After spending my first semester remote in my hometown in Hudson, Wisconsin, I decided to move to an off-campus apartment in Los Angeles for the 2021 spring semester at USC. I felt a bit uncertain about making such a drastic move — especially during a pandemic. My hometown had a population of 13,000 people, so the size of Los Angeles was going to be a huge adjustment. However, I spoke with other students in my grade in Los Angeles whose experiences encouraged me to move. I wanted to experience the USC community to the greatest extent I could during remote classes and being in Los Angeles was a part of that for me. 

 

Reflecting on the past semester, I have absolutely no regrets about moving. I’ve learned so many lessons from my time here. Enjoy my six favorite discoveries upon moving to LA from the midwest.

1. People were not lying about the weather: it really is nice all the time

I did not believe the weather could actually be this nice. I was wrong: it’s even better, ranging from about 65 to 80 degrees all semester.

 

For context, it was 12 degrees in Wisconsin when I stepped on the plane. Meanwhile, I think I have seen the rain about 3 times total in LA this semester. 

 

The nice weather makes it super easy and enjoyable to study and hang out outdoors. I even picked up running when I moved here! The sunshine puts everyone in a happier mood — myself included. 

2. In and Out is worth the hype

The burgers are like the weather: as good as everyone tells you — and everywhere you go.

 

If burgers are not your thing, there are countless other fantastic local restaurants in Los Angeles. Some of my other favorite places are Urth Cafe, Perch LA, and Sunlife Organics.

3. Surfing is easier than you would expect

I went surfing for the first time in Los Angeles during the spring semester! It was a super fun experience, and it was much easier than I had expected. 

 

One of the best things about USC is its location: a quick drive to the beach. A lot of students (myself included!) go to the beach on the weekends or days off school. In Wisconsin, a lot of my friends have snowmobiles. Here, they have extra surfboards.

4. People pronounce things differently

No one had ever told me I pronounce things weirdly, until my roommates (from different states) said the way I say “bag” makes them laugh.

 

Los Angeles is a large, diverse city and USC reflects that diversity. Even with my other three roommates, we all speak differently and come from different backgrounds. Moving out of the midwest has exposed me to a lot more diversity which I really value. 

5. The avocados !!!!

People in LA have a reputation for eating a lot of avocado, and it all makes sense now. I am now one of the LA avocado aficionados because they are just so good. I eat avocado 

 

Even outside of avocados, it is so much easier to find any quality, fresh produce in LA as opposed to the midwest!

6. There are more opportunities than you could ever imagine

Even during the pandemic, there were always fun things to do and places to explore in LA. When restrictions relaxed, I loved finding different hikes, viewpoints, beaches, and areas of LA. There is always something to do and something for everyone. Whether you like fitness classes, shopping, sports, gaming, nature, or movies, there is always something for you to do — and someone interesting to meet. 

I could write about countless other lessons I have learned this past semester, but I would never stop writing. I hope this post gave you some insight into what my transition from living in the midwest to Los Angeles has been like. All to say, I can’t imagine a better place to go for college.

 

Fight on!

Maya Neuenschwander

Maya Neuenschwander

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Hudson, Wisconsin PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @schwanders I'm involved in interdisciplinary research investigating public health inequities along with being an officer for the Society of Women Engineers and a member of Engineers without Borders. Outside of school, I have my own photography business.

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