University students broadening their horizons on regional trip

LEAVING THE CITY: Western Sydney University students on the steps near the Orange Regional Museum on Wednesday. Photo: MAX STAINKAMPH 1207MSwsu2
LEAVING THE CITY: Western Sydney University students on the steps near the Orange Regional Museum on Wednesday. Photo: MAX STAINKAMPH 1207MSwsu2

Trading smashed avocado for a life in the country is a daunting prospect for many city slickers, but Western Sydney University (WSU) is trying to show its students a glimpse of regional life. 

About 20 students from WSU had a tour of Bathurst and Orange this week and visited Orange City Council, the Department of Primary Industries, Orange Anglican Grammar School and Centacare in Bathurst.

WSU careers supervisor Wendy Truelove said she based the tour on her experience of living in the country, which included a stint living in Orange. 

She put a call-out for students interested in having a career in a rural area.

“It’s a an opportunity for them to see what rural communities are like and to see what type of jobs are here and having a look around and talking to businesses and employers,” she said. 

Ms Truelove said life in the country was attractive to young people. 

“Coming from Sydney, the commute time, cost of parking, tolls, they’re all huge draw cards,” she said. 

Nursing student Amanda Costa has loved the tour. 

“I live in Penrith and my dad has five acres but I’m a city girl, every weekend I spend most of my time in the city, so it’s a hectic busy life and I wanted to see what it would be like in the country,” she said. 

“The quality of life is better and it’s more affordable but it’s so different from what I expected.”

Another student, Heather Richardson, is studying health sciences. 

She has loved the trip, saying it was “amazing” to be able to see new things. 

She has family in Orange, so regional NSW isn’t a strange place to her but she loves the idea of moving out of Sydney.

“There’s definitely big benefits in moving to a rural area and I’m definitely on that bandwagon and that tour has solidified that,” she said. 

Orange mayor Reg Kidd said the council “works hard” to attract people to Orange. 

“If you’ve grown up in western Sydney, the things about Orange that we take for granted are very attractive,” he said.

“Things like a five or 10-minute daily commute, the prospect of a much broader work experience, our sense of community … not to mention cheaper rent, are all big draw-cards.”