Culture and Language

1 min read
15 Jan 2024

Cultural Differences

The city of stars is no stranger to spiritualists, health gurus or vegans, with PETA rating LA the number-one vegan-friendly city in the US in 2018. Thousands flock to the city for its vegan food scene, which boasts more than 150 vegan and vegan-friendly establishments. The city’s cultural composition is diverse, with Latinos at the forefront (47.5 percent). In many stores, restaurants and shops, Spanish takes precedence over English. Don’t be intimidated by this. Angelinos are positive people who appreciate a good-faith effort to grasp the Spanish language. LA also comprises large Caucasian, Asian and African American populations, which is reflected in the culture, from music to food to the arts and entertainment. One unifying force that brings these cultures together is sports: the Greater Los Angeles Area is home to eleven major league professional teams.

Learning the Language

Some helpful local words to familiarize yourself with include “the Valley” (which always references the San Fernando Valley), “South Bay” (the general area south of LAX), “NOHO” (North Hollywood), “WEHO” (West Hollywood), and “the Pass” (Sepulveda Pass). “I’m stuck in the pass” means you’re on the Interstate 405 highway or Sepulveda between Mulholland and Sunset. Some useful Spanish words are “Buenos Días” (hello), “Adiós” (goodbye), “Gracias” (thank you) and “de nada” (you’re welcome). Brushing up on your Spanish before moving to LA is recommended but not essential. The majority of the population speaks English with ease, but Spanish proficiency can give you a leg up. Local institutions like UCLA and USC offer continuing education classes for new and novice Spanish speakers, with varying class times and pricing from $500 to $5,000. Smaller, more affordable language academies such as UNAM Los Angeles offer group classes, private lessons and conversation clubs where you can learn Spanish and meet new people.