By Olivia Smith, History, Australian National University, Australia.
So before I came to Canberra I had pretty much no idea where I should apply to stay, which college would be best for me, or whether I should even stay in college at all. I kinda wish I had a little more guidance when applying for residence just because at the time I felt like I had literally picked a random place out a hat. Luckily for me I ended up loving where I picked but I figured I’d write a little guide so that anyone else going to ANU wouldn’t feel so baffled.
These residences are like the most expensive on campus for what you get, and theres 4 of them which are all pretty similar – Davey (the ‘party’ Lodge), Warrumbul and Kinloch (both pretty similar / pretty standard) and Lena Karmel (the newest / most swanky). Lodge residences are pretty good if you wanna just get on with your own thing and maybe not deal with heaps of new people etc. Each room is self contained so theres a kitchen / bathroom etc and you can basically live in there for days without leaving. Depending on who you are this may suit you well, but yeah you decide. UniLodge makes up the biggest residence but it’s not a very social system, unless you’re in one of their flats with 4 rooms & a shared kitchen / bathroom. Most of my international friends were in Lodge, and it is made up mostly of international students, not really sure why. They’re modern and nice but you do pay more for that. Also the admin there aren’t the best, they’re probably gonna try and charge you for every possible cent so watch out for any hidden fees. These residences are on campus but the other side of uni to the other halls.
Fenner is the only off campus residence, and it takes a solid half an hour to get to class from there if you walk but if you’re lucky (and most people aren’t) there’s a few busses that take you to campus on the hour I think. It’s huge, filled mostly with international students (not sure why) and is self catered. You get a shelf in the fridge and a cupboard where you keep all your food stuff and then theres a huuuuuuge shared kitchen with like 100 stoves. It feels kinda like a hostel, especially the common rooms etc. Idk how to explain but it’s very social and pretty much lively all the time; if you wanna get involved in social stuff it’s super easy to. Shared bathrooms, mostly co-ed but some separated and pretty big rooms similar to the ones in Owens Park in Manchester. Pretty good overall just the walk there and back would deffo give me reservations about choosing it. Also I think it’s being knocked down soon ? Double check that one.
If you do research on ANU colleges you’ll probably read about John’s reputation. They’ve kinda got a bad rap as the ‘jock’ college of ANU, and they’ve had some bad press about sexual harassment and just nasty behaviour from some of the boys there who probably thought they were God’s gift to Earth etc. Having said all that, I didn’t actually meet a Johns student that I didn’t like, there’s bad people in every college so you just have to pick who you hang out with I guess. They do go out a lot, drink a lot, and make lots of noise, so if you wanna spend your semester doing that then Johns is the place for you, you may just get stereotyped as a bit of a **** by a few narrow minded people. They’re also good at sports (if you’re keen to do well in sport go to Johns or Burgmann). This college is run by the Church so it’s harder to get into because they can really vet who they let in. Also v. social, good sized common rooms and games rooms etc. Johns is on Daley Road super close to Burgmann, B&G, Bruce and Ursula.
Burgmann students are known for doing Law and Arts, they’re kinda seen as annoying by people who don’t go there because they’re “classic North-shore Sydney” aka Daddy pays for everything. BUT I’ve met a few of them and they do seem really nice so again, probably just a stereotype. Another catered hall with rooms kinda like Owens Park. It’s more expensive than the other catered halls but the prices are all on the info bit on the ANU site. They’re good at sports and arts and do well in most of the inter-college competitions (which there are loads of). They’re also a private college so maybe harder to get into. Another social college with all the group spaces.
Burton & Garron (B&G)
I don’t really know much about B&G so this’ll be short. This is where (so I’ve heard) all the international students apply so it’s kinda hard to get into. No idea about the size of the rooms but it looks nice from the outside, pretty standard uni halls I guess. Also social but self-catered, and they do averagely well in the competitions.
Bruce is super new and frickin’ huge, with a mix of catered and self-catered rooms. It’s run by UniLodge so beware. I also know v. little about this one soz.
Griffin is weird cus it’s not an actual Hall. It’s for students who have moved off campus or live in a share house etc. but still want to get involved with all the college stuff and compete in the competitions etc. They have a common room in the middle of campus but that’s about it. Good if you wanna make friends etc but wanna live in a house.
Best till last! I stayed in Ursies and loved it. I chose it because it was the cheapest catered option; didn’t want the hassle of cooking and figured I’d be able to have a better idea of spending etc. without food bills. Rooms are kinda like Owens Park again, and it’s the only college where all the bathrooms are gender specific (good or bad you decide). It’s the smallest college with only 250 people but that was super nice because I pretty much knew (or knew of) everyone. Super social & super friendly. Unbeknown to me when applying Ursies kinda has a rep for just being there and not really being good at much. We didn’t come last in anything while I was there but I’d probably agree that for most Ursies students it’s the taking part that counts lol, no offence to all my friends. I’m not super competitive so this suited me well & I liked just having fun & using stuff more as a social opportunity etc. but if you’re into sport and competition maybe don’t pick Ursies. We dominate some arts though so it’s kinda hit and miss. I think I had such a good time here because I made such good friends and I found a group of people that were so similar to me. You’ll deffo get judged when you tell people you go here so if you’re all about that then pick somewhere else, but I loved it. Also good because laundry was included, where some of my mates would pay like $9 every wash.
There’s also a newer building off Ursies which is Ursula Laurus Wing. It’s still a part of Ursies but self-catered and more independent. You can still get involved in all the college stuff but it is kinda separate so Main wing is maybe better for making friends. Up to you.
Anyway, essay over; I hope I’ve helped ! Good luck choosing xo xo