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Derkenne Courtyard

How is it possible to feel like I am going to school when school is in the middle of what looks like a beautiful rainforest with paths and bridges leading to my classes? Aside from there being more mozzies (mosquitos) on campus than students and attending a campus with more than 345 acres of natural bush land, it makes getting out of bed a little easier knowing sights like this await me.


Because that’s what I’m here for, right? Of the six different campus locations, I attend class in Newcastle on the main Callaghan campus. I am currently enrolled in four courses: Contemporary Popular Music Culture Production and Use, The Australian Experience, Macroeconomics and Statistical Reasoning. Granted, everything is in English while I’m studying abroad, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t language barriers. I have found that some Australian accents are stronger than others, such as my history professor. It forces me to pay extra close attention in class to what he is saying.

University of Newcastle

I’ve found that you get out of class what you put into it. I went into this semester expecting to have numerous assignments and a test or two to add up to my final grade, but I was wrong. Most classes at the university will only have a few assignments worth 10-20% of your grade, meaning the rest of the percentage comes from your final and an essay or two, which from the classes I am enrolled in I have found finals 50% of my grade.


It took some time (literally) to get used to the 15-minute walk from one side of the campus to the other since I am used to a seven-minute walk across campus at my university back home. Although the campus is much larger and I only know a small handful of people, I somehow still manage to see someone I know everywhere I go, which is comforting. The campus doesn’t seem as big and scary once you are on it, and if you get lost at least you are surrounded by a nice scenery to have as a Snapchat story captioned “SOS: lost.”


The students on campus are very friendly and helpful, but the mozzies, not so much. The first week of classes I came home with more bug bites than I have freckles. However, when I’m not getting eaten alive by mozzies, I’m likely sitting outside in the quad catching sun and enjoying being in such beautiful natural surroundings.



There are so many delicious temptations on campus. Whether you want a meat pie for your walk to your next class or want to grab a quick drink after a long day, campus eateries have something for everyone. A popular place for students is Bar on the Hill, serving cheap and scrumptious options for breakfast and lunch. This is a great place to hang out with friends, grab a drink or burger (or both) and listen to live music.

Bar on the Hill

In the same building is Delish, which serves to die for sweet and savory crepes, kababs, sushi and smoothies. I’ve found this to be my favorite place to stop when I’m hungry; it’s located on both ends of campus. The great thing about this place is that nothing is over $10.


If you only have pocket change and need an on-the-go food, I recommend The Uni Bakehouse. They are open 8am – 5pm Monday through Friday, and sell cheap sausage rolls, meat pies and pastries. A single meat pie costs $2 or you can get a meal, which includes a meat pie or sausage roll, a drink and a pastry for only $7.50.

Spinach and cheese roll
Spinach and cheese roll

Lauren Manecke is a student at Drake University and a TEAN Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with TEAN in Newcastle, Australia