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So I'm British and 24 years old. I've applied to places around California for a PhD in Computer Science. I received a phone call on Thursday from my proposed supervisor at USC, who says I'm in a pool of three people for two places. So I have a better-than-a-coin-flip chance of getting it.
I'm not sure what I should be looking at in terms of housing, and I'm hoping some LA/USC types will be able to help me. I need a one-bedroom place with my partner, but I don't know which areas I should be looking at.
I know very little about LA. I've visited a couple of times, staying in Pasadena and Santa Monica. I know that USC is in South Central, and I can't live in a rough neighbourhood; that's not an option. I'm not looking into USC housing right now, as the number of people applying for the minimal numbers of one-bedroom places like that must be astronomical.
It's likely that I will be spending half, if not more of my time, in Marina Del Ray, alongside the USC main campus. There is a shuttle that runs between them, so I'm not too worried about that.
Where should I be considering? My Californian gf likes the ideas of either South Pasadena or Glendale, which means we'll definitely need to have two cars. How long would the commute be from there? Google reckons an hour in traffic, I'm sceptical that it's not longer. There's the USC Health Sciences campus in Alhambra, and I could jack a transit ride from the Health Sciences place to the main campus, which means South Pasadena might be doable... but I'm going to be commuting a long time I think.
Where should I be looking? Which districts are nice, but not $TEXAS (Santa Monica, I'm looking at you)? Ones close to the coast are better for both of us, but it's a case of monies and safety.