Alexis Vernon from Rider University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

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Hi guys! My name is Lexi Vernon and I am from Rider University, located in New Jersey in the United States. I am studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Semester 2 where I am majoring in marketing and sports management.

Studying abroad has always been something I have always wanted to do, as I have always had a passion for traveling and exploring other cultures. Prior to coming to the Sunshine Coast, I was extremely nervous. You always hear stories about how going abroad changes your life and I wasn’t sure if I would have the same experience. However, being in

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Australia has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have learned so much about myself and conquered my fears. From being the girl who couldn’t go up a flight of stairs because of how afraid of heights I am, to jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet skydiving in Byron Bay, I am forever for how much I have grown as a person in my short time here in Australia.

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The lifestyle here is so calming and peaceful. The friendly faces and β€œNo worries” attitudes helped calmed my nerves when I first got here. Throughout my time here I took full advantage and tried to see as much as possible. One of my favorite places I have visited in my time here was the Great Barrier Reef! Over the Mid-semester break, I went snorkeling in Cairns, then took a boat trip to Whitsunday. Whitehaven beach, which is ranked second of the best beaches in the world, is absolutely stunning. The swirling sands and clear blue waters were breathtaking. I highly recommend going to visit as it was so incredible. One of my favorite activities since being here has been watching the sunset. Mooloolaba

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beach, which is located about 15 minutes from campus is one of the best places to watch the sunset. We even have BBQs there with some friends and watch the sunset and it is such a fun activity!

Getting around Australia is very easy. From taking the bus to Noosa, the train to Brisbane, and even a plane to Cairns. You will always find a way to get to your next favorite location. Coming here the number one thing on my bucket list, and probably everyone who travels to Australia was to hold a koala. I got the opportunity to do so at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane and also at the Australia Zoo. From pretty views, delicious eats, to fun times with friends I am forever grateful for my experience here in Australia. I will always cherish my time here and everything I have gotten to explore and experience.

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