When 19-year-old Holly left her hometown on the south coast of NSW for university, she was nervous.
Not only was she leaving home for the first time and heading to the city after living in the country, but she was also worried she might not find a supportive Christian group at uni.
When Holly decided to live at Robert Menzies College (RMC), on the Macquarie Uni campus, what she found was a warm community to live in and great support for her as a young Christian person.
From knowing no one, Holly now counts the friends she has made at college as “the closest people in my life.”
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For Holly, RMC bridged the gap between country and city.
“For regional, rural and remote students, this is a really good spot,” Holly said. “There are beautiful spaces and a bit of a slower pace, even in the city when everything is so big, fast and exciting. The community is almost like a family.”
Holly also found her Christian faith flourished while living at Robert Menzies College.
“I really love going to Crossroads, RMC’s Bible study, to affirm my faith and build that up,” she said. “Uni is a really good opportunity to make friends with people who you wouldn’t necessarily have been friends with back home. It’s good to find those people as well as groups like Crossroads. I make sure I keep my faith and have the opportunity to chat to people from other religions and backgrounds.”
“We see people become established in their faith while here at Robert Menzies,” said Robert Menzies College chaplain, Lily Strachan.
“We have a great community among Christian students. Often they’ve come from Christian families and schools. But as young adults they’re trying to work out who they are, what to believe and how they’re going to live.
“We get to speak into their lives through the Bible, to show them the goodness of the Christian life. And that the world’s messages of Christianity being ‘oppressive, or boring and only for old people’, are simply not true.”
RMC’s aim is for students to get the most out of their uni experience, successfully complete their studies and grow in maturity and wisdom.
“It’s a unique community in that we have domestic, international students and staff living alongside one another,” Lily says. “We welcome students from any background, culture and religion and are very respectful of that while still holding out Jesus and his teaching as important to consider.”
College Master Peter Davis says the College has had a rich history of pastoral care since its beginning 50 years ago.
“RMC has always been a place with a strong sense of community,” he says.
“Residents make deep friendships with both students and staff–and these friendships frequently last a lifetime!”
Because RMC is a ‘dry’ or no-alcohol college, Peter says it is attractive to people from diverse backgrounds. “The college works hard to provide a safe, supportive environment where students can thrive, especially when they move to live in Sydney for the first time. We welcome students from other universities as well.”
With rising costs, RMC understands it can be hard for regional families to afford College fees and offers several scholarships for this reason.
Regional and rural scholarships are available, and the College also offers several Campus Ministry Scholarships to Macquarie University for students with a passion for outreach.
After a year as a regular RMC resident, in 2023, Holly will return to college as the Student President.
“I’m really excited to provide the support that was so helpful to me, especially when I first moved here! Everyone was really good at being super welcoming and made everyone feel comfortable. So I’m excited to share that love!”
Heading to a different uni? Check out livingatuni.com.au for more options for supportive Christian accommodation.