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Kirsten Barnes

A day in the life of a global studies student


A career in global studies offers, quite literally, a world of opportunities – and the chance to make a difference on a global scale. But what is life like as a global studies student? Well, during your degree, you’re bound to head overseas for an international study, and life, experience. But there’s a lot that happens on the home front as well.

We spoke to Bachelor of International Development Studies student Kirsten Barnes, who shared an average day with us. 

6.30am

“My alarm goes off! It’s earlier than I’m used to, but it gives me time to get ready for my 8am lecture. I live in student accommodation which has public transport links to my campus. So, I’ll catch the train to the closest station, and then take the free shuttle bus to campus. Once I’m on campus, I’ll sit with my friends are prepare for the lecture – just simple stuff like setting up our laptops, getting the lecture slides up and making sure that we have gone over the right readings for the week.”

8 – 10am

“My lecture goes for two hours, and I’ll listen and take notes. This one is about development theory and practice. I’ll ask the lecturer questions, and make sure I understand the course content. 

I enjoy my course. It has taught me to look at a range of issues from a various perspectives. And has challenged the way that I think about the systems and structures in place to help people, not only in other countries, but here in Australia as well.”

10am – 12pm

“After the lecture I have a quick midmorning break to relax and chat. I go to the campus cafeteria with my classmates and buy a late breakfast or a snack before my tutorial. Usually we spend this time catching up on our weekends and talking about our upcoming assessments.

My class is quite small, around 15 people, so we all know each other and our lecturer really well. I appreciate ACU’s smaller sized lectures and tutorials. It creates an open learning environment when everyone knows each other.

After we’ve grabbed something to eat, we head to our tutorial. Here, our lecturer discusses the relevant weekly reading, challenging us to think more broadly about issues and initiating discussion where different perspectives and opinions are shared. Once the tutorial is over, my classmates and I catch the shuttle bus back to the station and I take the train back to my accommodation and have lunch.”

Kirsten Barnes - Global studies student

Kirsten Barnes

12 – 2pm

“After lunch and a short break, I turn on my laptop and start working through my online unit called Global Health. I read either a scholarly article or textbook excerpt and make notes. In addition to this I watch a recorded lecture. I take notes to help me remember the content, especially facts and statistics that will be helpful for my upcoming assessments.”

2 – 4pm

“Now I usually have some down time. I find it helpful to take a break, otherwise when I go through course content I am less focused and get easily distracted. Sometimes I’ll watch an episode of a TV series that I am enjoying or read a book just to relax. Once I’m refreshed, I go through the readings for my next class, highlight key points and write down any questions that I may have for the lecturer.” 

4 – 6pm

“After going over my readings I go out for some exercise. I’ve been inside all day going through uni work. I explore my surrounds and luckily for me I live in the inner west of Sydney so I walk up around Newtown and get to know the area and locals well. After this I come back to my accommodation, relax, and prepare for dinner.” 

6 – 8pm

“Finally, it’s dinner time! I go downstairs into the common area of my accommodation and have dinner with a group of other students who live here too. We just chat and catch up on how our day was. It’s really nice and we have a real sense of community. There are people who support you, especially during the hard times when you have a lot of assignments to complete. After dinner, I go upstairs, listen to music and do a bit of reading and personal reflection, which I find really helpful.”

8 – 10pm

“I ring my family and friends. It’s really good to catch up, especially as I am living away from home. After this I watch a movie with some of my housemates and relax.”

10 –12pm

“It’s getting late, so time to prepare myself for tomorrow by packing my uni bag, preparing lunch, making sure my laptop is charged, and that I have all my textbooks with me (if they aren’t already on the online library). Then I go to bed and look forward to the next day.”

Interested in a study experience like Kirsten’s? Explore global studies at ACU.

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Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright @ Australian Catholic University 1998-2019 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G