Whether you’re already at school, looking to find a new school or even considering moving overseas to study, nothing beats hearing from the students themselves! We speak to Lauren Bartie a student about the ins and outs of studying at UTS Animal Logic Academy in Sydney, Australia.
What’s the name of your school?
What’s the name of the neighbourhood?
Ultimo - located right near the centre of Sydney.
Closest train station or public transport option?
The academy is positioned right next to Sydney’s Central Station, which makes access to public transport really convenient for its students.
How long have you been there?
I’ve only been at the academy since the beginning of this year, completing the academy’s accelerated Master of Animation and Visualisation. Emulating a real studio environment, the one-year course runs from January until December - 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
Why did you choose to study here?
I was drawn to study at Animal Logic Academy by the amazing amount the course has to offer. In addition to its incredible teachers and extensive learning resources, the Academy follows a unique, project-based teaching structure - providing an opportunity to collaborate closely with others in a realistic studio environment. I was also really excited at the chance it presented to make industry connections and meet an assortment of like-minded people passionate about the same field as I am.
The first thing you see when you walk outside your school?
Walking out of the Academy, the first thing you’d see would be the Goods Line - an urban walkway which directly connects Railway Square and Darling Harbour, converted from one of Central Station’s retired railway lines. Our building is situated right in the centre of the promenade, meaning that we conveniently have easy access to Central Station on one side and a five-minute walk to Darling Square on the other.
The closest shop to outside your school is:
Right outside the building is Cafe 80, which is definitely our studio’s lifeline. Not only is it there to help us with daily cravings - coffee, snacks, lunch, you name it - but it also transforms into a bar at night. Their all-night happy hour on Fridays has also become an ALA staple.
Your school is great, but you wouldn’t mind a bit less:
If anything, I wouldn’t mind a little less travel time. While the studio is very close to public transport, many of us have over an hour to commute each morning. Less daily travel time would probably give me more of an opportunity to ensure that I have my outside life together - giving me a little more time to recharge and focus on my/external interests and hobbies. At the moment, I find that bringing a book or my Switch along makes my longer commute a lot more enjoyable.
The unofficial uniform of your school is:
I’d say there’s a pretty even combination of students wearing vibrant, funky shirts and comfy hoodies, so they’re definitely both top contenders for our unofficial uniform.
A mandatory stop for anyone new to your city:
It really depends on what you’re into. If you like the Aussie beach scene, Coogee Beach and the more secluded Gordon’s Bay are top of my list. For great food (especially brunch), I’d recommend checking out the huge variety of restaurants and cafes in Surry Hills, which is well-known for its stylish eateries. I’d also consider Newtown a mandatory stop for newcomers - the thrift stores there are unbeatable.
A common myth about your school is:
One I’ve heard from a handful of friends is the assumption that we’d all be majorly sick of/struggling with the 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday schedule that ALA runs by. While the hours are definitely intense, we’re all really passionate about the projects we work on, and hugely enjoy our time in the studio. Honestly, the time flies by most of the time - often students will arrive early and leave late!
A massive night out for students at your school is likely to be:
For ALA, a massive night out would probably involve several rounds of Friday Happy Hour drinks from our beloved Cafe 80, followed by some Korean Barbeque at one of Haymarket’s local joints. Recently, there’s been talk of late-night karaoke too…. hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze that into one of our upcoming hangouts!
You won’t find a better place to eat than at:
Definitely any of the local Chinese noodle joints at Haymarket, which is just down the street from our building. As UTS is in close proximity to Chinatown, there are dozens of small local restaurants that are great for cheap student eats - pan-fried dumplings being my absolute lunchtime go-to.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen at your school is:
I once witnessed one of my fellow students eating a bowl of baked beans and rice in the ALA lunchroom, which I found super strange. While some may call it a travesty to the culinary world, he insisted that it was a ‘must-have’ for the everyday university student.
One thing you’d never change about your school is:
I definitely wouldn’t change the people. After several months studying at ALA, we’re already such a tightly knit cohort of diverse personalities, ages and backgrounds. We all get along really well and often do a lot of social things after studio hours, so I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the year with everyone.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is:
Selfishly, I probably wouldn’t mind seeing the studio’s low lighting levels changed. While it’s really great for our digital workspaces, I’m really struggling to keep my desk plants alive! However, I do think I’d come to regret the added screen glare, so it’s definitely not such a bad thing overall.
Someone gives you $1M to pimp out your school. You use it to:
I’d probably put the money towards purchasing more tablets and gadgets that could be loaned out to students and some fun (and educational, of course) pre-paid excursions. I’d also probably put it towards an appreciation bonus for our ALA staff, who work really hard to make sure that everything in the studio runs smoothly for all of us. Oh, and a crazily decked out games room.
Author: Lauren Bartie - I’m a 21-year-old student based in Sydney and currently completing a Master of Animation and Visualisation at the UTS Animal Logic Academy.