Connor Wills from Pace University in the US studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Hi, my name is Connor Wills, and I’m studying Applied Psychology and Human Relations at Pace University in New York. I spent my fall semester in 2017 at University of the Sunshine Coast- semester 2 for the Australian universities. I decided to apply just before the application deadline, so my experience was a whirlwind of excitement and nerves before I even got to the university- but planning was fun, and before I knew it I was leaving my parents and everyone I knew at airport security to begin my 36 hours of travel.

I stayed in the UniCentral student accommodation, where each apartment had 4 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. I met some of my best lifelong friends at UniCentral, so I would encourage anyone studying at USC to consider student housing, or at least to live with a roommate! Bonus points if the roommate has a car and will drive to pick up $5 Dominos value pizzas or give you a ride to Cole’s or Woolies.

My UniCentral friends and I signed up for a few campus clubs together, too. We joined the ever popular USC Activate, a club dedicated to spending time enjoying the beautiful Sunshine Coast waterfalls, beaches, and all things active- from beach barbecues and slack lining, to bar socials and weekend camping trips and hiking to hidden waterfalls, Activate was there for it. A few of us also joined the USC Quidditch League- yes, like the sport from Harry Potter. If you’ve never heard of muggle Quidditch, it’s a nifty mix of rugby, American football, handball, and dodgeball. It’s very competitive, and they have a campus league made up of 4 teams as well as a traveling team that competes on the state and national level against other universities. If you’re looking for a fun way to be active in a judgement free, very supportive group of people, USC Quidditch is where it’s at! No experience necessary- I had never even played a sport before, but they coached me into being the best I could be and were so supportive the whole time! (Go Dementors!)

I also joined AIME- the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience. My experience with AIME was one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had. International students often don’t know much about Australian history, and even less about the history of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders- I encourage everyone to learn about this history, and engage in the culture and join AIME to help younger students who need more support than they get from mainstream Australian culture. There’s no shame in AIME!

The classes are set up very differently from American universities- each class has a lecture and a tutorial. The lecture is just a lecture- the professor speaks, and you take notes. But, these lectures are also often recorded and uploaded for later viewing. The tutorials split your lecture into smaller groups, where you meet with your tutor and go more in depth to the content you’re learning. Most assignments are completed and submitted online, so there’s often no need to run to a printer before class. The grading system is also quite a bit different, and I recommend taking to google to learn more about it. But, overall, as long as you submit your work and follow the syllabus you’ll do great!

There’s so many things to do at USC, you will never ever be bored. The campus is beautiful, and there really are kangaroos everywhere! Brisbane is just a bus and a train away, beaches are so close, and there are so many endless experiences to be had on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Rise and shine, adventure awaits!

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