Jesse Weippert from DHBW Mosbach studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

a9862114-a0fe-4fe9-b9ab-e07947b2a827Cheers mates,

My name is Jesse Weippert, I am from Germany and I was studying a Diploma in Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) for one semester. Probably not the best time to come over to Australia due to COVID-19, nevertheless it was a great experience studying overseas and an enjoyable lock-down as well.

Back in Germany I am studying a dual system, which includes an iteration of studying three months and working three months. Within three years, I will finish my degree and will have a high chance of retaining at the company I am currently working for. Part of this dual system is a semester abroad, which was supported from my company. The decision-making process of applying at USC was easy, since Australia has always attracted me very much and I wanted to improve my English. The application process was easy doing as well. The biggest hurdle was the payment of the semester fees, which, however, were financially supported by my company and for which I received a discount from my university. So, I only had to fill out the application form, show my academic transcript and show my English B2 level. By completing these forms, I got a lot of support from my home university and USC. The last step was then to select my courses for the semester. In order to complete a diploma, four courses are required, which I have arranged in consultation with my course director at my home university. However, I have to note here that I would have had to take more courses during my regular semester at home, so I have to retake exams after my semester abroad.

img_7698I arrived in Australia end of January prior to governments restrictions. I started doing a road trip at the west coast of Australia for four weeks, which I can highly recommend. After my road trip I headed to the Sunshine Coast to start the semester. At the beginning of the semester I had many plans to use my long weekends every week, and I wanted to see as much of Australia as possible. Due to my choice of courses I had no lectures from Friday to Monday evening, which would have been perfect for weekend trips. So, the first weeks before the lock-down, I was in Noosa, Byron Bay and Sydney. In retrospect, it must be said that the time in the lock-down was probably nowhere in the world faster than in Australia on the Sunshine Coast. The beach in Mooloolaba was still passable despite the lock-down, so I used the free time for surfing. I learned to dive and the connection within the student accommodation in Varsity became stronger. You got to know many new people, even if a large part flew back to their home countries at the beginning of the crisis.

All in all, I had a great time at the USC and I am proud to be a part of the USCi Brand Ambassador program.

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Experience the Extraordinary on the Sunshine Coast

What better way to experience the Sunshine Coast than going on a whale safari, abseiling the Glass House Mountains, or gallop down the beach? We have gathered some of the coolest things to do on the Coast and believe us – you can’t do this everywhere!

Seasonal Whale Watching Cruise

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Experience the extraordinary at this seasonal whale watching cruise! The humpback whale migration is one of the most magnificent natural encounters we can have. You can feel the excitement all around as you will look along the horizon for the first blow or splash from these gentle giants. These amazing animals can sense us near them and curiously swim up to see our excitement – get up close to experience their breathtaking breaches, loud tail and pec slaps, tail lobs, spy hops and performing their classic peduncle throws!

Equathon Horse Riding in Noosa

57026407_10155926759905919_5022094878276845568_nEquathon Horse Riding in Noosa can provide you with an amazing experience on horseback, regardless of your experience! You can choose between bush or beach rides, 1 or 2 hours. We believe this might be one of the coolest ways to experience the Noosa North Shore! Equathon’s Australian Stock Horses are skilfully trained and are experienced in all locations, including the Noosa Trail Network, Noosa North Shore, and a diverse range of other stunning trails across the Sunshine Coast.

TreeTop Challenge by the Big Pineapple

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The TreeTop Challenge has something for every age and fitness! We love how these obstacles are suited for everyone, ranging from green to black lanes. If you’re a bit afraid of heights, this is something you should consider doing as it will make you heaps braver and experience a feeling of achievement! It’s super fun and you get to spend as long as you want there, but we recommend you to book an early start time as it can get a bit crowded in the middle of the day.

Abseil The Glass House Mountains

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This is something for adrenaline junkies! Experience something a bit out of your comfort zone and absail the mountains with a view over the Sunshine Coast! Soak up the view of the surrounding glasshouse mountains as your guide attaches you to the rope and safety line for you to enjoy the controlled descent down the rock face above the tree lines. Your guide moves the abseil locations throughout the duration of the activity. The best part? You can abseil the mountain as many times as you like during your session.

Noosa Everglades Wilderness Cruise

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What better way to explore Noosa than cruising through the rivers whilst simply sitting back and soaking it all in? Cruise into the dark tranquil mirrored waterways of the famous Noosa Everglades, and take a swim in pristine waters or photograph the wildlife. After morning tea, enjoy a leisurely river cruise back to your base, where a roast lunch will be ready for you. Enjoy the beautiful views of lake Cootharaba whilst eating and maybe even spot a few kangaroos before heading back to Noosa. We reckon this might be one of the best experiences, so get amongst it!

Jet Boat Ocean Thrill Ride in Mooloolaba

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Jet boating taken to the next level! This jet boat thrill ride actually uses the waves, to spin, jump and surf! Strap in and hang on, you’re heading out into the open ocean, using the surf like never before! Experience some amazing manoeuvres, including jet boat spins, wave jumping and more. Your jet boat ride takes you along the Mooloolaba river out the bar into the ocean. Sit back and hold on as you are taken on a ride you won’t forget – it’s loads of fun! You are seated in racing seats with 4 point safety harnesses, in the fully enclosed and air-conditioned cabin to maximise your comfort and safety. No need to wear bulky and uncomfortable life jackets! No getting soaking wet and cold. Pure thrills at its best!

