California vs. New York Culture

As I leave California to live in Chicago, I find myself both literally and figuratively looking at California in the rear view mirror.

How does the culture of California differ from the last place I Iived, in New York? For someone who was immersed in world culture in New York, coming to the seemingly more homogeneous California was a bit of a letdown at first.

However, as I got to take different language classes, that and just the contact of daily living in Los Angeles introduced me into several expat and immigrant communities.

A decade later, I can say that New York is still somewhat more international than Los Angeles, but not by very much. I experienced New York as one big island of international culture, and Los Angeles as several small islands of international culture surrounded by the mainstream US culture in which they were embedded.

With the exception of Spanish which was ubiquitous, you could find any language community you wanted–but unlike in New York City, you had to actively look for it.


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