When you arrive at a regional (aka country) centre from the city to attend University, it’s OK to feel a tiny bit out-of-place in the Land of Oz.
But before you curse the yellow brick road, write off the locals as bumpkins (or should I say munchkins?) and click your heels for the city…
…let me introduce you to some of the unique opportunities you should try at least once while living and studying in a regional centre.
Everything is accessible
Say goodbye to peak hour traffic* as you travel from one side of town to the other in under 20 minutes! Gyms, supermarkets, museums, gardens and libraries are in close proximity and easily accessible by car. If you’re without a car, town buses typically run during the day and in Wagga Wagga the Busabout service can take you from the CBD to Charles Sturt University hourly.
Plus you can use your evening after closing time of late night shopping to practice your Aussie slang at the pub!
*If you ask the locals, peak hour still exists (that is, cars actually line up and stop for a moment!)
Expand your vocabulary
While you’re living in “the country” it is the perfect time to practise your Aussie slang! Start with a friendly ‘G’day!’ Next try your hand at ‘Crikey!’ For extra kudos, throw in ‘Stone the crows!’ or ‘Struth!’ Now practice the drawl: elongate your vowels and drop the ‘g’ as in ‘Staaaarvin lizards!‘ This could earn you some respect at your local watering-hole (aka pub)*.
*Or not. We don’t really talk like this (we’re not the country bumpkins you think we are!)
Play bush footy
One thing regional centres do really well is sport. If you’re looking to meet people fast, want to attend some great social events, and maybe even stay fit along the way, look no further than the local footy club. Sports clubs are the lifeblood of many country towns and a surefire way to make new friends. At CSU, you may be able to join an Australian rules, rugby union or netball team playing in local competitions, or join a social sporting team that could have you representing CSU at the Uni Games!
Embrace bush dancing
Bush dancing (not to be confused with line dancing) was the social event in Australia’s colonial heyday. Today, bush dances still boast a friendly community atmosphere, uniquely named and easy-to-learn dances such as ‘The Drongo’ and out-of-this-world instruments like the lagerphone! Callers at bush dances even teach you the steps before dancing to music provided by the local bush band. At Wagga Wagga you can join the community bush dance held on the first Saturday evening of every month at Downside Hall for a gold-coin donation.
Explore your horizons
Surrounding regional centres are smaller country towns featuring quirky cafes, museums and stores. Think of Junee for its Liquorice and Chocolate Factory, Young for fresh cherries by the box or Coolamon for Ajanta café (open Friday-Sunday). Take in the unique attractions and heritage of towns around you on day trips in the country (they’re also perfect opportunities to give yourself a study break with your new uni friends!)
With all the possibilities and advantages that regional centres hold, it’s no wonder two top-trending Australian cities are home to CSU campuses! As you embrace life in a regional centre you’ll see it’s really the Emerald City!