I'm planning to attend a Californian university as a visiting scholar (not paid by the university) on a J-1 visa, for a total of four weeks; a colleague of mine will do the same, but for 12 weeks. I've been told (personally, ie. no citable sources) that, if you're staying on a J-1, you're effectively a California resident for the time you're there, and, therefore, need a Californian driver's license.
I've read up on this and found this DMV page that states:
If you are a visitor in California over 18 and have a valid driver license from your home state or country, you may drive in this state without getting a California driver license as long as your home state license remains valid.
If you become a California resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner's property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.
I'm not planning to vote in any elections, nor will I own a home there, but I'm not sure what would constitute "privileges or benefits not ordinarily extended to nonresidents".
Do we need to get driver's licenses in California, or can we use our foreign licenses? How about day trips to Arizona or Nevada?
Note: this seems to be related to What are the residence requirements to use a foreign driving licence in California?, but my question is specifically about staying there on a J-1.