By ShuHui Yong, StudyPerth International Student Ambassador
Commonly known as College Row, The University of Western Australia’s five residential colleges are located just across the road from the Crawley campus. Each college is unique and different from other colleges.
The thought of living with hundreds of other students may be one of your worries as an international student, especially if you have only just landed in the country.
To be honest, I was unsure of what to expect of my residential college experience in Perth. However, looking back, I needn’t have worried. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time living in College Row for nearly a year. Let me share with you some elements of college life.
It’s the busiest day of the year. As the contract for the lease starts on that day, naturally, everyone will be moving into their rooms on that day. It is completely normal to get lost in the different wings in college for the first few days, but you will learn your way around very quickly.
If you would like to avoid the move-in day chaos, you can move in a day or two before the start of the contract; however, different room rates apply.
During the first week, the residential college will host O-Week activities for 'freshers', or first-year residents, to ease the transition into living on campus. In no time at all, the college atmosphere will transform into a vibrant, cheerful melting pot of culture as residents familiarise themselves with each other and the college facilities.
Lectures that are 10 minutes away
A great benefit of living in a residential college is that you are only minutes away from the university itself. This means you can enjoy the facilities offered by the university, including the gym and library that are with a 10-minute walk away.
Most residential colleges accept non-UWA students as well, and they are more than welcome to use the UWA facilities.
Wellbeing and support
Being so far away from home, it is easy to lose the sense of community and familiarity of the culture around you. It is natural to feel homesick and demotivated when life gets too busy.
All residential colleges provide wellbeing and support services. Each college appoints senior students to be Residential Advisors, whose role is to be a figure that residents can turn to when they are facing challenges. The Residential Advisor will try their best to provide support and advice on the situation while keeping everything confidential. If they deem it necessary, they will also seek professional help from the head of college or refer students to external professional counsellors.
Do something different
Over the past 11 months in college, I have accumulated many unforgettable experiences. I have learned new skills, made new friends and done things differently. I think that being in a culturally diverse environment exposes you to many different perspectives, opinions, and cultural experiences. Many of the cultural, sporting and social activities held over the year welcome those who have not had the experience before. The friendly, hospitable and open culture in college always encourages residents to engage in the college community, share personal experiences and try something new. There are numerous opportunities for residents to develop professional skills, including volunteer projects, leadership and team-building activities, formal dinners, and networking events.
Tightly knit community
In college, you should expect to share certain facilities with other residents. Making friends in college is not difficult as friendship bonds form quickly through the interaction with other residents during meal-times or just bumping into other residents in the hallway. You will easily forge friendships that will last a lifetime with students from all over the world. Having your meals taken care of also means that you get to spend more time socialising, studying, and doing whatever you want!
Living in college is an advantage not many people get to experience. If you are considering accommodation when studying in Perth, I would recommend considering living in college row, or in residential colleges at other institutions.