By Honor Cessford, The Australian National Univeristy, Australia
I must admit, when I found out I was going to be living in Canberra for a year I was a little apprehensive due to its reputation. If you haven’t heard, Canberra is known to be a boring, lifeless city – however this is far from the truth! I am writing this as I finish my first semester at ANU, and I can say I love Canberra!
The city is small in comparison to Sydney and Melbourne, however this makes it great for student life! The ANU campus is located a mere 15-minute walk away from the city centre, meaning everything is accessible by foot. Civic is home to a large shopping mall, and many tasty restaurants – CBD Dumpling House and Pizza Gusto are two of my favourites! Canberra also has a great public transport network consisting of trams and buses, making transport to the suburbs super easy.
ANU is situated at the foot of Black Mountain, meaning there are plenty of walks through the bush close by. Further to this, Mount Ainslie look out is a 15-minute drive away, where you can get a 360 view of the city! The Australian National Botanic Gardens are located just behind my accommodation and the National Zoo and Aquarium is a short drive away. Furthermore, in Spring Canberra hosts a flower festival called Floriade which provides for a fun and picturesque day out!
There are plenty of places to study at the ANU, and the National Library by the lake is a beautiful building. ANU also hosts an array of food outlets on campus, meaning you are spoilt for choice at lunch time! Lab is a favourite brunch spot of mine, located in Kambri, the social hub of ANU! Further to this, campus is full of green space, perfect for sunbathing and allowing for outside study in the summer. There are two gyms located on campus, a mere 5-minute walk from most accommodations, meaning staying fit and healthy is super achievable. There is also a small shop on campus which stocks everything you need, meaning a trip into Civic for a food shop is not always necessary!
I live at Burton and Garran Hall (BnG), which is conveniently located on campus. BnG is renowned for its social, inclusive nature and has a great social bar open every night known as Spidies. Here you can a grab snack or a drink and socialise with friends in the lounge, or play a game of pool, ping pong or even table football. Upon my arrival in bush-week, many events were put on to make new residents, including exchange students, feel very welcome. These ranged from fancy dress parties to open mic nights, which were very fun! The kitchen is a great place to socialise; it is said to be the largest non-commercial kitchen in the Southern Hemisphere! The laundry facilities are free – so no need for Circuit Laundry! I would definitely recommend BnG to anyone who is keen to meet like-minded people, however if you prefer privacy and your own space, a UniLodge apartment would be a better option.
Overall, life at ANU is great – I couldn’t recommend it more as a study abroad destination! Canberra is a great city however it is missing a beach! I am looking forward to travelling the East Coast in my Summer break.