Cassidy Macmillan, studying overseas at Grand Valley State University in the US

I left Australia searching for some sort of excitement to continue studying, which brought me to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Specifically to Grand Valley State University. Here I lived on campus with three amazing American roommates, making a heap of friends from around the world, and immersing myself into life as a college student.

The four months I spent at GVSU were wonderful, although not without challenges. The cold was one of the hardest to get through. I’d never been in snow before and suddenly I was having to walk to class through two feet of snow. In saying that, snow was my favourite part of the whole experience, it makes you feel like you’re in a Winter Wonderland.

But my tip for walking on ice is: don’t get cocky. Ice is a lot slipperier then you might assume and you will slip over and break your elbow (or get hurt badly) as one of the British exchange students found.

Throughout this time I was able to travel to Chicago, the Windy City, and up to Charlevoix in northern Michigan. I also spent Thanksgiving in Detroit, getting to see the third largest Thanksgiving parade in the country.

After university finished I stayed to travel more, going to Toronto and Montreal in Canada for Christmas where it got down to negative 20 degrees. New Years was spent in New York City, a night I will remember forever! Next was Washington DC, then Pittsburgh (the City of Bridges), Cincinnati, Nashville and the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, and finally ending in New Orleans.

By far this experience has shaped my future, my career, and myself. It’s given me lifelong friends and a second home, making me a Laker For Life.




Bonnie, studying overseas at the Fulda Hochschule University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Guten Tag!

For four months last year I studied social work in the state of Hesse, Germany.  After travelling around Austria for a week at the end of August, I arrived in Fulda, a smallish and lovely old city which has a large cathedral, lots of cafes, and a thriving university. Upon arrival it was great to meet a diverse group of other international students who were there to study either the same course as I, or other degree programs in business or science. We had several very knowledgeable and friendly teachers who supported us during our stay and took us on exciting excursions around the country to visit historical sites and social work institutions.

While the history we learned was sometimes very difficult to comprehend, the amazing work being done by many in the sectors of immigration, education and integration in Germany is inspiring.
I also really enjoyed studying the German language twice a week and it was very useful when navigating transport, buying things or making new friends.

Because of the central location of Fulda and an international airport not far away, it was easy to travel on weekends to other countries or parts of Germany. As an Aussie who has only seen snow a handful of times, a memorable highlight was to see a significant amount of snow fall in Fulda, and to visit a local ski field. One night in December I stood under a pine tree in the beautifully decorated, old-style markets, eating a Salmon Flammach and watching the snow fall, thinking, “it couldn’t get much more European than this!”

For anyone interested in studying overseas, my advice would be to: do your research thoroughly, ask the Study Overseas team as many questions as you need to; make the most of your time overseas, and make friends with the locals while you’re there!

by Bonnie 24/1/2018

Julia Straubinger, from FH Deggendorf, Germany, Diploma in Business


Prior to the semester at USC, I had my internship semester and therefore not much time to think about the time in Australia. I realised what I was about to do just when I left the company on my last day and finished packing my stuff for the flight on the next day. After a total travel time of 35 hours, I finally set foot on the Australian soil and immediately fell in love with the country which would be my home for the next half year. I settled down in my apartment at UniCentral dorm soon and quickly made new friends during the orientation week. When the courses commenced, I had to write several assignments, which was quite different to university in Germany. But as the professors in Australia are really nice and helpful, it wasn’t hard to get familiar with the Australian study system. And even if you spent an exhausting day in the library writing on your assignments, you can’t help but smile if you leave the library building and see one of the campus kangaroos hopping past.

Besides university, there remained enough time to visit various spots along the Sunshine Coast or travel further, as well as to try amazing activities. First of all, I visited Australia Zoo, where you can pat and feed kangaroos, cuddle koalas and see all the amazing animals rendering Australia. I gained fantastic views of the coast when I did a skydive in Noosa and a hands-on action flight, where I could fly the aircraft myself in the company of an instructor. Australia is wonderful for doing water sports, so I attended a surf camp at Spot X in New South Wales and tried kitesurfing. I also visited Brisbane, Byron Bay and Sydney, and during the study break at the end of the semester I flew to New Zealand, where I could fulfil my dream of a bungy jump from the Auckland Bridge.

