Tag Archives: neighborhood

My Comfort Language

By Chloe Ahn

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

Language plays an incredibly important role in forming connections with other people. This may seem like an obvious statement. To communicate with someone else, you need to have a shared language. However, not all languages hold the same weight in a conversation.

A person’s first language is not always the one they may prefer to use when creating a bond with a new person. This is especially true for bilingual speakers who grew up speaking more than one language. Although these types of speakers may have a dominant language that they tend to use in more day to day interactions, this does not mean that it is the language that they like to speak the most when it comes to socializing. In addition, they may have a certain language that they associate with certain people or places.

Photo by Sava Bobov on Unsplash

Growing up in predominantly white neighborhoods, I never really had the opportunity to use Korean outside of my home and as one of the few Korean students in my high school, I didn’t have any reason to use it with my friends either. Though I spoke mostly Korean with my parents, I had developed a habit of using English with them when we left the house because I had had negative experiences with speaking Korean in public. I would constantly get weird stares or the occasional dirty look from people who did not speak Korean. Eventually, I started to feel embarrassed using Korean with my mom or dad and stopped doing so.

This mindset changed with the onset of the pandemic. Since I was home all of the time, I began to use Korean more often than English. During winter break of my freshman year, I visited my grandparents in South Korea and was able to spend a lot of time with them. My negative associations with using Korean in public disappeared and I started to connect more positive ideas with the language. Korean is the language of my culture. It is the language that I use with the people I love the most. It is the language that allows me to spend quality time with my grandparents and other relatives who I do not get to see often because of the distance between us.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

With this new perspective, I came to campus at USC for the first time this past fall semester. For the first time I had the chance to interact with and meet people who had the same cultural background as I did. I joined the Korean American Student Association (KASA) with the hopes of making new friends and was successful. Many of the close friends that I have today are people that I met through KASA.

That being said, not all of my friends are Korean and I do not think that you have to be the same ethnicity in order to form close connections with people. Rather, being able to speak Korean with the friends that I made in KASA helped me to open up to them sooner because of the associations I have with the language and my family. Having come from the East Coast, I was worried about feeling homesick and missing my parents and sister, but making these friends and being able to use Korean more in my daily conversations with them gave me a sense of comfort and was a reminder of home. Sometimes, you find comfort in a language other than the one that you speak most often, and it becomes a great way to form deeper bonds with others.

Featured Image by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

 Chloe is a rising junior studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Keck School of Medicine with a minor in Business. She was born in South Korea but grew up in New Jersey. Aside from English, Chloe is conversationally fluent in Korean and is learning Spanish. Her involvements on campus include Dear Asian Youth, International Student Assembly, Innovative Design, and the Korean American Student Association. In her free time, Chloe enjoys watching movies, going shopping, hiking, and listening to music.

Tips on USC Housing

By Lianne Chu

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

Finding off campus housing around USC is a common struggle amongst many students. With so many different options and factors to take into consideration, the whole process can be overwhelming, especially for students who aren’t familiar with the area. Here, I detail some resources that can help with this search!

When should you start looking for next school year’s housing?

Some students start looking for off campus housing as early as October/November and have their lease signed by December. This is usually necessary for popular places around campus, especially houses on the North side of campus where a lot of people want to live. However, there will still be many vacancies at the start of the calendar year, so do not worry if you start the housing search process late. A good place to look for housing in the spring is apartments near campus who are looking to fill their buildings and may be running special deals in the springtime.

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Where to look for housing?

1. Walk around the neighborhood. Many apartments/houses will have their phone numbers posted in front of the residence. Note the name of the property management and phone number to do further research!

2. This Reddit link features links to many different popular housing management companies around campus and the websites for various apartments. I found it to be especially helpful in checking out the different types of apartments around campus, and determining the different locations of all of the housing options.

3. Facebook Groups: There are a few Facebook groups where students post available listings, usually subleases. If you search for USC housing groups, you will find people looking for potential roommates or looking for people to take over their subleases. This is a good place to turn to if you are looking for a semester lease or a summer lease, as opposed to a year long lease. However, sometimes scams are posted on these groups so use your best judgement when contacting those writing the posts.  

