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July 04, 2020, 04:04:33 am

Author Topic: Accommodation/ANU lifestyle  (Read 701 times)  Share 

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s106

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Accommodation/ANU lifestyle
« on: June 01, 2020, 03:14:23 pm »
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Hi all, I'm considering attending ANU next year and was just wondering if anyone could tell me a little bit about studying there and if they enjoy it, particularly the overall vibe/friendliness of the university. I am considering a double of International Relations/International Security Studies, and am also curious if anyone knows the quality of these courses/job prospects available.

I'm also looking at on campus accomodation. I can't afford the catered colleges but I was particurly looking at Burton & Garran Hall, Fenner Hall or Wamburun Hall as less expensive alternatives, or potentially Kinloch Lodge or Lena Karmel Lodge but are less certain about the latter. If anyone has stayed in these accommodations, or has had experience with them I'd love to hear about it, and what they are like, as well as the the pros & cons.
Thank you!

strawberries

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Re: Accommodation/ANU lifestyle
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2020, 08:44:40 pm »
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Hi s106 and welcome to the forums!

I'm not very active on the forums anymore but a friend showed me this question so I thought I'd answer it :)
I'm currently an ANU student. International Relations is one of my degrees and I'm also living in a self-catered college.
I'm really glad I decided to come to the ANU and I've enjoyed my time here. I think it's just like any other university, there are some good and bad things. But overall, as someone from interstate, ANU is about 90% of people 'not local' (i.e not from Canberra) so you'll get to meet heaps of diverse people! :)

degree info
I've met a few people doing IR/ISS and most have transferred out of one or the other (usually IR) into something else as they have found the two relatively similar. IR is a very, very common degree at ANU. ISS isn't uncommon either, but ISS is taught within the College of Asia-Pacific (CAP), while IR is in the College of Arts & Social Sciences (CASS) and many people have argued that CAP does it better than CASS. Both IR/ISS offer a lot of very interesting courses (including many in which other unis don't offer similar courses!!), but I haven't taken many CAP/ISS courses myself so I can't talk about them but I do know that their administration/student office is very good at dealing with student requests/queries, unlike CASS. I've heard a lot of CAP courses being very interesting and most (except the compulsory courses) have small class sizes. 

I've quite enjoyed the IR portion of my degree, especially as someone who had limited background in it. A lot of students actually don't really like it though, so I can't really explain why. I particularly enjoyed the compulsory courses too. In IR, I guess you can also choose to 'specialise' in a region if you wish to and pick courses tailored to what you want. The only thing is, IR is an extremely common degree so it may look a bit boring if everyone has a "Bachelor of IR" on their resume.

With job prospects, there are many things you could do. Aside from DFAT, you could also go into other public service agencies such as the Department of Defence or Department of Home Affairs, or many other public service agencies (even if your degree is not relevant as the public service looks more at soft skills). You could also go into consulting, particularly as security is also sought upon now, and there's also stuff like research and think-tanks.

I'll be honest though, if I could pick again I'd choose Security over IR, despite my positive experience in IR I feel like it would have been even better in Security.

accommodation
I've stayed at both Burton & Garran Hall (B&G) as well as UniLodge (the group of Kinloch, Lena Karmel, Davey & Warrumbul). I think it depends on what kind you'd be after. UniLodge is self-contained apartments, ranging from single studios all the way up to 6-person shares. B&G, like Fenner and Wamburun - you have your own bedroom but you share bathrooms with people on your floor, as well as the kitchen with the whole college. Obviously the downside is having to share, and leaving your room if you need to use the bathroom or kitchen, but there is also an upside as the kitchen is a great avenue for socialising and meeting people.

Burton and Garran
I might be biased, but if you're deciding between B&G, Fenner and Wamburun - I'd pick B&G. Firstly, the B&G kitchen is massive and we each have our own dedicated fridge baskets (lockable) and kitchen appliance storage areas (lockable), as well as freezer sections (if we want to). We each have a designated spot basically to keep our stuff and a designated cooking bay, but we are allowed to leave it and use another bay if we want to cook with our friends. The kitchen can hold literally about 500 people. It often gets busy at dinnertimes (you will definitely have room though, just no peace & quiet) - so if you want somewhere quiet you might consider UniLodge. However, B&G is a very old building (many decades old), and there are no lifts so it is annoying if you have a room on the 3rd floor. B&G's rooms are also the smallest, but you do have free laundry (one of the only few colleges to do so I believe).