All in all, I don’t have words to express how grateful I am for this unique experience! I discovered an absolutely amazing continent, found friends for live, headed out for great adventures, and just had – without exaggerating – the best time of my life so far!

Edonis Ahmaxhekaj, Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany , studying at USC

During my Bachelor program, back home in Germany I did not study abroad at all, so I definitively wanted to do one semester abroad in my Masters program. I chose Australia for this intention. One of the reasons why I chose Australia was that my home University offered a Double Degree program for Masters students together with the University of the Sunshine Coast for the first time.

Studying at the USC then turned out to be the best time of my life, even though the workload at the USC is much higher compared to my home University in Flensburg. The good thing of the high workload has been that I really learned a lot about different issues in my courses, because I had to deal very intensively with the specific topics. The lecturers at the USC contributed to this learning success as well. They always did their best to help us students by e.g. answering emails very quickly or they even met at the Brasserie with one while drinking a coffee when someone needed help with the assignments. Additionally, the University offers a modern Library and moreover excellent databases with which my assignments have been easily done. Apart from that, I enjoyed spending time on campus just by drinking coffee or meet friends, because of the beautiful nature surrounding the University – love at first sight!

Beside the University’s assignments during the semester, I had plenty of time to travel and to see the beauty of Australia. Australia has got some fascinating spots and breath-taking beaches, such as the unbelievable Whitehaven beach which is worth a visit. When I haven’t had the time to travel around, I spent my time at the student accommodations right next to the Uni. In the accommodation, I enjoyed swimming at the pool or playing some Volleyball at the Beach Volleyball Court. The accommodation offers a few more options for students, such as Tennis, BBQ spots or legendary party nights. So, there was something to do for everyone. To sum up, there hasn’t been one single boring day during my whole semester, since you get to know a lot of people and living together with them in one area makes it even easier to get rid of boredom.


Marie Groeller, Matthias Eisner & Simon Salzer University of Applied Sciences Vienna, Austria, Studying at USC

After successfully finishing our first year of studying in a Bachelor program in business at the University of Applied Sciences Vienna, we decided to go on an adventure. Our goal was not only to make new memories, friends and experiences on the other side of the world but also to receive the best possible education. Therefore the University of the Sunshine Coast was considered as the perfect option to get us out of our comfort zone.

USC offers a variety of courses for business students with an ideal ratio of practical and theoretical relevance. For instance, being given the opportunity to work with a local start-up on the Sunshine Coast offered us both an insight in a company’s early days but also the perfect chance to establish contacts with business owners in Australia.

Besides the great education provided by the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia has a lot more to offer. During our mid-semester break and after finishing our studies, we had plenty of time to discover the land down under. Thus, we travelled all over Australia, from Western Australia to Sydney, Melbourne including the Great Ocean Road and of course the East Coast. Because of the amazing location of USC, we did countless weekend trips either to Noosa, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Brisbane or Fraser Island just to name a few.

To sum up, the time spent at USC allowed for us to broaden our understanding of different cultures and form new friendships all over the world. On top of the lucrative education being offered, USC provides an opportunity for students to study, experience and socialise unique to any other.


Stephanie Feustel from HFWU Nuertingen Geislingen, Studying at USC

G’Day mates!

Where to start a blog post about my study abroad semester at the University of the Sunshine Coast and my time in Australia when there is so much to tell you about?

Well, let’s start with the USC.

Why USC?

This is simple. The USC… it is a modern and international university in the middle of a wildlife reserve with friendly and supporting lecturers, tutors and staff members, a lot of space for students to learn or hang around and really nice little cafes.

And kangaroos! Don’t forget the cute kangaroos on campus.

How is studying at USC?

Studying at USC is challenging but manageable. Well, the challenge is not about that courses are too difficult (some of them are quite easy), but there is more work to do during the semester compared to Germany as there are three assessments in each course and at least one of them is an assignment.

However, there is always some time to have a barbecue with friends, go to the beach, have some parties at Varsity Apartments or visit the beautiful places and National Parks the Sunshine Coast has to offer. You can decide between lots of beautiful beaches or the stunning Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the choice is yours!

