University of Queensland student, Neika Chatfield, knows a thing or two about living away from home.
Along with her sister, Sedisha, the Bundaberg born and raised student made the move to Brisbane to complete her engineering studies at UQ, and now calls UniLodge’s Student Living Gailey in St Lucia home.
Living in modern student accommodation on the doorstep of Brisbane’s bustling CBD, Neika is thankful for the connections she has made at her student accommodation which have helped her settle into uni life more easily, while living away from home.
“Moving away from home and to a bigger city can certainly feel daunting, but I felt at home right away at my UniLodge residence,” said Neika.
“It’s not just about the close proximity to uni and the flexibility UniLodge offers, I’ve actually been lucky enough to build some really important friendships over time while living here, and these connections have proven to be even more important during these past few months,” added Neika.
For most students, the past few months during the COVID-19 crisis has seen study plans shift, and living arrangements change overnight. For Neika, nowhere else could have felt more like home during this time.
“When COVID-19 really started to hit, I couldn’t have felt more like I was at home,” said Neika.
“We were regularly kept updated with daily emails, provided unlimited WiFi to assist with our studies, and posters were put in our building to remind us how to stay protected,” added Neika.
“What was even more special, though, was how we all still felt like a part of a community. Living at UniLodge is more than student accommodation and more than just living in apartments with one another, I was able to experience an adapted version of our diverse Community Spirit Program, which included virtual hang outs and socially distancing trivia.
“I was able to mingle with other students, many of whom are from other cultural backgrounds, so we were all able to help make sense of what was going on.
“These experiences were so important to help us all feel connected and part of our own little community, while the world was changing around us,” added Neika.
But there’s one person that Neika thanks for supporting her and continuing to help make the uni experience so memorable at UniLodge.
“Robyn, who sits in our main office, is truly my second mum at UniLodge. She’s even met my mum, and the whole time I’ve been living in my student accommodation, she has always been a valued source of trust and advice - helping me grow into a better person,” said Neika.
“She really cares about all of us like we were her own kids, and we are so lucky to have her and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” added Neika.
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