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The basics
THE USA: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Los Angeles

Los Angeles may be associated with the glamour of Hollywood, but the city offers so much more. It is home to thriving communities, world-renowned institutions, and incredible entertainment. Let’s take a tour.

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On Hollywood’s doorstep, Los Angeles (or L.A.) is a thriving beach city and a place where students live side by side with the rich and famous. With a dynamic culture and entertainment scene, the city has something for everyone. If you’re hoping to study in the USA, Los Angeles is undeniably one of the most exciting study destinations ever. Packed with things for students to do, this vibrant city will have all your friends from home wanting to visit.

 

What is Los Angeles like?

Location and demographics

One of the USA’s most iconic cities, Los Angeles is located on the sunny west coast of California, only a short drive from the border with Mexico. With its appealingly warm climate and picturesque beaches, L.A. has relaxed culture and a constant holiday feel.

 

With a population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the country’s second-largest city. It is also one of the most multicultural and diverse places to live in the USA.

 

Find out what makes the USA a unique study destination for international students.

 

Culture and history

Regarding culture, Los Angeles has more museums and theatres than any other city in the USA. Wander through the city’s Art District to take in the spectacular street art, or for a more traditional experience, head to a gallery.

 

Over the last century, Los Angeles has gained fame through its film industry, with many of its iconic sites feeling familiar to movie lovers worldwide. You won’t want to miss the city’s performing arts scene!

 

The list of famous residents of this beloved American city is almost too long to count, but if you choose to live in Los Angeles, you’ll be surrounded by fame. The Kardashians, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie all have ties to the city.

 

Did you know that there are many different types of accents in the USA?

 

 

What universities are in Los Angeles?

If you dream of studying in Los Angeles, you’ll be pleased to hear that it boasts many universities and colleges. Here we list a few of the most popular but consider researching others in the area to ensure you find the perfect fit.

 

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a private university ranked in joint second place by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 (THE). It has a global reach in terms of science, technology and engineering and is situated in Pasadena, just outside of L.A. With 45 Nobel prize winners amongst its alumni, study here, and you’ll be following the paths of some very influential individuals.

 

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is ranked at number 20 by THE 2022 and is considered the USA’s best public university. With global renown in all fields, notable alumni include actress Mila Kunis, composer John Williams and sportsman Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

 

Other popular universities in Los Angeles are:

 

  • University of Southern California – private university ranked 63 by THE 2022.
  • University of California, Irvine – public university ranked 34 in the U.S. News & World Report 2022 (UNSWR).
  • Chapman University – private university ranked 121 in the USNWR 2022.
  • California State University, Long Beach – public university ranked 137 in the USNWR 2022.

 

If you are prepared to travel outside of Los Angeles, you might also consider the following institutions:

 

  • University of California, San Diego (UCSD) – a public university ranked 34 by THE 2022.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) – a public university ranked 68 by THE 2022.

 

If you are hoping to apply to a Los Angeles community college to obtain an associate degree, there are a few options to consider. These include Irvine Valley College and Orange Coast College.

 

Discover more about the top universities in the USA.

 

 

What does Los Angeles offer students?

What is transport like in Los Angeles?

As such a beautiful beach city, we won’t be surprised if you choose to walk or cycle as often as you can. Plus, it’s great for your fitness and your bank balance. But of course, there will be times when public transport is a necessity.

 

L.A. offers a great selection of buses, subway and commuter rail options meaning you can get from A to B quickly and easily around the city and the greater metro area.

 

You can buy tickets when you board or, for regular travel, purchase a pre-pay TAP card, giving you discounted rates. You can also apply for a College/Vocational TAP card to save up to 80 per cent on your fares if your school participates in the U-Pass programme.

 

For national and international travel, Los Angeles is served by five airports, meaning you’ll stay well connected to home during your studies.

 

Get more information on the top student cities in the USA.

 

What about entertainment and food?

A food lover's dream city, Los Angeles is bursting with amazing eateries. From street food to traditional diners to hipster coffee shops to fine dining, the flavours in this city are exquisite. Brunch with ocean views or enjoy a boutique downtown institution. Amongst the global cuisine on offer, you won’t want to miss the Mexican food – this close to the border, it’s mouth-watering.

 

Known as the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles will give you one of the most exciting student lifestyles imaginable. You can go downtown to dance in one of the city’s world-famous clubs or concert venues. Or, for a more intimate experience, explore comedy, music and performing arts in smaller settings.

 

Explore some must-do student activities in the USA.

 

Are there public services for students?

Studying in the USA, you’ll have access to resources at the government, state, and university levels to help you along the way. The US government provides free online information to assist international students. Access student resources via the US Department of State website. Or explore financial aid options across California with Education USA’s helpful tool.

 

Your university’s international office will be able to assist you with any queries or concerns you have, from opening a bank account to settling into the Los Angeles lifestyle.

 

Do you want to know how to apply for a student visa in the USA?

 

How much does it cost to live in Los Angeles?

The general cost of Los Angeles

The glamour of living in such a hub of entertainment and natural beauty does unfortunately come with a price tag. Los Angeles is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world. To keep the cost of living at a manageable amount, you’ll need to be strict when making your student budget.

 

Are you interested in how much it costs to live in the USA?

 

Student budget

International students in the USA are faced with several upfront costs, things like health insurance and visa fees, so be sure to account for these in your calculations. Once those are settled, Caltech suggests an annual budget of around USD 23,000.

 

Don’t forget to check the cost of tuition in the USA.

 

What is student accommodation in Los Angeles like?

Studying in the USA, living on campus is the most popular choice to make the most of the famous American student experience. You’ll find that costs vary widely between institutions, and more prestigious universities often charge more. But the benefit of campus living is that your bills should be included in your rent.

 

For an approximation of accommodation costs in Los Angeles, Caltech suggests an annual rental budget of USD 10,000 to USD 11,000.

 

Find out how to apply to study in the USA.

 

What are the main attractions in Los Angeles?

Despite the high cost of living, Los Angeles has plenty of free and cheap things for students to do, simply walk through its vibrant streets and enjoy all the city has to offer. You can’t live in Los Angeles without enjoying the lifestyle. Whether the beach is your destination of choice for reading up on your studies or you enjoy swimming or surfing, the ocean here is world-famous for a reason.

 

 

If you’re in the mood for exercise, hike in the hills, take in the iconic Hollywood sign or try some of L.A.’s spectacular running paths or biking trails. Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympics, so watch out for constantly improving and expanding sporting infrastructure in the coming years. If you enjoy spectator sports, the city is home to several major league teams in baseball, basketball, American Football, ice hockey and soccer.

 

It’s easy to pass a day in Los Angeles, whether shopping in the boutique, vintage stores, or vast high-end malls, you’ll find yourself surrounded by eateries and places to grab a drink to keep your energy levels up. Nights here pass quickly too. From showing off your moves on the dancefloor to sipping a cocktail in an ocean-side bar, you won’t want to go to bed.

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