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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Time to be an International Student


September 7, 2018
by Goeun

International Life Hacks Living in LA

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I started the Post Professional Master’s program in August, but I came here in LA about one year ago (I was learning English in the USC International Academy). It’s been a while since I came here, but I remember how it was excited when you are admitted to USC, but at the same time, nervous and worried about leaving my own country, and become an international student. So, I’d like to give you some of my tips that can be helpful. Before I begin, I recommend you to be familiar with the USC Office of International Services and the USC Office of Graduate Admission websites as well as our Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy website as there is lots of information for international students.

  1. Finding the best housing
    First of all, we have OT house where our students can live together. Also, there are several options you can choose based on your preference, and the first thing you can think of is “University housing or not?” If you decide to live through university housing, check out the USC housing website to find appropriate housing for you. If you plan to live through non-university, you can find your housing with the USC Daily Trojan website or other outside resources. Also, there are options where you can live if you arrive earlier, the USC Office of International Services has some options for early arrivers. In my own experience, I lived in university housing for 11 months, then I moved to non-university housing recently. What I liked about university housing most was accessibility to campus. I lived close to the International Academy, so I could walk to school. When it comes to non-university housing, I live in Korea town, so I need to take a metro and school shuttle to go to school, but I like living here because I can go to Korean restaurants or markets which I go often. Finding a housing is not an easy process, and it is slightly different depends on where you live.
  2. What should I pack?
    It is hard to say what to pack or not because it is totally up to you. But considering about living in LA, there are some things that you need to know. The weather in LA is mostly sunny and mild, so you may not wear winter clothes often although it’s quite cold at night (for me). Also, never forget to bring all your documents that are important (e.g. academic documents, I-20, health and immunization records).
  3. Living in LA
    Some of my classmates from the Post-Professional Master’s Program told me that one of the reasons they chose USC was the location, which I agree since there are so many things to explore. Yes, our school is located in LA, which means you can have a variety of experiences that you’ve never done in your own country. We have USC event calendar which you can see all the events. Also, you can simply find more information on other websites and explore what you want.
  4. English
    What I felt when I got my IELTS score was that I got enough score, so no need to study harder! However, if you are living in a non-English speaking country, and not used to using English, I do highly recommend you to keep using and practicing English because when it comes to language, even if you got a very high score on exam, when you stop using it, it will become harder to use it as before. Also, you need to adapt to school, lectures as well as new cultures, environments, and if you are comfortable using English, you’ll adapt faster.