Living in Los Angeles is, for many people, its own reward. Adding its myriad resources together with the academic quality of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA can make for an irresistIble combination that is inviting to student with many different interests.
Heat and light
The sunshine is an undeniable draw. Native Angelenos often take it for granted, but those who hail from less-temperate parts of the country know that brightness is a precious commodity. According to data from the National Climatic Data Center, downtown Los Angeles logs an average of 292 sunny or partly sunny days each year. That makes LA the California city with the most sunshine.
Along with light, of course, comes warmth. USClimateData.com finds that Los Angeles boasts an annual high temperature of 71.7 degrees. Its annual low temperature is 55.9 degrees, and its average daily temperature is 63.8 degrees.
Reports that Los Angeles can get too hot typically have to do with the inland San Fernando Valley, which often registers about 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the region. Luckily, areas like the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA are located on the cooler side of the city, near the Pacific Ocean.
Venice Beach or Venice Family Clinic?
Broad, sandy beaches abound in Los Angeles, including Santa Monica Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. Perhaps the most famous is Venice Beach, long renowned for its colorful street entertainment, including acrobats, jugglers, musicians and bodybuilders.
But medical school isn't quite a day at the beach, especially when spending less time at Venice Beach than at Venice Family Clinic, which operates 10 health centers on the west side of Los Angeles County. Venice Family Clinic, which serves more than 20,000 low-income and homeless residents each year, is staffed by many UCLA volunteer physicians. Many UCLA residents and medical students also donate their time to care for this underserved community.
International cuisine, international patients
Even busy medical students need to eat, and Los Angeles is justly renowned for fresh, creative cuisine. Mexican, Italian, Eastern European, Persian, Korean and Chinese appetites will find appealing ethnic eats everywhere.
Angelenos hail from every corner of the globe, which is excellent news for physicians-in-training. Latinos predominate, and there are ample opportunities for students to acquire at least the basic Spanish-language skills and cultural sensitivity that are essential for well-prepared 21st-century physicians.
The Asian population also is large, with communities of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Vietnamese immigrants. Enclaves like Little Armenia, Little Tokyo, Korea Town, Persian Square, and Little Ethiopia dot the city, each adding to the region's diversity.
When people think of Los Angeles, tourist attractions like Disneyland, the Hollywood sign and Rodeo Drive often are the first images to come to mind. Dig a little deeper, though, and newcomers are likely to find that the city's cultural richness and diverse populations make the most lasting impression.
And all that sunshine and balmy weather doesn't hurt, either.
By Darcy Lewis