Photo by Parker Gibbons on Unsplash

Where is it safe to live?

Many students live within a one-mile radius of USC. This ensures that the house/apartment will be within the Fryft (free Lyft) Zone. Around this area will also have DPS Yellow Jackets patrolling around the blocks at night. North side of campus near Frat Row is a popular option for students. West side of campus is also popular for engineering students who have classes near that side of campus.

Living in DTLA or commuting to campus?

Some students may choose to live farther away from campus and commute to classes by car or public transportation. Living farther away gives you more housing options, but USC does not provide transportation from DTLA to campus, so having a car will be beneficial if living far away. However, if you do choose to live a little further away, you can take advantage of LA’s public transportation system to get to campus. The Metro and F dash bus are both options to get from Downtown LA to USC fairly quickly.

Photo by Ryan Jacobson on Unsplash

Price range

The price range of housing varies depending on the type of room (single, double, etc.) and location (proximity to campus). Houses and apartments on the North side of campus are typically pricier as they are closer to the Village and it is a livelier area of the neighborhood. Prices can range from $800 for a shared room on the West side to $1400 and up for a single on the North side. 

On Campus Housing

USC offers on-campus housing for both undergraduate and graduate students. Check out the USC housing to look at the different options offered! The most popular USC housing option for undergraduates is in the USC Village, but there are off campus options as well. Many of these housing options come with some sort of dining plan and close proximity to campus, which is always a plus, but some of them can be quite pricey.

Finding Roommates

Most college students live in an apartment or house with roommates. Some people share a room with others, while others have their own rooms and share a living space. Usually shared rooms have lower rent than private rooms. When finding roommates, the first step should be to see if any of your friends are also looking for housing since living with friends is usually easier to adapt to than living with random roommates. However, living with randomly paired roommates can be a great option as well. Many people search for roommates on housing Facebook pages and express what they want in a potential roommate, and end up finding someone who is very compatible with their living style and turns out to be a great friend!

Continue reading Tips on USC Housing

A local food review: Chichen Itza Restaurant

By Jonah Vroegop

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

Do you enjoy delicious Mexican food? If your answer is yes, I have a recommendation for you! Due to its location near the USC campus, Chichen Itza is a popular spot for students and community members to pick up a bite to eat. They serve a variety of dishes from tamales, tacos, soups, tortas, appetizers, and more! It is one of my favorite places to eat around USC, and a great spot to go to if you are looking for a new place to eat during quarantine.

First and foremost, the restaurant is located in Mercado La Paloma – a local business hub of the Figueroa corridor that supports business ownership opportunities and living wages for members of our community. There are many restaurants and businesses similar to Chichen Itza, as well as non-profit offices, a health office, and a range of affordable meeting rooms and community spaces. They frequently host art and music-centered events, film showings, and open mic nights as well, giving the community a forum and a place for local interaction. The market takes pride in the quality of their goods and services and are proud to serve the community with the goal of achieving economic and environmental justice while fostering community engagement and exchange of culture. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurants and shops are only open for takeout or delivery. Don’t miss the chance to check out the market! 

The cuisine served at Chichen Itza comes from Yucatan, a region in the south of Mexico known for its fresh chili peppers, cilantro, and oregano as well as achiote. Their menu is expansive and definitely contains something for everyone! They take pride in their ingredients and use house-made meats and handmade corn tortillas. These ingredients are staples of Mexican street cuisine and a vital part of serving a delicious Yucatan dish. Many of the marinades and preparation techniques come from the Yucatan region, providing flavors and ingredients that aren’t commonly seen on restaurant menus. Each dish comes with a few options for fillings, cooking techniques, and salsas. I recommend the cochinita pibil (banana leaf-wrapped slow-roasted pork) and the pollo asado (roasted chicken) on any dish. If you’re struggling to find something to order, you can’t go wrong with tamales – arguably the most famous Mexican street food.

“Taco’s de pollo asada” and a “torta de pollo asada”
Continue reading A local food review: Chichen Itza Restaurant