Furthermore, there is the mid-semester break which is perfect to explore some parts of Australia, especially when you go with the student club USC Activate it is heaps of fun and you see places you would never see if you would do them by your own or with an organised travel group. Activate is pure adventure and I truly recommend it to all the explorers and adventurers amongst you who really want to see the Land Down Under and have some true Aussie adventures.

To sum it up, it was crikey! I am in love with this place, Australia in general and the Australian way of living. I have learned things that school could never have teached me. I have met lots of gorgeous people and made some really good friends here. This time was the best I ever had so far and the experience and memories I have made here will last a lifetime.

Any doubts? The Aussies would say ‘No worries’ and I couldn’t agree more. Ignore them and go for it! I can highly recommend it.

Hooroo cheers!


Marc Hegglin from Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland studying at USC

Rise, and shine! From Bern to the Sunshine Coast

After finishing my MSc in Business Administration back home in Switzerland, I took the unique opportunity to get a Master of International Business at the USC within a Double Degree Program. Looking back, it was definitely a good decision to invest further time and nerves needed to receive the additional degree!

As I was not used to such a big campus back home, I really enjoyed the vibes on the campus ground with its nice Coffee Shops and places to sit down and chat with my class mates. There are even wild kangaroos living on the campus ground. I mean, how cool is that?! 🙂

Within every course we had to hand in three Assessments, which was slightly different as I was used to deadlines at the end of the semester rather than during the semester. Do not hesitate to contact your course coordinator, if you have any questions. The professors are very helpful and they will take time to explain everything. As almost everything in life, this system has positive and negative sides. The big advantage is definitely, that you do not need to worry about exams in the end of the semester, because there will be none. That means: The better you are organised; the more time you will have to explore the amazing Sunshine Coast!

I wanted to spend as much time as possible at the beach and this is why I took an apartment in Alexandra Headlands instead of living on the university campus. I can definitely recommend to do that, if you are also more a “beach-kind-of-girl/guy”. Furthermore, it was quite easy to find a place to stay, once I was there.

If you like to meet Australian “Mates” try to join a local sport club. If you like football, go and join the Maroochydore Swans, the current football champions of the Sunshine Coast! Do not mix it up with Australian Football (AFL). That is rather something for tough Australian Dudes, and it might be safer for Europeans to watch it with an ice-cold beer in one hand, rather than trying to play it 😉


Lara Maukisch, studying at USC

Due to the semester abroad in Paris and my internship in Brussels, both within my Bachelor studies at the International School of Management in Germany, I was very keen on completing my Masters degree abroad. Since my university has various partnerships, I was able to easily apply for the program (Master of International Business) at the University of the Sunshine Coast. The master program itself, the reputation of the USC and of course the chance to live in Australia convinced me that this was the right university for me.

Now that I have spent one semester at USC I can definitely say that I made the right choice. Even though the assessment system is quite different to the one in Germany I got used to it pretty quickly and didn’t have any problems to pass the first semester. The staff is super helpful and friendly, if you have any issues you will definitely find a quick solution. The campus is just amazing, the class rooms and library are in very good condition and on top of that there are various cafes to enjoy your lunch break. Not to forget the kangaroos casually jumping around!

Students at USC have multiple options to organise their time after class: free yoga courses, trips with USC Activate,  movie nights with Student Guild… choose your favourite and meet new people!

Of course there are also plenty of opportunities to explore the Sunshine Coast and other parts of Australia, for example in the mid-term break. So far I have traveled to Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, Byron Bay, Sydney, Melbourne, did the Great Ocean road…and I’m not done yet!

I totally recommend USC to anyone who is looking for a great study program in an amazing environment with the chance to meet lots of students from all over the world and the possibility to explore Australia’s culture, people and country.


Michelle Reinhardt, Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, Diploma in General Studies , Studying at USC

Hi everyone,

My name is Michelle I am a student from Austria. I was lucky enough to spend one semester at USC to do my semester abroad. USC is a partner University from FH Steyr, where I study back home in Austria.

