Moving into my FINAL student house this week I can’t help but notice the stark contrast between living here, in a damp house in Portswood, and the glam apartment in LA I’d been subletting throughout the summer.
Since I was a kid I’ve had a pretty strong ‘American Dream Complex’. So when the opportunity arose for me to intern in LA for 3 months I instantly knew it would be a great way to test if I could one day move out there.
Although I had always envisioned myself living in Beverly Hills with a 90210 zip code, Venice Beach was just a 10 minute walk to my office meaning I didn’t have to adjust to driving on the other side of the road. It was the perfect fit
The three months I spent across the pond were definitely a learning curve. I’ve come up with some top tips on how to survive when you’re 5,000 miles away from home.
1.Get Tax Savvy
The prices you see on signs are not what you end up paying! Literally everything is +tax. Although as a marketing student I can appreciate the use of psychological pricing, it’s still super annoying!
2. Make Uber your best friend
LA has a really rubbish public transportation system. Uberpool is therefore ideal as it’s a fixed price regardless of traffic (and theres always traffic), however you may end up with a stranger in the car too. Another advantage- drivers will normally give you 5*’s just for having a British Accent.
3. Prepare for questioning
Americans are really intrigued by British culture but some questions you get are quite odd. As you can imagine the majority of these are about the Royal family.
4. Learn the Lingo
Although we speak the same language certain words and phrases don’t translate e.g. “jumper” or “cheeky”. Equally don’t be alarmed if someone compliments your pants- no you don’t have a whole in your trousers.
5. It’s ok to be homesick
When you’re in such an amazing place it can be hard to admit to people (and yourself) that you’re a bit homesick. Time differences can sometimes make it hard to talk to your loved ones when you’re down but if you plan set Skype times and dates then this can help the time go by faster.
6. Ignore FOMO
Whenever I’m away I seem to get serious fear of missing out (FOMO). This was especially apparent on this trip as I was away for the majority of the summer. As hard as it may be in this day and age my main tip for this is to not obsess over social media and to remember that people will feel like they are missing out on your trip too!
7. Take Every Opportunity
I may never return to LA (I really hope I do), so knowing I was there for such a short amount of time made me strive to take every opportunity given to me. Even if the event turns out rubbish, it can often end up being a funny story to tell the people back at home.
I don’t know if it’s the sun, the sea or too many American TV shows but I’m still California dreaming!
Photography: Edward Parks