A capital life for students

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 09:37 21/02/2013
Mt Vic
REBECCA THOMSON

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The Wellingtonian

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Amy Jackman looks at the ins and outs of student life in Wellington.

Thousands of new students are pouring into Wellington at the moment, ready to start university in the next couple of weeks.

They are filling up the halls of residence and student flats, and learning how to get around and what to buy.

Living in a new city, especially when it is the first time away from home, can be daunting.

Wellington City Council, the police and ACC have run "Safe in the City" campaigns since 2007, targeting 18 to 25-year- olds going out in Wellington's entertainment area.

This year's campaign is called "Stick with the pack". It was created by third-year Massey University design students.

The main feature is a free smartphone app, The Pack, through which users invite Facebook friends to be part of their "pack" for the night.

They can then track their friends' whereabouts through mapping technology to ensure everyone stays safe or finds lost friends.

Other functions include the ability to send out a call for help to other pack members and links to public transport and taxis.

Police community constable for Wellington universities Jane Gowans said there were a few important things all students should do.

"Learn the routes to and from class, the gym and work. What buses there are and what time they run to. If it's late and you're alone, don't take dark alleyways.

"Get to know people on the same floor as you or in your class.

"If you are with a group of people you have someone who will be looking out for you.

"It's not just about going to town. It's important to make sure you are safe when you are walking to and from the movies or going home late from uni.

"We are not saying there is a monster hiding around every corner, but it is important to not put yourself in a situation where you could become a victim," she said.

"If a situation doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Trust your gut.

"It's normally right. If it is saying get out then you should remove yourself from that situation by whatever means necessary."

She said students should all load in case of emergency, or ICE, contacts into their phone and write down the serial numbers of valuable items, including phones, laptops and tablets.

Emergency contacts should be people living in the same city as the student, she said.

Wellington universities also offer a range of great events to introduce students to the city and student life.

Victoria University Students' Association president Rory McCourt said the students' association aimed to represent the students in everything.

"Anything that involves students we try to be there," he said.

"We make sure they know about our food bank, members events, support services and we even offer flu jabs at the beginning of the year so they aren't sick during winter.

"Our job is to make sure the students get through the year. Especially when they are feeling homesick or a little lost."

STUDENT LIFE

Banks

Most banks have a student account. These generally have overdraft options, no fees, an iPhone and Android app and some added extras to entice you to favour one bank.

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Studylink

Make sure your student loan is sorted before classes start. That way your student allowance or student living cost payments start straight away and you can pay for important items such as rent and food.

Food and drink

Many bars, cafes and restaurants have student specials on quiet nights or Wednesday - student night - including places in the suburbs.

Public transport

Sadly, there is no student discount on Wellington public transport. However, the red Snapper card offers a 20 per cent discount on the base fare and can be used at other places.

- The Wellingtonian

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