Wamburun/Fenner
I haven't visited Wamburun, but from what I've heard students do not have a designated area in the kitchen to keep their stuff (like pots/pans/cutlery etc.). However, the thing about Wamburun is that it is a very new building. Also, the rooms are larger than at B&G - students get double beds as well as a mini fridge in their room (you don't get a fridge at B&G but you can definitely buy a small one yourself to go under your desk). Fenner's kitchen is quite tiny, so you can't really fit a lot of people in there, and often you may have to keep your stuff with other people (I don't think you have allocated spaces like at B&G - I really can't remember but I did visit Fenner cos my friend lived there but I didn't seem to like it). Fenner is also a very new building, but they have had recent problems with their fire alarms constantly going off for no reason.

B&G is also cheaper than both Fenner & Wamburun, which kind of makes sense as it is very old, but you also get a great kitchen at B&G too. Fenner is very well located, in the middle of campus basically so easy access to many classrooms, the takeout places as well as the city. Meanwhile B&G and Wamburun are next to each other but it is a bit of a trek if you want to go to the city. In terms of culture, again I might be biased but B&G has a very long, established culture. Wamburun only came around in 2019 so they are very new, whilst Fenner has also been around for ages, but used to be off-campus so the culture has changed a lot since moving on-campus. If you're really into arts though, I'd say Fenner is pretty good for that, while B&G has great engagement in sports.

UniLodge
Obviously being self-contained apartments and relatively new buildings, the facilities are not bad. One downside is that you may have to clean everything yourself, whereas at the other residences the communal facilities are cleaned by cleaners. However, you may prefer to clean your own mess anyway :P. A lot of people have said that there is no 'social life' at UniLodge because everyone is stuck in their rooms but I don't really think so - it is up to students themselves to be involved. You could stay in your room the whole time, or 'force' yourself to meet people at events. The thing is, UniLodge's resident's committee have a *huge* budget and can afford *tonnes* of free food-related events. UniLodge is arguably the best located, it's only a 10min walk (like <1km) to the city.

At UniLodge, I lived in a single studio so I can't really speak to the experience of sharing or having bad housemates. However, you do have your own bedrooms within the apartment - just sharing the kitchen and bathroom and the larger apartments have a nice living room too. UniLodge's walls are also very soundproof unlike B&G. However, some people have had issue with UniLodge administration. As UniLodge is privately-owned (while B&G and Fenner are ANU-owned), they do charge quite a bit of high fees for things and will often try and find ways to charge you more (e.g. for cleaners to clean your room if you fail inspection). UniLodge also does not have free laundry ($3 per wash/dry). I also believe UniLodge owns Wamburun so I'm not too sure how Wamburun admin is run, but Wamburun does have their own residents committee separate to UniLodge!

I would definitely decide between UniLodge or B&G. B&G is also the cheapest too. But it depends I guess on what kind of kitchen/room setting you'd like and if you don't mind the location.

Sorry, I wrote quite a bit (procrastination!) but feel free to ask if you have any more questions :)
VCE '15
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s106

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Re: Accommodation/ANU lifestyle
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2020, 09:23:46 pm »
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@strawberries

Thank you so much for such a long and detailed response! I really appreciate it, I know similar questions have been asked many times before but often not for a few years, in which times things can change drastically.

How's the job scene in Canberra and how difficult is it to acquire casual work? I understand uni towns can be very competitive with limited positions, and I live in Sydney at the moment which obviously has many opportunities and is not difficult to secure a casual position.

I was also curious, I posted the same question on another forum and both you and another person said ISS/IR is similar and tends to overlap. Do you think pairing another degree such as Development Studies/Public Policy/Political Science would be more beneficial instead with one of them? If so, do you know the reputation of these degrees & whether people doing them have enjoyed them?

