What's life in LA like? Is it safe?

I'm an international student from overseas, I got admitted to a school in LA! Very excited and happy, but I've heard so many stories about the crime rate, the gangs, shootings, etc. Frankly speaking, it's kinda freaking me out a little. Grew up in a country with a very low crime rate, so it's kind of unusual to me. What are some tips you'd give to a 17 year old coming all alone for a few years? What's the lifestyle like? And the people? Would I be able to make some good friends out there? Are people foreigner-friendly? The more information you people give, the better. I'll be very very thankful! Thank you!

4 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    If your going to a school the best thing would be to contact someone from your country who is a student as well. In example: at university of Idaho there was an indian student association. The Vice President of the association would email new comers and help them find apartments and set up bank accounts, getting drivers licenses , etc. if there is an association of students from your country speak to them. On campus living is convenient , but in many cases extremely expensive!!! Generally, it's cheaper to live off campus with roommates. People in the USA are decent to foreigners, but the best advice I can give is to be careful and not go out alone at night. Day time is fine. If your driving there might be more lead way to go out at night. Be careful to stay in well lit areas at night. If you're a woman it might be worth it to take a self defense class. They're easy and it might make you feel more secure. Get some pepper spray in California if there is a chance you'll be going out at night. You'll probably be safe, but these are easy things to do that will increase your likelihood of being fine. Don't leave valuables anywhere ( except in your locked bedroom in your apartment, or in a locker, or in the trunk of a car.) roomates sometimes steal, so don't bring anything too expensive, unless you'll have means to lock it up. If your bedroom door doesn't have a lock get one. I haven't had too many problems with roommates, but it's better safe than sorry. Don't carry large amounts of cash on your person. And if you ever are mugged, make sure to cancel all debit and credit cards promptly. Do not carry social security card on your person. Lock it up and hide it somewhere very secure. You'll be fine, go out as much as you like during day time. But ask a friend to go with you at night if you must go.if you get a car always leave it locked.remember to keep apartment door locked.

  • 7 years ago

    It's not like on movies at all. It's a normal city and isn't super glamorous like many people think! I lived in pasadena, LA for a while and a lot of people there were upperclass and snobby. It was a nice place though. There are a lot of ghetto areas that are frankly, quite scary. But the good areas out-weigh the bad for sure. Being from New Zealand, I was scared to move to such a big city but I made great friends and for in easily.

  • 7 years ago

    For a number of reasons, we get a bunch of questions asking what it’s really like in SoCal.

    First of all, I'll tell you what it's NOT like: It's not like anything on TV. People watch shows on TV and think that’s what it’s like out here. The “Real OC”, Newport Beach, The Hills, etc. Ever wonder why people in those shows never have to pay bills, do laundry, and are NEVER stuck in traffic? Because it’s FAKE. And the news doesn’t help either, since they know that sex and sensationalism sells. News flash: There aren’t running gun battles in the street. There aren’t shootouts every day. Also, you don’t see celebrities just walking down the street, all glammed up, or sipping a cappuccino at Starbucks waiting to sign autographs. We don't go surfing during lunch hour.

    Some sections are REALLY nice, others are “ghetto”. Too many people have this vision in their head that LA and Orange County are one or the other (either Beverly Hills or Compton). They either think it is a fairy tale fantasy or an apocalyptic ghetto. In fact, most of it is working class and middle class stiffs working to pay the bills. Like me.

    The variety of food here is incredible. New Yorkers come here and complain that the pizza is terrible (it’s not as good as NY Pizza), but the Mexican food is GREAT here. That more than makes up for it.

    The weather here is incredible. 340+ days of sunshine makes up for a lot of traffic.

    You NEED a car to live in Southern California. We don’t have an effective public transportation like New York or San Francisco. One reason is that LA is larger in area than either of those, without a central hub. Hollywood is 8 miles north of downtown, and 38 miles north of Disneyland. Average commute is 20-30 miles..

    The freeway traffic is probably the worst thing about living here. The 405 is the worst. Know why they call it the 405? Because you go 4 o' 5 miles per hour, and it takes 4 o' 5 hours to get where you're going. Freeway Traffic is bad from 6-10 AM and bad from 3-7 PM. I don't know why they call it rush hour. It's more than an hour, and nobody's rushing, that's for sure.

    The gangs are the cause of many rumors. Keep in mind that there are gangs in any large town, in every part of the country. In LA, the gangs aren't really downtown, they are in South LA, East LA, and north Long Beach. And here's the deal: Mostly, they just kill each other.

    Gas is expensive in California. It’s about 20-30 cents above the national average.

    Yes, gas and real estate are very expensive in SoCal. However, this would be the best time to BUY a house because it's a buyer's market right now. There are a lot of foreclosures, and too many houses on the market. If you want to rent, figure on $1200 per month for a 1BR in a decent neighborhood. You need to make about $30,000 per year in order to do that. You can't do it on minimum wage.

    Yep, freeways are a drag, it's smoggy in summer, and expensive to live here. Yet, if it's so bad, why do we have thousands and thousands of people moving here? Weather, year-round activities, jobs, beaches, mountains, and deserts all within driving distance, and plenty of opportunity for those who have the skills and tenacity.

    However, it is not for everyone. Every time someone posts this question, you get the LA haters who post their bile and venom. A lot of them don’t know what they are talking about. Some people never even visit, and hate it on principle and stereotypes. Some actually visited once, and found out it wasn’t like it was on TV, and it certainly wasn’t Mayberry. And some actually lived here, and couldn’t deal with the expense, the traffic, or the somewhat impersonal nature of living in a large metropolis. It’s just the lifestyle here: People want their own private space. It’s sort of “you do your thing, I’ll do mine”. To those hateful souls I would say “good luck” to you wherever you are, but please don’t spew your hatred in this forum.

    To summarize, it’s a HUGE metropolis that really defies easy description. I live in one of the nicer suburbs, but the commute is no fun, often 1-2 hours each way each day. However, 340+ days of sunshine really helps. Yeah, it's expensive. Mrs. Obviousman and I both have to work to pay the mortgage. But is it worth it? Absolutely!

  • John
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    LA is safe if you know where not to go. Vaguely, East LA, South Central LA, and many many other places.

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