I have chosen USC as it has an excellent reputation and offered every course I needed to fulfil the requirements needed for my semester abroad. Furthermore, it is located at the beautiful Sunshine Coast, as I love to surf the location and the University itself were a perfect match for me. I decided to rent a house close to the beach with a friend of mine in a little town near USC, which is called Alexandra Headlands. This was the best decision ever, as I spent every free minute at the beach.

I had an amazing time here in Australia and wish everyone who decides to study at USC the same!

Cheers, Michelle.

Sara De Haan, Studying Overseas at North Carolina State University

My Time in the USA

I have just finished a semester studying at North Carolina State University in the United States and I can say it was truly the best six months of my life! If you are tossing up whether or not you should go on exchange, all I can say is just to take the chance and do it – you will grow enormously as a person and uncover life-long friendships).  I cannot rave enough about NCSU and the international dorm, Alexander Hall, also known as the Global Village. Alexander Hall is a residential dorm for international students, where they pair you with an American student. All of the Americans and exchange students went from being strangers to one big family, who will stay with me forever. The hardest thing about being on exchange is having to say goodbye to the amazing experiences and people you meet!

The students in the dorm organise two trips throughout the semester that everyone (150 people) go on together; a beach trip to Wilmington (not as amazing as our beaches, but still amazing!) and a camping trip in the North Carolina mountains. It was so great to be able to explore the different sides of North Carolina and do it with such a fun group of people, everyone bonded so intensely on these trips and created so many memories together. Throughout the semester big groups of people will also plan trips to explore different parts of America. I went to New Orleans with about 20 people, which is such an amazing part of the US ( I recommend going if you are 21 or older ) and we even lived through Hurricane Nate –  which honestly had nothing on our tropical storms in Queensland, haha! We went to Washington D.C and saw the Weeknd in concert, Washington is unmissable, it is full of so much history and you could get lost exploring all the monuments/museums. Before the semester started I did a road trip up the West Coast of California and then to Las Vegas – all I can say is to be prepared for heat like you have never experienced in Las Vegas! That, and very expensive drinks! After the semester ended myself and the group of girls I became best friends with road tripped to Atlanta, Memphis and Nashville. I cannot rave about these places enough! The culture, history, friendliness and nightlife in the South is amazing! I got to visit where Martin Luther King was killed, the Civil Rights Museum, where Elvis Presley was signed and where he lived and the capital of country music! The United States is such a diverse country with so many landscapes and sub-cultures, and being able to travel 20 states gave me such an extensive overview of the country.

I finished my trip by visiting New York and spending Christmas there, which was honestly a dream. New York at Christmas time is absolutely chaotic and crazy, but equally as beautiful. The last six months have been the best of my life. College life is everything you expect it to be: intense friendships, tiny dorm rooms packed with 20 people, tail-gating in a carpark before football games, Southern food, eating waaaaay too much, beautiful campuses, Southern hospitality, Greek life and so much more! You don’t just meet Americans, you meet people from all over the world, which gives you so many more reasons to travel and visit people in the future. You feel as though all the people take little parts of you back to their home countries, and you too, take parts of them; meaning you are enriched with new cultures, experiences and perspectives on life.

If you are thinking of going on an exchange, I highly recommend the South as you get such an authentic and sport-loving experience, and I especially recommend NC State! You don’t just make friends, you gain a family and become part of the #wolfpack forever.

I love talking about my experience, so please get in touch with me if you want to know more about NC State!

– Sara de Haan

Korbinian Hoffmann from the Technical University of Munich, Studying at USC

I can still remember the moment, when I received the notification of the International Office of my home uni, that I was eligible to go for an exchange semester abroad to the Sunshine Coast. I mean just the imagination of studying at a place with more than 250 days of sun sounds like a pretty damn temptation. I could not resist, and I was the happiest person when I realised that I am really moving to the Sunny Coast for the next semester.

My name is Korbinian, 22 years old, from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. I study Management and Technology back home, however, I decided just to take Business courses at USC.

My studies here were totally different from the ones in Germany. At home I am totally not used to writing reports, making presentations or delivering any other assignments during the semester. In Munich, there is always one big exam at the end counting for 100 percent of your grade. Having some tasks in the middle of the semester relieved a bit of stress at the end since I already passed most of the courses prior to taking the exam.

