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Moving from the Northern Territory to Wagga Wagga to start my dream course.

Moving from the Northern Territory to Wagga Wagga to start my dream course.


”It hasn’t been easy for a variety of reasons, but Charles Sturt made it worth it in the end. ” Lauren Bridgfoot moved away from her small home town in the NT to study her dream course at the Charles Sturt Wagga Wagga campus.

Written by Lauren Bridgfoot.

Moving away to university is hard enough just by going a couple hours away in the same state, but how about leaving home to move over 1000 kilometres away?

When I started university in first year, I moved from a tiny mining town in remote Northern Territory down to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, just so I could do the course I wanted.

Now, this decision was certainly not made on a whim, there were many factors coming into this decision but ultimately, I was choosing between Wagga Wagga, Adelaide, or Brisbane.

All of these were crazy far from home, so I had my work cut out for me choosing a new place to live. Being 2020, I couldn’t go and visit any of these places due to Covid, not to mention the general cost of travelling thousands of kilometres.

Lauren Bridgfoot.

The town I lived in had a population of around 3000 people, and my graduating class of Grade 12 in 2020 had just under 50 kids finishing high school (which was the biggest graduating class they’d ever had).

The options for our tertiary education in the NT were very limited, you can either move 12 hours away to Darwin, or do your course online.

These didn’t appeal to me and didn’t have courses I was interested in, so it was time to cast my search interstate.

This is the option many of my previous and current classmates looked to when finishing high school up there, even for most kids in the NT if they want a variety of options.

Like most of the people who lived in our town, my family originally came from interstate, but it’s still nerve-wracking moving thousands of kilometres away from your family to a new area where you don’t know anyone.

Lauren moving from her home town to Wagga Wagga NSW.

Now, why did I choose Charles Sturt, and Wagga Wagga specifically?

Well, the course I currently do, the Bachelor of Equine Science (specialising in business management), is only offered at two universities in Australia, so that was pretty limiting.

But I have had a passion for horses since I was a baby, so I’ve had my heart set on the course for a while.

When comparing the two available I was initially drawn to the other one just from a location standpoint (being one state closer), but Charles Sturt managed to pull me in with their specialisations (now called majors).

With the course here in Wagga, I could specialise in business management, which meant that I would be opting out of some more technical science subjects in favour of business ones.

For someone that loves science but didn’t especially excel in high school, this option just stood out by miles, plus it meant that I’d have that little bit of differentiation in my knowledge that would help in any industry outside of horses.

Other than the Charles Sturt course just looking better in general, I also felt more comfortable moving to a country ‘city’ than to a large metropolitan one.

Lauren completing her studies.

I lived in the NT for 10 years, it was going to be a major change wherever I went, but a transition to a smaller city just made my life so much easier, so much less stressful.

Moving out of home to university is incredibly stressful, regardless of where you go, so I wanted to choose somewhere I thought would suit my personality and experiences, somewhere I thought I might be able to thrive and be comfortable in time, which it certainly has allowed me to do.

I opted to live in student accommodation on campus primarily for the convenience. I could not imagine trying to organise furniture and renting all the way from the other end of Australia.

Private renting was something I considered in second year but trying to get a group of friends together and then sorting out a house as a bunch of young barely 20-year-olds was just not something that was going to work out when most of us didn’t even come from the Wagga area.

Now that I’m about to finish my course, I’m so glad I decided to take a leap of faith and move across the country.

It hasn’t been easy for a variety of reasons, but Charles Sturt made it worth it in the end.

The people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had have been incredible.

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