Thank you for your advice on accommodation! I think I would prefer somewhere with a communal kitchen to just have that extra social aspect. I don't really mind about location so I would be happy with a residence further away from the city. B&G would definitely be my first preference but I was just a little worried since we only get one preference, and I heard spots are quite limited to get into, given its good reputation and cheap prices, whereas with Wamburun, I might have more of a chance of getting a spot? I guess I'm cautious of putting B&G as my first preference and instead getting placed into uni lodge.


strawberries

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Re: Accommodation/ANU lifestyle
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2020, 02:23:55 pm »
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No worries, glad I could help :)

Responses below:
How's the job scene in Canberra and how difficult is it to acquire casual work? I understand uni towns can be very competitive with limited positions, and I live in Sydney at the moment which obviously has many opportunities and is not difficult to secure a casual position.
Spoiler
Now with COVID, it's probably harder. Not sure what it will be like next year but surely retail & hospo businesses will open up.
I'm gonna be honest it kind of was difficult for me, but others seemed to easily find work. I would recommend you get your ACT RSA ASAP though.
If you have a car and can travel far, it makes finding work easier as you could work in businesses outside the city. If you end up living at B&G/Wamburun you might need a bike if you want to commute to a place for work (like the city and the cafes in Braddon are about 1.5-2km away).

I was also curious, I posted the same question on another forum and both you and another person said ISS/IR is similar and tends to overlap. Do you think pairing another degree such as Development Studies/Public Policy/Political Science would be more beneficial instead with one of them? If so, do you know the reputation of these degrees & whether people doing them have enjoyed them?
Spoiler
I think it's up to you and what your interests are. A lot of people complement with something like law or economics/commerce but if you're not interested in these fields then obviously don't do it (just more so that economics in particular is quite employable!).

Regarding if the other degrees you listed are beneficial, it's kind of hard to say and it's more so about what skills you learn coming out of it but all could be fairly interesting and employable. Public policy (I believe) can also involve more policy studies outside the field of international affairs and also I believe basic sociology/economic tools to conduct research. Reputation wise, ANU's Master of Public Policy is very highly regarded but not sure about the bachelor's. If public policy is appealing though I would personally recommend doing it as a masters.

I believe Development Studies doesn't really 'fit' into a college's 'sub-school' at the ANU, and you will take courses across many fields such as political science, anthropology, Asian studies, environmental science & sociology. That can be a good thing I guess?

Political Science (personally) is very interesting but there is quite a bit more methodological stuff as you will have to learn game theory. But PolSci does overlap a lot with IR as they are both under the School of Politics & International Relations under CASS. You also get to learn about like political theory, comparative politics, AusPol etc if you're interested in those.

You could also look into Asian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies or even a European Studies degree if you are really interested in a country/a few countries from those regions! Within that you'll also get to learn about the language, culture and history :)

Again, you could always do a Bachelor of Arts as one of your other degree options as you can pretty much major in anything there :) (but then again, I understand that having a more 'specialised' degree may look better on your resume)

Idk if this helps. There's so many choices!!

Thank you for your advice on accommodation! I think I would prefer somewhere with a communal kitchen to just have that extra social aspect. I don't really mind about location so I would be happy with a residence further away from the city. B&G would definitely be my first preference but I was just a little worried since we only get one preference, and I heard spots are quite limited to get into, given its good reputation and cheap prices, whereas with Wamburun, I might have more of a chance of getting a spot? I guess I'm cautious of putting B&G as my first preference and instead getting placed into uni lodge.
Spoiler
(I moved to B&G in my 3rd year not by choice but by luck, UniLodge rejected me to return and I only got a spot at B&G because someone decided to leave)
I can't exactly remember what if was like when I applied, but we also only got 1 preference. I put B&G down and ended up with UniLodge so I can understand your fears. However I think in my application I stated that I had decent financial support so maybe that's why they put me there because I was more likely to afford it?? (not 100% sure, haha) I don't know if there's a section to add comments at the end, but if you can perhaps add something like "If I don't get B&G I want Wamburun as my 2nd choice" or something.
But UniLodge really isn't that bad, it has definitely improved (in terms of social life) in the past few years (from my observations)

Yeah B&G is popular but it is also very hard to transfer in to later on - many people from Wamburun and even Fenner, UniLodge & the catered colleges want to move there in their later years so if you end up at Wamburun you may not be able to transfer to B&G.
VCE '15
don't let dreams be dreams