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Moving to LA: Prepare for Culture Shock

Whenever you move to a new place, you’re in for a bit of a head spin. Different food, different vernacular, different social norms- that’s what makes moving so exciting. But all that excitement has its downside, commonly referred to as Culture Shock: that lost, bewildered feeling you get when you feel like you walked off the plane straight onto the surface of Mars.


Here are five facts about LA you need to know for a milder case of CS:

  1. Traffic is So Bad
    How bad? “Your worst traffic nightmare times 90,210” bad. It’s not just gridlock, which is (obviously) bad, it is Angelenos’ road habits that can drive you over the edge. Habits that include an aversion to signaling and a reluctance to keep to one lane forsaking all others. It is also quite mindboggling to see the type of activities Angelenos are likely to be engaged in behind the wheel: anything from applying makeup to making sandwiches should not surprise you.
  1. So Many Dogs
    LA is puppies’ paradise. There are so many dogs here and you will find they are allowed everywhere, including some places you might not consider appropriate, like the grocery store. Most LA pups are well behaved and often obscenely well groomed. Dog grooming and pampering has been taken to the next level in LA, with regular doggy spa trips, pet hotels, and even canine plastic surgery. On the other hand, the city also has a large population of strays, especially in the rougher parts of town.
  1. So Healthy
    Starting a new life in LA is the perfect opportunity to turn a fresh page for your body too. LA folk are very conscious about health and nutrition. Splitting a meal is pretty much the norm, even though it costs a sharing fee, juicing is incredibly common and junk food is harder to find than fresh produce-based food.
  1. So Sunny
    Good weather isn’t something to be cautiously prepared for, but it is a big change for most which take some getting used to. LA always has sunny weather with humid mornings, dry afternoons and chilly nights. The local version of summer is pretty much year-long. What about the other three seasons? Angelenos get along just fine without them.
  1. So Informal
    This may come as great news for some: you can wear your flip flops to a dinner party and your jeans to an important business meeting. LA style is quintessentially informal and laid back. At the same time, the city is also home to every major fashion brand in the world and some very famous fashionistas. Whether you’re a Havaianas kind of person or someone who loves to dress up, give it some time and you’ll find a way to blend in.


Remember, culture shock is temporary. A vast and fascinating city is unfolding before you, so take a deep breath and enjoy the ride! What was your worst experience with culture shock? Share it with us in the comments!

Thinking of moving to LA but don’t know where you should live? Don’t freak out, we’ve covered that topic here in our post about how to find the neighborhood that’s right for you.