Photo: Nizar Noor
Photo: Nizar Noor

College living: a home away from home

Living away from home from the first time can be a challenge for any young person. For international students studying at Macquarie, it is often combined with their first experience of living in a different country, with an unfamiliar culture and customs.

For Bachelor of Information Technology student Leon Dhemba, the transition to Australian university life was made easier by his decision to live at Robert Menzies College (RMC) – one of Macquarie’s two supported residential colleges.

“My friends advised me that me settling in is made easier by living on campus,” the Zimbabwean recalls. “I chose RMC as it’s a good institution with great values.”

Not having lived away from home before, Leon says his first week in Australia was ‘a little nervy’.

“It was quite a change for me,” he recalls. “But it was made much easier by the warm, friendly and welcoming nature of the Australian people.”

Being surrounded by other new international students, as well as RMC’s friendly Australian residents, Leon says it didn’t take him too long to make new friends.

“Because I was from a different country and everything was so new to me, I did keep to myself for a while,” he says. “But then a few people said hi to me and I saw that it was easy to talk to people. I got to know everyone by just talking to them really.”

“The students living on campus come from diverse places and backgrounds,” he adds. “I have met people from every continent in the world and living with them is helpful because, like you, they are also new to the country and culture.“

Leon says he appreciates having all the conveniences of home, as well as communal spaces to hang out.

“There are various common rooms at RMC for when you want to chill with friends,” he says. “I really enjoy the TV room when the football – or soccer, as it’s called in Australia – is on.”

“The unlimited internet is fast, which is great, and there’s a laundry room which is really convenient.”

As for the meals, which are provided for students choosing RMC’s fully-catered option, Leon gives them thumbs up.

“The food is very good,” he says. “We don’t eat much lamb in Zimbabwe, so I enjoy the lamb they serve. And while I don’t often wake up in time for breakfast, when I do I enjoy the bacon!”

Robert Menzies College offers a variety of fully-catered, semi-catered and self-catered rooms. Read more about on-campus accommodation options at Macquarie.

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