Being still in the United States, there are less challenges than what other countries might present. Nevertheless, Los Angeles is an extremely vibrant city with tons to do around lots of people. The biggest challenge is trying to estimate the utter size of this city. Anaheim and Santa Monica feel two New York Cities a part because of a one to two hour commute. LA is full of freeways that border the city and help the large amount of cars that transport people who cannot rely on public transportation. This reliance is what causes the massive traffic jams in any direction because there is unfortunately no escaping bumper-to-bumper. But with time, I have started to get used to this obstacle and be more aware of it before making any long-distance plans.
In addition to traffic, another unfortunate issue is the large homeless population. California has the highest population of homeless people in the country and there is a total of 80,000 living in Los Angeles. It is such a tragic thing to witness everyday. Santa Monica deals with it on almost every major block. We have all learned to be extremely aware of our surroundings and especially during the night time. Since we don’t have cars, it requires us to walk everywhere and into spaces where homeless people live. It has been certainly scary at times, but luckily none of us have had any bad interactions.
These two challenges have certainly been the biggest during our time here. I think it all boils down to being aware of your situation and always be on the side of caution. This is the second biggest city in the United States with a melting pot of so many diverse people all living in one area. It is important to keep in mind that reality when doing activities on the day to day. I would recommend other students to take full advantage of what the city has to offer.
There are challenges in every city and that remains the same for whatever we do, whenever. Making sure to balance time with work and doing your own activities is important so that you can make the most out of this experience! I have felt at moments burnt out because of the balance between my internship during the day and class at night, but even with the challenges, LA still has so many benefits from studio tours to sunsets on the Pacific!