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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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Student Blog
Housing and Transportation

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FAQs ⟩
February 26, 2014, by Kate

Housing and Transportation Living in LA School/Life Balance

As more and more students are admitted for the upcoming school year (which begins in June), I am fortunate to be in contact with more and more of them. I feel so lucky to be in the position to connect with the newcomers in our program, the class of 2016, and share my experiences and knowledge with them. I’ve received many questions about housing. “Where should I live?” is a big question I get almost on a daily basis. I always reply with the same answer — it depends on what you’re looking for! That’s one of the best things about Los Angeles: there are many neighborhoods that offer a variety of different things. My classmates live all over the greater Los Angeles area, some as far as Orange County! Many people look for a shorter commute than that, and so Pasadena is a great option. Some people like to be closer to the beach areas, so they look into Brentwood or Santa Monica. It really all depends on what is important to you in a place to live; the best thing is that Los Angeles offers a lot.

Another question I have been receiving frequently is about student life. “What is student life really like?” people have asked. I mention my blogs and those of my fellow ambassadors and I hope prospective students have read our posts. We are 5 very different individuals whose interests and tastes differ. I hope that these blogs give readers a diverse perspective on what it is truly like to be a student in the program, and that the readers can identify with one or some of us. In my opinion, student life is great! I make sure that I have balance in my life, meaning equal time commitments to work/productivity, leisure, rest and self-care. I make time for friends and I make time for my studies. I make time for myself with an hour spent at the gym and an hour each night reading a book for fun. I stay updated on my favorite TV shows (Real Housewives on Bravo). I have two internships this spring and I work as an ambassador representing the Division. I love my life and I’m a really happy graduate student. Of course, there are stressors; but with preparation and dedication, I stick to my routine in how to combat them. There are things I wish I could make more time for (I’d love to cook more!!); but I know that will come. I take things week-by-week and try to not sweat the small stuff.

I hope I have given you a glance into my life as a student and my thoughts about where to live in Los Angeles. Life isn’t shabby as a USC student.


New Digs ⟩
February 7, 2013, by Ricky

Housing and Transportation Living in LA School/Life Balance

Some of you might remember me venting about all the things I had going on last semester. Winter break gave me some time to reassess and consider making a few changes. I concluded that the likely best thing I could do was rent a room nearby campus, just for the last semester. But being the budget-conscious ex-accountant that I am, I was still hesitant . . . up until my first week of classes. After sitting through all 6 classes for the first time, I was like, “oh heavens no. I need to move closer . . . and then I have the comp exam to worry about . . . oh my . . . looks like I’m moving to LA.” All I really needed was a place nearby to lay my head and shower — I planned on going back home on weekends anyway. I came pretty close to renting a couch in someone’s living room — so glad I didn’t. I ended finding a great place down the street from campus, with my own bed and bath for a very affordable price. It’s in “not-the-nicest” area of Los Angeles, but it’s really not so bad for a guy who can hold his own. It’s close, clean, gated, has pretty much all my preferred amenities, and my landlady is great. While I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, I just thought I’d let ya’ll in on the fact that options like this exist. While searching for a place, I looked on Craigslist, asked classmates/friends, and checked for postings around campus. Take note of that last point because the best places I saw came from ads in the med-school buildings across the street from our building. I’ve only been living there for 2 weeks and so-far-so-good. I’ll be sure to give ya’ll an update later down the road. Cheers!


Living in Downtown LA ⟩
January 19, 2012, by Chelsea

Housing and Transportation Living in LA

This year I decided not to live in USC housing and rather live in Downtown, Los Angeles. Although it isn’t as convenient as living on or right off campus, it only takes me 10 minutes to get to either campus and I couldn’t be happier in my apartment! One of the perks of living in Downtown is having so many great food places that I can walk to or that are a quick cab ride away. Some of my favorite restaurants are Bottega Louie, Mignon, and Pattern Bar. At Bottega Louie you can count on everything being delicious. It is Italian-American Cuisine so they have everything from pizza and pasta to burgers and filet mignon. Mignon is a small wine and cheese bar. They also have delicious smoked fish and croquette monsieur. Pattern Bar is in the fashion district, hence the name “Pattern” Bar. I recently tried it for the first time and it has become my favorite location in downtown for tapas, drinks, and ambiance. My favorite dish so far is the Cachapa, which is the owner’s grandmother’s recipe. I would describe it as a sweet corn crepe with Venezuelan cheese in the middle, drizzled with agave nectar, and topped with a sliced strawberry.

