Things I wish I knew before moving to Los Angeles
Hello everyone! It’s good to be back from a much long blog-hiatus. As I have mentioned in my previous blog, things have been moving full-speed. We formally ended our classes a week ago, and guess what my comprehensive exam is tomorrow! eeeek! To calm myself down, I decided to write about something that I’ve been meaning to share with you all for the past few months. I understand that beginning your OT journey half-way across the globe is both an exciting and a stressful experience, believe me I’ve been there! So here are some of the things I wish I knew before the program and moving to L.A.
First of all, let’s talk about all of the resources at your disposal. All these links listed below are the respective USC offices and services that you may find helpful when you are just starting out in Los Angeles.
Office of International Services: offers services regarding immigration counselling, the OIS is also resource center to assist you with various government processes such as filing for a California driver’s license, filing for a SSN/ITN, filing U.S. Taxes etc.
Financial aid: offers variety of resources for international students looking for assistance in financing their education.
Housing: here you can see the selection of housing options available to graduate students.
USC IT Services: here you can activate you USC ID (you need this to access the resources on campus!). Access the wireless network on campus, download available software to help you stay on top of your game during classes.
Eric Cohen Student health center: offers medical services, examination and screening, immunization, and student counseling.
Transportation: extremely useful to find USC tram times, parking passes, and they have useful information to help you navigate the urban jungle that is Los Angeles.
Department of Public Safety: I suggest reading the Safety tips & training section, this houses useful information regarding safety practices and resources that students should be aware of.
Next, I wanted to talk about your personal experiences with occupational therapy. Everyone has an OT story, and USC celebrates that. It is a great privilege to bring your experiences and practice into your classes. Take the time to reflect on your own practice, look at the things that you want to improve and things that you thought worked well. In my experience, often times the concepts I learn in class brings me back to my clinical internship, and professional experience in the Philippines. It provided a great opportunity to stir insight and spark inspiration to help me improve my practice. And if you don’t have experience, that is okay! Keep an open-mind, be like a sponge, and absorb the experiences shared by your classmates and professors. Learning is a two way process, you learn from them, and they learn from you. I know this may all seem intimidating and anxiety inducing, but you know what? Intimidation is good, life is boring without challenges. It is okay to be scared, just don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals. Always reach out to your professors, the division is here to support its students, and don’t forget all the resources mentioned above!
What does everyone else in the post-professional MA Class of 2017 have to say?
Tai-wei Lee: Mentally and physically prepare to study in a perfect school! The class load might be a bit tough.
Bella Hsieh: Don’t forget to bring/buy sunglasses, it gets hot in Los Angeles!
Jayshree Nagvekar: Save your money, loads of great things to do on the way
Shikha Kamdar: Save your money to spend it on Black Friday…the clothes will last almost till your spring semester
Nikita Sunny: Get an umbrella! People say it doesn’t rain in LA but it rained this year!
Kathryna Gomez: They say [to bring] just a light jacket but I was freezing during winter.
Rucha Naik: It will be great to buy winter clothes from here. [the] Jacket I carried from India couldn’t keep me warm enough in this cold
Francis Co: Ralphs card
Kathryna Gomez: get all those cards, they help a lot Vons, Ralphs, Seafood Market, CVS etc.
Sujin Kim: kepp in mind the extra expenses that you might have during school year (educational evaluation, NBCOT, graduation etc.) so that you can plan your finances better
Chaitali Sutradhar: Get at least a year of full-time clinical experience (not as a student)!
Raisa Fernan: Familiarize yourself with your personal devices! Learn to maneuver pdf readers, applications for note-taking, learn email etiquette, digital organization and the like. Keep copies of your personal documents, digital or print copies! Use apps like google maps, citymapper, uber, lyft to help you get around Los Angeles.
I will not lie, you will get homesick. You will find healthy ways to cope, whether it be a new support system or even exploring a new hobby. Internet connection is amazing, so take advantage of the technology and resources at our disposal. It’s not going to be easy, but I promise you it is going to be worth it. Lastly,