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Journals from Deakin University, Australia

2011-03-22 Life in the Village

Of the 17,000 students attending Deakin’s Burwood campus, only 200 are able to call the Student Village home for the year (or trimester). Students living off campus have to commute for hours on the tram or fight for one of the limited parking spaces every day. It takes me less than 10 minutes to walk to class and the path is through a lovely nature reserve. Lucky me J  The majority of students living in the village are first-year students who are “country kids” from places with amusing names like Wagga Wagga or Yarragundry. There are also about 25 international students from France, the US, Italy, Austria and Korea.

A family atmosphere is strongly encouraged in each unit. From 6-7 every night we have “family time” in the unit where everyone who is around gets together to have dinner or just have a chat. Of course, everybody has busy schedules, but there’s never been a time when I’ve eaten any meal alone. Unit sport starts tonight so the athletically keen members of my unit (E3) and my sister unit (C1) challenge another pair of units in netball. Netball is a similar to basketball, but there is no backboard behind the net and it’s a female dominated sport. I’m sure the guys will be joining in tonight J. As a whole, Aussies are very into sports. It’s not just the males. The girls are just as big into footie and cricket as the guys. The footie season has officially started and so has the betting in my unit. I think I’ll have to enlist an Aussie to help me make my bets since I can’t distinguish between the Geelong Cats, Gold Coast Suns, or Adelaide Crows.

Every other week is unit dinner. A pair of people cook dinner for the 8 other members of the unit. I expected that the freshman boys who cooked our first meal would prepare top ramen, but I was pleasantly surprised by the delicious risotto we were fed. My turn is next week and my partner and I will be cooking my homemade pizza and an Australian specialty  dessert called chocolate ripple cake.

There has only been one downside to living in the village and that was the Resi Rumble. As tradition dictates, all the incoming students were awakened at 5:00 am by screaming RAs who were banging pots and pans. Covered head to toe in camo gear, our “drill sergeant” RAs smudged vegemite on our faces, made us wear garbage bags as dresses and smash tinned spaghetti on our hair. Then it was off to the city for a bizarre scavenger hunt that included rapping for strangers and jumping on moving trams. Though the cross-city sprint was a great way to see all the sights of the city like the parliament building, library, cricket/footie stadium, and the town square, I would have preferred it to be after the sun had risen and when I was not wearing a garbage bag!

 Dirty dishes may pile up in the kitchen and beer bottles may spill out of the recycle bin, but it’s a small price to pay for the wonderful friends I’ve made on res.



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