27 January 2023

'446 students supported': Registration reopens for Griffith and Leeton Country University Centre

| Oliver Jacques
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Annalise Bugge

Annalise Bugge wanted to go to uni but didn’t want to leave her family. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Registration for the 2023 academic year has opened for the Western Riverina Country University Centre (CUC), a growing facility enabling students to undertake their tertiary studies remotely while living in Griffith and Leeton.

CUC centre manager Shiron Kirkman says 446 students have been supported since the centre opened in 2019 – with some students completing their entire degree via CUC.

“Anyone studying a Certificate IV or higher can register to access our Griffith and Leeton sites. This provides free access, seven days a week, from 5 am to midnight,” Ms Kirkman said.

“I encourage all tertiary students to take advantage of the centre and all it has to offer.”

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So what are the benefits of staying in Griffith and Leeton via CUC to do your degree as opposed to moving to a city with a university campus? Region caught up with Annalise Bugge, who has completed most of her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of New England in her home town of Griffith thanks to CUC.

Why did you choose to stay in Griffith and do your degree instead of moving away to study?

I was going to go away to Canberra but I thought, ‘Oh, all my family are here’. I’m a big homebody so I thought I don’t think I’ll move, I’ll stay. I found out I could do my degree online. I didn’t want to leave my family.

I also quite like studying online. I did year 12 at Marian Catholic College mostly online during COVID in 2020 and thought it was a good way of learning.

Do you really need CUC if you can just study at home or at the library?

I don’t think I would have enjoyed my uni course without CUC. I remember studying for my HSC at the library and it was noisy, but here it’s so quiet, you can get in and get your work done without distractions.

The support is great here. I like that it’s open so late, so I can stay if I have to. I love that they help me, Shiron and Oumi [Karenga-Hewitt] help me with my assignments and they’re always accessible. The computers are always available and the internet is fast.

woman at CUC open day

When she’s not on stage performing, Oumi Karenga-Hewitt can be found at the CUC. Photo: Facebook.

But don’t you feel you’re missing out on all the parties and socialising of campus life?

Not at all. I have my social life in Griffith, all my friends are here. We catch up regularly and do things after dinner. I’ve also made friends here at CUC. I met a girl who is also doing a Bachelor of Education. I ask her some questions as we often do assignments at the same time. They also have seminars where you can meet other people.

Do you still get to experience the practical/face-to-face side of things if your degree is done remotely?

Yeah, I do. I got to do my first prac at Hanwood School. It was familiar and the whole experience was really good. I now work full time as well as studying full time.

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How much money do you think you would have saved by staying in Griffith to do your degree?

I would’ve saved thousands. University accommodation is so expensive, and so is food. Here, my mum cooks for me. I don’t have to pay for bills or electricity. I just spent the weekend in Sydney and the amount of money that was spent was crazy. I’ve definitely saved so much money.

Who is your role model?

My mum, Megan Bugge. She is a hard worker and she’s someone I’ve always looked up to.

What would you like to do once you graduate?

I’d love to be a primary teacher at St Patrick’s in Griffith. Teaching is really rewarding.

Registrations are now open through the CUC website or by emailing an expression of interest to: [email protected].

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