From a dorm down under, Australian campus life

I must admit, when I arrived in Wise I did not expect American and Australian culture and practices to be too dissimilar. ‘Americanisation’ is spreading throughout the world and Australia is not immune.  However, what I have found are subtle differences between living on-campus in little Wise to just-a-bit-bigger Bathurst.

My campus of Charles Sturt University is located in Bathurst (two-and-a-half hours inland of Sydney). My Uni [University] is one of the smaller ones and specialises in distance education.

I live on campus at a residence called Diggings.  Diggians [people who live at Diggings] are a passionate people with ute’s [smaller version of a truck] filling the car park and durries [roll your own cigarettes] being shared in Steve, our communal shelter.

Monday night is Dorm Sports, where dorms compete for pizza in touch [less aggressive rugby] and netball [slower version of basketball]. Tuesday’s are trivia at Uni Bar where you get a free dinner of wedges for every team.  Wednesday is the big Uni Night and not one passes without a themed event.  Thursday is karaoke, followed to ‘Townie Friday’ when the DJ only plays those songs your parents love. And then the weekends, well they’re for study, sport and working.

In Australia, you can legally drink and purchase alcohol when you turn 18.  And that brings me to the humble goon sack.  It sounds dirty and gross and Bogan [Australian version of a redneck] and it definitely is all three.  This cheap wine (usually sweet white wine) comes in a foil bladder with a tap dispenser, all presented in a cardboard box. It is a Uni students’ best friend and worst nightmare and I would recommend mixing it was black currant juice.  I have yet to find the American alternative.

In Australia it is very uncommon, almost unheard of, for Uni students to share rooms.  In Diggings, my dorm is made up of three double story buildings with eight single rooms on each floor.  The eight individuals on these co-ed floors share a retro style bathroom and kitchen/lounge room.  The dorm is supervised by an RA, who is also the coach, tutor, counsellor, party organiser, decorator and costume designer.

There are no sororities or fraternities and sport is more often played for enjoyment and fitness than competition.

Bathurst is home to Australia’s most famous car racing track, Mount Panorama.  Every October, the town swells as people make a pilgrimage to the Bathurst 1000.  During the rest of the year this four-mile track is a great way for students to stay fit or to test their own driving skills.

Because our campus backs onto bushland, it is quite common to see a few kangaroos, especially during the holidays when minimal students remain on campus.

Note from the Editor-In-Chief: The Highland Cavalier chose to leave in the letter s when we would typically use a z in order to to respect the Australian spelling


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