Another thing I like about living in downtown is the Peace Yoga studio I go to. Peace Yoga is not just a studio for yoga, it doubles as a raw foods café. In fact, the reason I went to Pattern Bar in the first place was because I met the friendly owner at the Peace Yoga café after class one day and discovered that Pattern bar was right next store. At the Peace Yoga café, Sherri makes the most incredible raw shakes and meals. She gets her ingredients from all around the world: Himalayan rock salt, Madagascar vanilla bean, spices from Bali, etc. Her fresh fruits and vegetables she gets from all the different farmers markets around LA. I love her cacao, coconut and cashew shakes, her raw mango sorbet with strawberry drizzled on top, her flavorful savory sauces for salads or “pasta”, and sometimes I’ll just ask her for a fresh cold coconut to sip on!

I love all of the cultural experiences Downtown LA has to offer such as the monthly Art Walk where hundreds of people walk the streets of downtown and wander into tons of art galleries or stores converted into art galleries that are open late into the night. I love the view from the rooftop area of my building. I love living conviniently close to the 110 freeway. I love the people who live with me and near me. All in all, I guess there aren’t many things I don’t love about living in Downtown!


I Got a Car!!! ⟩
January 18, 2012, by Kimberly

Housing and Transportation Living in LA

Yep, it’s true. And here it is. Little ‘98 Honda Accord. I finally succummed to the pressure of LA and to my class schedule this semester and had to get one. I mean it is possible to use public transit in LA as I have managed for almost 2 years now but there are some places that are a little harder to get to. I will still probably use public transit for close commutes, but for those far-away, spur-of-the-moment happenings, it will be a great asset. So I’m very excited! (And I know that my friends are too, the ones that have been giving me rides . . . thanks guys!) Actually some of them still ask me if I need a lift occasionally. But now I can pick them up instead. So new year, new mode of transit. I’ll keep you posted on all my adventures. Happy Driving!


Moving to LA ⟩
October 10, 2010, by Amanda

Housing and Transportation Living in LA

After graduating from undergrad, I needed to pack-up and move to California. Living in the OT House made sense to me! So I hope that through my student blog you will get an in-depth look at what it is like to be an occupational therapy student here at USC. To start my tour of student life, I’ll start with my experiences during my first summer.

Coming from Maryland, I was leaving my family and friends to see what West Coast life is all about. For those of you worrying about making a move like I did, graduate school is the perfect time to try living somewhere new and it provides great opportunities to meet and befriend others. LA is a big town and the thought of moving there was a little intimidating. What is amazing about coming to USC for school is the living learning experience that is a housing option called the OT House. Besides my great aunt that lives in the area, I was nervous about moving to a place where I knew no one. For this reason, I chose to spend my first year in LA living in the OT House. From our first building meeting, I already met other classmates and even had a ride to school the next day. 😊 Those same friends have since become my California family.

Another great aspect of the OT house is the convenience factor. The two-bedroom apartments come equipped with a full bedroom set (you have your own bedroom), kitchen appliances, sofas, table and chairs. All you really need is your bedding, clothes, school gear, and kitchenware. After recently graduating I only had a few weeks to pull myself together and get out to LA for the June start and there was no way I could move furniture across the country. Living in the OT house meant I had a few things less to worry about. Due to its proximity to the University Park campus, the OT house makes going to classes on the Health Science campus easy. There is a bus that runs between campuses, making driving unnecessary. Also, you are close to all the activities of the University Park campus. Events, performances, Trojan sports, intramurals, you name it and it’s right there for you. As a full time student you have access to the Rec facilities, so your gym is right there too.

Being that the apartment building that hosts the OT House is majority OT students, you have access to study groups always! If you ever need a question answered or clarification on an assignment, your neighbor can most likely help you out. The OT House was always the common meeting point between in house and out of house students and the place for groups to meet when working on group assignments. There is an RA that is an OT student and a USC OT faculty member that lives in the building as well. Basically, choosing to live there gives you instant support in your academic life.

My first experiences in LA were wonderful, many of which I can attribute to being a resident in the OT House. It was there I built my foundation for life in LA and as an occupational therapy student. Below is a picture of the sunset from my apartment in the OT house!

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