By Katherine Hart
Financial anxieties consume my mind more often than I would like, so I thought I would provide insight on the Syracuse University Los Angeles program from my frugally realistic perspective. This program is a great way to experience the living and working culture of one of the largest entertainment industry cities in the world, but it is not the only way to do it. As a graduating senior with a strong financial aid package, I was fortunate enough to make this happen. My first piece of advice is to be upfront with all of the mentors and staff that you meet through SULA. It is a small program and they are fantastic at helping you through the challenging semester. Getting a paid internship is possible. I secured my spot at TLC by applying online and staying in contact with the Discovery recruits. With the new shift in internship policies, more paid opportunities may be available in the near future. Secondly, I would spend a great amount of research on the cost of renting, buying, shipping or driving your car out here. I hardly believed them when the SULA staff said a car was a requirement, and now, I know it’s the truth. Unless you work at WB or ABC, you will have an hour commute to your internship and there are no bike lanes for those who think green. Carpooling, however, is an alternative you might be so lucky to work out. I met a fellow intern from Ithaca College who lived at the Oakwoods and we worked out a schedule to help share the drive. The classes through SULA have true value in their instructors, location, and interconnectivity to the LA area. Every assignment taught me something I could bring to my internship, every field trip integrated me into the city, and every mandatory event introduced me to another successful SU grad.
Now to point out the great things to do in Los Angeles, for FREE! Upright Citizens Brigade is a famous comedy club that hosts free shows during the week, check their website for details. Griffith Park and Runyon are two fantastic hiking spots for some exercise, not to mention you can see the Hollywood sign one on of the trails. There is no cost for audience tickets to most of the TV show tapings. So far I have seen Jimmy Kimmel Live, Chelsea Lately, The Millers, The Price Is Right, and I’m hoping to get called for Ellen. I also have submitted my information to be an extra or reality contestant, for which I would be paid for my time, now wouldn’t that be cool! SULA events are other awesome opportunities to meet new people and find yourself in important places. I went to the YouTube space for a free happy hour thanks to a SULA suggestion and met a few recognizable faces, the YouTube staff, and enjoyed a tour of the future of online video production. We were also invited to attend a documentary award show, to be seat-fillers, and to help make care packages for USA overseas veterans. I will be an SU Alumna come May and I am so thankful to have Los Angeles experience even before graduation. The SU community is strong out on the west coast, and I hope to add to that strength by giving back to those who are going through the program after me. There’s a list of free activities I could give, and I welcome you to email me if you would like some ideas.