During her gap year, Tess Riordan worked with children with disabilities in Wodonga, Victoria. She got a real kick out of watching the children grow and learn new skills. Knowing that she wanted to continue being part of this process, Tess enrolled in Charles Darwin University’s Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree.
Tess was keen to experience a completely new lifestyle and be part of a thriving, multicultural community, so she uprooted her life from her small country hometown in North-East Victoria to complete her studies at CDU’s Casuarina campus in Darwin.
I wanted to live on campus because it’s close to the university and an easy way to make friends, and be part of a community
Tess, being very close to her family, quickly became part of the fabric of the International House Darwin (IHD) community.
“I wanted to live on campus because it’s close to university and an easy way to make friends, and be a part of a community. I’m very close with my family and see them often, so going from seeing them on a regular basis to only phone calls and FaceTime has been different for me,” Tess said.
“However, the activities offered at IHD and friends I have made through living there have made this change in my life really easy for me.
I don’t ever feel lonely and always have something to look forward to
Residing at IHD has given Tess the opportunity to live with people from all over the world and learn about their cultures and languages.
“I’ve already made some great friends, and it ’s the close-knit community that made living away from home really easy,” Tess said.
IHD organise lots of events that allow residents to get out and enjoy other people’s company and just unwind. "I don't ever feel lonely and always have something to look forward to."
Tess (centre) with fellow students enjoying one of the many activities held by International House Darwin
Whilst university life is independent, Tess has found that the lecturers are more than happy to assist if students need additional support.
“CDU also offers a lot of opportunities for students such as studying abroad, in remote Australia or opportunities to get involved in activities around the uni,” Tess said.
When she graduates from her Education degree, Tess hopes to work in schools in remote or rural areas across Australia.