In late July CEF took 18 senior students from Orange and Coleambally to Swinburne University of Technology’s Open Day in Melbourne. This marks the second year we have been able to provide this experience to rural and regional students from NSW, thanks to Swinburne’s generosity.
The weekend was bookended by some long bus rides but we found this enhanced the experience for the students, and allowed them to become fast friends.
Juliet, CEF’s go-to team member in Partnerships and Committees, hosted the 18 students and two teachers and only had praise for all those who went along.
“We know that successful young adults need a commitment and dedication to their learning and this is exactly what these 18 students did in attending the Swinburne Experience,” Juliet shares.
When asked what they were interested in seeing and doing the students had an array of answers, including:
“I am interested in seeing the whole university. Seeing as I have only just turned 16, I am really here just to explore what university is all about and see what it is like. My perception of university is that it is all study, study, study,” Brittany said.
“The mathematics faculty because I am interested in studying pure mathematics and getting a PHD one day,” Reiss also mentioned.
On the way home when asked what their biggest takeaway from the uni visit was, the students had a variety of answers:
“I found the overall experience very informative and interesting. Being from a small country town and never having visited a university before I found every piece of information interesting and new. I was especially amazed by the amount of support the ﬁrst years receive at the university which made me feel even more excited,” Lara said.
“I found it made me more excited to go to university. The atmosphere the uni gave me was incredible, the campus was beautiful, and they had every course I wanted making it easy for me to change if I needed. I loved the accommodation on the campus and could easily see my self ﬁtting in the Melbourne lifestyle.”
Reiss said he was surprised by the amount of information on offer.
“It was interesting how many diﬀerent occupations you can do with one degree and how open your career choices are even with a speciﬁc degree. I am deﬁnitely still going to uni but my plans are deﬁnitely able to be more detailed and reﬁned since visiting Swinburne,” he said.
For Steph, she said it made her more confident to choose a university in a city she is unfamiliar with.
“Should I not get into my first preference Swinburne is a close second choice for me to pick. The open day helped me to discover the possibility of moving to Melbourne and the experience made me realise that Swinburne is a serious choice of universities,” she shared.
It was an invigorating experience for Juliet too, who says she was impressed by the students’ willingness to take everything on board and embrace the whole weekend.
“It really was such a great trip. They were a fabulous group of students who were outgoing and willing to grasp this opportunity, they had a positive attitude towards the whole experience, particularly the 22 hours in a cramped high school bus which inspired group bonding from the get go,” Juliet said.
“Bringing students together from similar backgrounds from rural and regional NSW allowed them to realise that others face the same challenges and decisions as they do; moving away from family and friends for their tertiary education as well as potentially moving to a metropolitan city of which they have little to no experience or knowledge of.
“The camp was successful in opening their eyes to the reality of university life, the many options for courses and accommodation available to them and possible challenges they may face when the time comes to making a decision whether, where and which uni to choose.”
A big thanks to the students and teachers of Orange, Canobolas and Coleambally High schools for your time, efforts and enthusiasm. And of course, a massive thanks must go to Swinburne for hosting us and allowing us to experience your wonderful uni again.
Swinburne University of Technology is a proud education partner
of the Country Education Foundation of Australia.