Another thing being different from at home is the commuting. I lived right next to the campus at Varsity, a huge student accommodation with a capacity of about 600 students. It was an amazing experience living there and it never took me more than five minutes to get to my lecture hall. Let’s say you will never get bored there. However, if you want to save a little bit of money, rather move into one of the plenty shared houses in the coast cities Kawana, Alex Heads, Mooloolaba or Maroochydore. You definitely get more for the same price. If you want to have party, you can still visit one of several big parties at the campus houses.

All in all, it was an awesome experience. I got to know heaps of amazing people from all over the world, learnt how to surf (more or less) and had lots of fun. I will never forget this amazing experience and I can recommend it to anyone playing with the idea of studying at USC for a semester, or even longer!

P.S.: The kangaroos jumping around at the campus is not just a marketing gag!


Brandon Cester Studying Overseas in Kyushu, Japan

Hello, my name is Brandon and I am currently studying abroad in Japan for Semester 2 2017 and semester 1 2018!

My time here so far has been the best experience of my life. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to study part of my degree in a different country. I have seen a lot of Japan but still have much more to see! I have made many friends both Japanese and international students. They have helped make this journey even more enjoyable!
So far, I have spent 4 months in the island of Kyushu with is the most southern part of Japan, so the climate is very nice here in all seasons. I have had the opportunity to travel to the world famous Hot Springs in Beppu Japan. It was my first time trying a natural hot spring and it was amazing! The Food here is extremely tasty and so much to try!
Soon the Sakura (cherry blossoms) will bloom which will be my first time ever seeing real Sakura.

I have also been to many traditional Temples, Shrines and my favourite, the old Samurai Housing! The rich culture here is very interesting and so educating! Soon the long spring break will come, and I plan to travel most of Japan in the 2 months break. I am very excited.

Sabrina Palme, from Germany, studying at USC

Hi everyone!

My name is Sabrina and I am studying International Business at the University of Applied Sciences Georg Simon Ohm Nuremberg. As my studies involve a semester abroad, I decided to go to Australia to see a completely different culture and landscape and what I expected couldn’t keep up with how amazing this continent actually is! Instead of only doing a semester abroad I decided to do a Diploma in Business, which allowed me to participate in the Graduation Ceremony, a one of a kind experience. Furthermore, it provides a certificate worth one year of studying in Australia. For people who don’t want to do a complete Bachelor Double Degree, but are keen on getting some sort of acknowledgement for their efforts, this is the perfect solution.

The university itself is very modern and the connected campus is completely different compared to German universities. You easily bond with other students. It’s like a little separate world in the middle of a national park including happy kangaroos jumping around. The lecturers and tutors are extremely kind, courteous and try to assist you with your studies in every possible way. They even know their students by name, which creates a more personal basis of interaction.

Besides all the studies, this place on earth offers numerous other activities. As the time table usually allows you to do some day trips, you can either exercise climbing the glasshouse mountains from where you have an amazing view or simply relax, snorkel, surf or dive on one of the magnificent beaches. Having fun with friends and parties are also deeply integrated in the USC student’s everyday life.

All in all, I gathered plenty of unbelievable experiences, visited some of Australia’s most beautiful places and met heaps of friendly people from all around the world, with whom I am still in contact. Putting it all in a nutshell, I had the best time in Down Under and can highly recommend it.


Amy Coney, Studying Overseas at NC State University

My name is Amy Coney, I am 19 years old, and for my semester two 2017, I studied abroad at NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Words cannot explain how amazing this experience was! Studying abroad has always been something I have wanted to achieve since high school so I was so thankful for USC to offer the opportunity to complete my goal and it will forever be the best thing I have ever done. An amazing aspect of the semester abroad is all the beautiful, diverse places I got to see from travelling the California coast before my semester started, travelling across the States to places like Dallas, South Carolina and Washington DC to finally ending my trip in snowy NYC. Not only do you have the opportunity to travel within the host country but places nearby as I am currently writing this from London with a trip to Ireland planned for next week. The opportunities of travel are endless, and I say go for as many opportunities as you possibly can while on your semester abroad!

