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TheMole

Irvine, CA

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Hey! I have a question about LGBT life at Irvine? I'm from the Midwest, in a city with a pretty small/not great LGBT community. I know California in general is really laid back and accepting, but I'm curious how people find Irvine specifically? Also, if anyone has thoughts on the scene there and dating and such, that'd be awesome. I know I'm not going to have much time, being in grad school, but it would be nice to have the potential to find a partner.

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@Revenir 

Hey, I'm an undergrad at Irvine right now - Irvine as a school is super liberal, I haven't heard about anyone I know having a hard time because they were in the LGBT community. I've heard the town generally is more conservative overall but I've honestly never had an issue/felt unsafe in that area. There are always exceptions, of course, and that's just been my experience - but still.

Irvine I think has some sort of organization for LGBT students, but I honestly have never gone to any of their events - I've heard that it was mostly a place for people to kind of date around/that there was some drama, but I'm not sure how true that is, given I've never gone. At any rate, it might be worth checking out, but most of the people I've met in Irvine that are LGBT are people I just happened to meet in class, through a friend, etc...there are definitely a fair amount of (out) LGBT students around campus, at least in the humanities (which is sort of all I know at Irvine). I guess the "organized" community isn't super big, but there are plenty of people around that are LGBT and just not involved in the official stuff. Plus, Irvine is pretty close to L.A./Riverside area, which also have pretty big LGBT communities. 

I hope that helps...? I'm not from the area, so I'm sure there's stuff I don't know about, but that's my impression...

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This helps a lot actually! Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

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On 3/1/2019 at 3:50 PM, Revenir said:

 I know California in general is really laid back and accepting, 

This POV is a persistent misconception about California. It depends upon where you are in the state -- the closer to a coastal city, the more tolerant people tend to be overall. Yet even then one can encounter mindsets that are not as enlightened as one might expect. It also depends where you are in some metropolitan areas. 

On 3/3/2019 at 7:13 AM, hedeos said:

I've heard the town generally is more conservative overall but I've honestly never had an issue/felt unsafe in that area. There are always exceptions, of course, and that's just been my experience - but still.

Plus, Irvine is pretty close to L.A./Riverside area, which also have pretty big LGBT communities. 

I hope that helps...? I'm not from the area, so I'm sure there's stuff I don't know about, but that's my impression...

Generally speaking, Irvine is more conservative than the City of Los Angeles but is turning bluer. It's unlikely that one is going to see overt signs of intolerance but here's some food for thought. 

https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/California-LGBT-Divide-Jan-2016.pdf

 

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So I just got an offer to UCI, and I'm wondering about the bikeability of Irvine. If I end up going to UCI, I'll bring a car, but I prefer cycling as my main form of transportation around town. From what I've been able to tell, there seems to be a decent network of bike lanes and dedicated bike paths, but how are the drivers? Are they generally courteous to cyclists?

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30 minutes ago, jgalleg1016 said:

ut how are the drivers? Are they generally courteous to cyclists?

Congratulations on your admission to UCI.

The main streets in Irvine, like in much of the OC, are raceways to freeways. The traffic lights are timed accordingly.

IME, when driving in the area, oncoming cars are all moving much faster than one would expect--unprotected turns require extra caution as do lane changes. 

FWIW/FYI/ICYMI

https://www.cityofirvine.org/transportation/bicycle-safety-tips

https://www.cityofirvine.org/irvine-police-department/bicycle-safety

https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/10/at-least-14-road-cyclists-were-killed-in-orange-county-traffic-accidents-in-2018-but-there-are-ways-to-reduce-the-bloodshed/

If you do attend UCI, I work in the planning department of an employee-owned consultancy that may be looking for interns this summer. We have an office in OC. No promises or warranties offered, but if you throw your hat in the ring, there's no limit on how far an intern can go. (Be advised, the work will be hard in a "wax on / wax off" kind of way and also intellectually challenging.)

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I recently received an offer from UC Irvine but I am concerned about the low stipend. How does one live on 21,000 USD in a county where the average salary is 90,000 USD?

Is the subsidized student housing worth it?  ( I see that there are graduate student housing options but does it still feel like a dorm?)

