Hi there, my name is Ilana and I am currently on exchange in ANU! I currently live in Burton and Garran Hall, one of the on-campus accommodations in ANU.
If you are an incoming exchange student or an international student looking for on-campus accommodation in ANU, please read on this post to find out more about Burton & Garran Hall.
Practicalities – Where is it located and how much does it cost?
Price: 227 AUD/week = around 1000 AUD/month. It is self-catered (meaning you will need to cook for yourself or get your own food – meal is not provided).
Is that expensive? Yes..but that’s just the standard here in Australia.
Can you get it cheaper anywhere else? On campus this is the cheapest option, but if you want to live off-campus you may find cheaper options.
Location: B&G is conveniently located on campus. It is merely a 7-minute (yes, I take the time) walk to the central new part of Campus (Kambri). Depending on where your classes are located, you will walk between 2 – 17 minutes to your classes. It really depends, as campus is relatively large!
How are the rooms and the facilities?
If you stay at B&G you will get your private room in one of the four blocks. The rooms are quite standard, but there are furniture and amenities inside including: a single bed, a nightstand, a large study desk, a walk-in cupboard, a sink and some shelves, racks and drawers for storage. The building is not newest on campus, so facilities are not the most modern, but that is really part of B&G’s charm. I would recommend bringing pictures, posters and other decors to really make the room your own. You could also buy plants or whatever suits your taste to pimp up your room (as I did!). The bathrooms are shared, but usually relatively clean as they get cleaned daily. There are several bathrooms per floor, so you definitely won’t have to wait for your shower in the morning.
In terms of other facilities, you do have everything you need for a comfortable and fun college life. B&G is for example one of the few halls that offer free laundry facilities for residents. Furthermore, according to a popular myth, B&G also hosts one of the largest non-commercial kitchens in the southern hemisphere! This means that there is always plenty of space to cook and share dinner with your friends at one of the dining tables. After Dinner, you may head to “Spiderbites”, also called Spideys, B&G’s own bar to grab a cheap drink or snack. There is a large common area with pool table, table football and ping-pong tables, where you will pretty much always find people playing. If you are not into those, you can also play some boardgames or just chill out at the sofas.
Events and Culture – What happens at B&G?
As one of the oldest halls on campus, B&G really developed its own cultures and myths. Many of them are related to the redback spider, which is why B&G residents are called “the Redbacks”. Within the Redbacks community there are fun things happening on a daily basis. There is a wide variety of interhall sports to choose from: Soccer, AFL, Badminton, Netball, you name it! If you are not feeling sporty, there is a large offer of interhall events organised regularly, such as trivia nights, talks or lectures. People at B&G will genuinely try to include you in these activities so you do not have to be shy as a newcomer, but you are of course never forced to show up either.
In general, from my experience, the staff as well as the senior residents are all incredibly open and will try their best to help you out. I think it is important to know that mental health as well as respectful, consensual relationships are a priority at B&G. You will be briefed in the beginning of the semester on who you can talk to if you ever find yourself struggling, but rest assured, you are never alone here.
What is the community in B&G like and who should stay at B&G?
This question is quite hard to answer, as it really depends on yourself. Generally, everyone is welcome at B&G and I find that is has a quite diverse community. There are a lot of international staying here, which means that you will meet people from all kinds of backgrounds. There is however also a big share of Australians which are always happy to share some tips about their country over a snack at Spiderbites.
As you have your own room, you do have some private sphere. However, you will rarely find yourself alone in the kitchen, and you are sharing a bathroom with people on your floor. Some bathrooms are unisex, which you should keep in mind in case that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you are very social, B&G is definitely a good option, as there is always something happening and comes easier than having a chat with your fellow residents in the common areas. Nevertheless, B&G can also be a great place if you are not the most outgoing person! There is really a great variety of people living here which means that it is easy to make friends with like-minded people, no matter what your interests are. However, if you would like to have more personal space while for example cooking or you don’t like the idea of sharing a bathroom with that many people, the lodges may be a better option for you.