Welcome to the University of Newcastle!
Welcome to the University of Newcastle!

Three hours north of Sydney, resting smack dab in the middle of a forest, lays the University of Newcastle. Boasting a large and beautiful campus, the university is anything but ordinary. When I say it is more akin to a nature reserve than a college, I’m scarcely exaggerating. Here are four surprising benefits of receiving an education amongst the rivers and trees at the University of Newcastle.

1. Campus is seriously beautiful

The campus is split into two main sections, the Hunter and Shortland sides. Both are are filled with a combination of unique artwork, natural scenery and state-of-the-art facilities. Many buildings have a view of brush lands, and there are numerous tables and benches scattered about, allowing endless opportunities for relaxation and appreciation. Although the campus has all of the luxuries of a town, including multiple restaurants, a post office, general stores and two on-campus bars, it carries the spirit of the virgin land it once was.

Finding a great lunch spot has never been easier
Finding a great lunch spot has never been easier

2. Nature is never far away

Separating the two sides of campus is a full-blown forest, complete with secluded lakes and dense tree groves. The Shortland hub building is, at most, 20 feet from the woods.

This is 5 minutes from many of my classes
This is 5 minutes from many of my classes

Although there are many paths and signs to prevent confusion and lost freshman, it is entirely too easy to wander off and wind up amongst the trees and birds. It is hard to be stressed about a test as you watch ducklings swim for the first time.

3. Quiet study spots are abundant

I’ve always been of the opinion that a beautiful view enhances the study process. Trading in the halogen bulbs and stale air of a study room for the invigorating sunshine of an outdoors gazebo does wonders for the brain.  If another student or a family of wallabies occupies your favorite spot, there will be always be another. Callaghan is a paradise for anyone that values studying outside, and it easily accommodates a large number of students.

The library can’t compete with Mother Nature
The library can’t compete with Mother Nature

4. Adventure beckons!

No one wants to come abroad only to spend their time in the basement of a building. At Newcastle, it is easy to remember that life is more than books and essays.

You have to go out of your way NOT to see views like this
You have to go out of your way NOT to see views like this

In addition to the in-campus forest, there is a nature reserve that borders the university, and several more within walking distance. Each has paths ranging from short and well traveled to winding and mysterious. For someone that loves exploring and discovering new places, it couldn’t be a better location.

Walking

So what are you waiting for? Put one foot in front of the other, take the road less traveled, and come to the University of Newcastle!

James Jolly is a student at Drake University and a TEAN Featured Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with TEAN in Newcastle, Australia