Twin brothers Stephan and Wilhelm Burger are PhD candidates at the University of Melbourne studying Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Originally from South Africa, they have been living at UC for three years and share some insight into graduate life at UC.
As an international student, how has UC helped you?
Moving to a different country is both exciting and scary because of the uncertainty. UC provided a very friendly environment where we could meet people who were in the same position. From day one, we felt part of the group and social life that UC presents. It also made the transition so much easier. We didn’t have to worry about rental agreements, power bills, internet, or even how to get a myki.
What is UC beyond a place to eat, sleep and study?
UC is a little island and we love islands. UC is a community where friendships are formed and on occasions these friendships last for a life time. It is a relaxed environment where you can be yourself and enjoy all that the student lifestyle has to offer.
How does living at college assist with your academic goals?
As PhD candidates, we don’t have any course work so we don’t get direct help in the form of tutorials. However, we have study sessions every second Sunday, which creates a productive environment to get some work done. The convenience of living in college allows you to focus more on the studies. Yes, FOCUS more. No cooking, chores, cleaning, groceries or hours of traveling to and from Uni.
What are the opportunities that UC has provided you with?
After our first year at UC we became resident tutors, which involves tutoring and mentoring of first year students during their transition from high school to university. This is a great opportunity for both personal and career development, which I wouldn’t have experienced elsewhere.
Is it easy for Graduates to mix with a cohort of Undergraduate students?
At UC the graduates have the opportunity to be part of the student club, which allows us to participate in all of the social events. Grads also play sports with the undergrads and share common facilities, which makes it really easy to mix.
How do you think UC facilitates such wonderful relationships?
We think it is rather the students and community feeling among the students that facilitates the great relationships. UC provides the environment where we can meet each other and of course O-week normally creates the spark that is needed to start these relationships.
If you could sum up UC in one word what would it be?
5 star (technically one word and one number). The first time we walked through the front door we literally thought we were in a hotel. No jokes.