Traveling was incredible, but the best part of my experience was all the amazing people I met from all around the globe. Living in a mixed international student and American student dorm was the highlight of my trip as it really created a strong community/ family feeling and I never was lonely or homesick because of it. Everyone is super eager to meet people as we were all there for the same reason, we were all also enthusiastic to learn about different cultures, and from living in the international dorm I learnt so much about diverse cultures and made lifelong friends from all around the world. The best memories made are the ones made with the people you meet, and the amazing people I met are what made my experience. I will forever miss them, but it is exciting to have so many new friends around the globe as I am already planning my next trips to see them all so really the experience never ends once you leave the university!

Another amazing aspect was the campus itself, the NC State student community has so much love for their school and peers, and the school pride is something I really loved. The facilities were absolutely incredible, the location was perfect and offered so much to do in and around Raleigh, and the best part was definitely the involvement from everyone in general campus life and all the different college sports, the American Football culture was by far my favourite aspect!!

This experience not only gave me amazing memories and experiences but also looking back on the experience the personal growth in myself is something I would never have gained from being on the Sunshine Coast. Living in another country and experiencing the lifestyle and diverse cultures it really opens your eyes and mind to various aspects and allows you to become much more open-minded and educated which I absolutely love. I also grew a lot of self-confidence, and the experience has really allowed me to grow and change for the better.

If you are thinking of doing an exchange, please do! It is the best experience you will ever have in your life and will allow for so many opportunities and growth that will change you for the better and provide memories and friendships that will always stay with you.

Iona Casta, From France, Studying at USC

I arrived at Brisbane airport on the 13th of July 2016, in the middle of the night, alone and full of worries.

When I arrived at Varsity, the accommodation I rented, my first reaction was “What an earth am I doing here?”. I fell asleep in a bed that wasn’t even mine, wondering what was going to happen to me. The following day, I met my two flatmates: a couple, an American girl and a 100% Aussie guy and they immediately took me under their wing. We became a little family.

Over the weeks, I discovered the « Sunny Coast »: beaches, hikes, climbing, restaurants with friends, exactly what I imagined Australian way of life would be originally. I also tasted student life in Australia: Uni-nights, volley competitions where I met people from all around the world.

Life on campus was just as pleasant, seeing kangaroos as I was going to school was a big change from Paris !

I had the opportunity to travel during the summer break: Whitsundays, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and even Bali!

Of course I had some hard times, for example driving in to my garage door. Hard times that become memories…

I have learned a lot about myself this year: I freed myself from timidity and discretion by socializing! It has been such a good thing for me. The hardest part will be going back home and leaving the Coast, my Australian family and my new friends behind.

Coming to Australia has always been my dream, a dream that came true… Thank you USC !


Cihan Güngör from the University of Applied Sciences in Worms, Studying at USC

My wonderful time on the Sunshine Coast!

As the name implies, I had a very nice and sunny time on the Sunshine Coast.

Before I came to Australia, I thought a lot about where I should go for a study abroad. I visited many information evenings concerning the semester abroad. Then I decided on the University of the Sunshine Coast. Although I had a lot of stress because of my exams in Germany, the anticipation was very high. In the meantime, concerns also came, because it was my first overseas visit and the first time that I was so far away from my usual environment and family. Still, I have to say that any anxiety and misgivings were unjustified. It was introduced very nicely at the university. Everything was explained and shown explicitly. The campus life is very cool and the university lifestyle is really noticeable. Do not worry, there will be a lot of free time!

Nevertheless, I also had a life next to the university. There were a lot of opportunities to do various activities and see different places every day. Personally, I met a lot of nice and cool people from all over the world and enjoyed the sun and the beautiful beaches. In any cast the life-work balance is given. Even if you felt stressed sometimes, you were encouraged as a student directly from the sun and a nice evening with a chilled beer at the beach bar.

 It was a wonderful and unforgettable time. I’ve seen one of the greatest places in the world and met people from all over the world. More importantly, I get my double degree 😀 I can recommend it to anyone here to spend the semester abroad.

I would also like to say a big thank you to Liani. She was always there for me on unexplainable questions.

USC thanks for everything!