surrounded by the older buildings on campus. The photo below is at the top of the ‘Bruin Walk’ (the main street through campus) which takes you between all compass points of the campus and is absolutely beautiful to walk through.
UCLA is in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, one of the wealthier areas (turns into Beverly Hills) sothe surrounding area is beautiful as well.Westwood Village, the ‘town centre’ if you will, has all convenience stores you need, from 24 hour supermarkets to a farmers market every Thursday where you can pick up fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers who grow in the ‘Fruitbowl’ of the United States, as it is known colloquially.
Keen to know the wider area and the American lifestyle outside of Westwood I have booked to go see the Dodgers play a match, as well as a trip to Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Disneyland. After purchasing a ‘Tap Pass’ which allows unlimited rides on a bus, I have also ventured out to Santa Monica (only ten minutes on a bus!) and shopping malls further afield. The Metro Bus goes pretty much all over Los Angeles and is definitely worth buying a pass for to save money.
As I have my own apartment I have had to buy food from the stores and cook for myself, but mostly the food is pretty similar to Britain (although drinks are done by gallons, so a small bottle of milk is absolutely enormous over here!).
Often stores display two prices so if you sign up to one of their member cards, similar to a Tesco Clubcard, they give you the cheaper price displayed. I have found clothes to be far cheaper over here aswell as stuff like makeup, so it is definitely worth buying in bulk and shipping the masses back home so your luggage isn’t overweight when you come home!
I am so glad to have been offered this opportunity to be here. What inspired me to come was to live and learn in a different culture, and Los Angeles certainly offers the diverse culture without the worry of having to learn a new language to live here. Everyone over here is very friendly and cannot do enough to help you. (They love any British accent so use it to your advantage!) Make sure to try and sample life away from the touristy areas so you really get a feel of the culture away from the glitz and glamour of tourist propaganda.