Do you need to buy a car? ( I currently  live in a city where the rent is more expensive but you can rely on public transportation)

Do people hold part time positions in addition to TA requirements to make ends meet?

Is it common for them to offer relocation funds?

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On 2/15/2020 at 10:19 AM, LondonFog27 said:

I recently received an offer from UC Irvine but I am concerned about the low stipend. How does one live on 21,000 USD in a county where the average salary is 90,000 USD?

Is the subsidized student housing worth it?  ( I see that there are graduate student housing options but does it still feel like a dorm?)

Do you need to buy a car? ( I currently  live in a city where the rent is more expensive but you can rely on public transportation)

Do people hold part time positions in addition to TA requirements to make ends meet?

Is it common for them to offer relocation funds?

I also received an offer from Irvine and I will be more than likely to attend. I lived in LA before and it was a disaster (the ridiculously expensive rent and terrible traffic). However, Irvine is much better than other SoCal areas in my opinion. Most of the properties in Irvine are controlled by the Irvine company, so the rent is geared towards the working professionals (2k/month). UCI Housing, on the other hand, is truly subsidized. The rent is affordable (I am looking at Palo Verde and Verano Place) with an average of a 2-bedroom apt is $600-700/person (if you don't mind sharing it with someone else). I remember there is a reddit thread that has a lot of details about housing at UCI. 

I feel living on campus will be better as a first-year. You can walk to classes (which save a lot of money on gas because gas in California is really expensive). Internet is included (you only have to pay for electricity). Palo Verde and Verano Place are graduate student housing so you won't encounter random undergrads. They are real apartments, which are not... rooms.

I'd recommend buying a car. It will be the best thing to do because Irvine is very flat. You will need a car to go grocery shopping anyway. I heard the bus system is not that great. And as I remember, Palo Verde and Verano Place have "permitless" parking so you won't have to pay for it. 

I don't think working part time would be a good idea as a PhD student because doing a PhD requires a commitment. I don't know about your personal finances, but I think 21k/yr is livable in Irvine. For me, a $1.5k monthly stipend is more than enough because I cook (which saves A LOT of money than eating out). So, if you spent about $700 rent + $300 for grocery, then it will leave you with about $500 for other activities (Netflix, Spotify, car insurance, etc.). Do you have any significant spending that will takes up the majority of the stipend besides housing and grocery?  

Overall, I think UCI's on-campus housing is worth it. It is notorious for undergraduate housing, but it's much better for graduate students. Also, I'm genuinely surprised with how UCI handles the soaring housing prices. UC Santa Cruz is facing a crisis right now and people are on strike. 

I don't think UCI offers relocation funds but that was expected :). Many programs do not usually fund relocation because their funds are getting tighter.  

Edited by 43pennsylvanian
updated with relocation funds

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On 2/15/2020 at 3:19 PM, LondonFog27 said:

I recently received an offer from UC Irvine but I am concerned about the low stipend. How does one live on 21,000 USD in a county where the average salary is 90,000 USD?

Is the subsidized student housing worth it?  ( I see that there are graduate student housing options but does it still feel like a dorm?)

Do you need to buy a car? ( I currently  live in a city where the rent is more expensive but you can rely on public transportation)

Do people hold part time positions in addition to TA requirements to make ends meet?

Is it common for them to offer relocation funds?

I have experience staying in graduate housing at UCI (not a student but my partner is) and I would say it’s definitely worth it and the graduate housing definitely doesn’t feel like a dorm. More of a planned neighbourhood apartment style kind of thing. There’s a Target, Trader Joes and Albertsons between a 5-15 minute walk depending on what housing lot you’re on. The former two are quite small but the Albertsons is decent (I’m not from the US so honestly can’t say comparably whether it’s big or small). Other supermarkets like Whole Foods or Costco will require a car(pool) or an Uber. I believe there are cars to rent on campus for when you need them for short/medium journeys. 

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On 3/3/2020 at 9:50 AM, Cognizant said:

Anyone attending UC-Irvine this coming fall?

Very good chance. Currently on the waitlist but was emailed by the head of admissions that she might have "good news for me shortly." What is your field?

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