Marta Cholewa from Grand Valley State University in the US studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_0108Hello! My name is Marta Cholewa and at USC I studied General Studies but at my home university, I major in Exercise Science. My home university is Grand Valley State University which is near Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I am originally from Palatine, Illinois which is close to Chicago. I have been wanting to study abroad ever since I heard all my sister’s study abroad experiences and travel stories.

The decision to study at USC was an easy one because I knew I always wanted to go to Australia and I did not have to stress about not knowing the language. Grand Valley State University helped me throughout my process as there was so many people to talk to if I had questions or concerns. I did a lot of the planning myself since I am a big planner, but I was able to get all my questions answered about my specific country and school by talking to a previous student who studied at USC. There were plenty of meetings to attend that gave advice about safety, adapting to culture, education, and travelling. My school definitely helped me feel prepared for my journey.

All the classes I took fulfilled my general education requirements, and it was really interesting to see how differently they teach subjects that I have taken in high school. The most fascinating class I took and the class I learned the most in was the History of Australia, which consisted of engaging discussions and it opened my eyes to a lot of the topics the country faced that I did not know about. The most creative class I took was Topics of Design. I am not the most artistic person, but that class allowed to get out of my comfort zone just enough to have fun with what I was doing. It was also an opportunity to learn about the popular designs, brands, and advertisements in Australia what may not be well-known in the states. The most thought-provoking class I took was An English Tradition. Not only is English difficult for me in general but trying to write a paper in ways that are very different than how I was taught to write is difficult. Nonetheless, I learned some new ideas and read some great material by new authors.

The most entertaining class I took was Coastal and Marine Ecology because my professor was an engaging individual who liked to crack jokes and tell us about his experiences. This class I took randomly because I thought it would interest me and I was right. Classes are much more hands-on and interpersonal than back at home. The professors genuinely try to get to know you and are very engaging in group work. The building itself made me feel like I was at an outdoor mall and the kangaroos hopping around are something I never got tired of seeing. I was also fortunate enough to travel before school and before quarantine and have seen very beautiful, memorable places. I was able to travel to the north of Australia near Cairns. My friend and I rented a car, which was a thrilling experience getting used to driving on the other side of the road and getting used to new rules, while we drove around the Atherton Tablelands and ended up at the Daintree Rainforest. I have seen stunning waterfalls, cute animals, and even had the chance to snorkel and scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef.

After school started, I was still able to visit the Steve Irwin Zoo and the Gold Coast where I tried surfing. If I had to pick a favourite spot, I would choose the Daintree Rainforest area because I loved the jungle feeling, after I got used to the giant spiders of course. The moment I will never forget is looking up at the stars on the beach because it was the most amazing thing I saw. I could see the whole milky way and it was because the rain forest area has very few lights and service in general, so I was able to live away from my phone. An amazing experience that was cut too short. I strongly recommend and urge everyone to take a trip to Australia because it is a beautiful country filled with amazing nature, people, food, culture, and animals. Hopefully I have the chance to go back one day.

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You Need To Check Out These Sunshine Coast Markets

We must say that the Sunshine Coast has some of the best markets, which are constantly becoming bigger and better. Experience local food, stalls, shops and artists – you’ll never have a dull weekend ever again!

Fisherman’s Road Markets 

  • Where: Fishermans Road / David Low Way, Maroochydore
  • When: Every Sunday from 6am to 12 (noon)
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The Fisherman’s market provides a really good Sunday-vibe with good food and lots to see! Fishermans Road Markets has been operated and managed for the past 20 years by the Lions Club of Mooloolaba and by shopping at this market, you are also supporting many community projects. There are up to 128 stalls offering a huge variety of items for sale including local and market fruit and Vegetables, Clothing (both new and pre-loved), pet treats, hand tools, books, popcorn, fresh seafood, 2nd hand items and so on. A cute market with it’s own charm!

Noosa Marina Markets 

  • Where: 2 Parkyn Court, Tewantin
  • When: Sundays 8am – 2pm
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After your leisurely Sunday breakfast or before a long Sunday lunch at Noosa Marina, take a stroll through our Sunday markets. Their art, craft and local produce market has an idyllic setting on the deck, overlooking the Noosa River. Take your time strolling around the many market stalls, where a variety of locally made craft items can be found along with the freshest of local produce. The atmosphere is alive with music and entertainment from local and interstate musicians. When it’s time to go home, let the Noosa Ferry take you on a relaxing ride from the markets to one of the stops along the river. (info)

Cotton Tree Markets 

  • Where: King Street, Cotton Tree, Maroochydore
  • When: Sunday 7am to noon
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The Cotton Tree Markets offer something for everyone. For 25 years the Cotton Tree Markets have featured local artisans, designers and inventors selling their own unique and creative works. This unique precinct is located near one of the Sunshine Coast’s most picturesque beaches. Enjoy a great day out exploring the market, shopping at the quality retailers, meeting friends for a coffee and bite to eat, followed by some time relaxing by the river. You will find a diverse and eclectic range of fashion such as jewellery, original artworks, sculptures, skincare, pottery, baking, homewares, plus so much more to suit all tastes and ages. Soak up the friendly market atmosphere and be entertained by local performers (info).

Marcoola Farmer’s Market 

  • Where: 10 Lorraine Avenue, Marcoola
  • When: Every Saturday Morning from 8am-12pm (noon)
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The Marcoola Market has something for everyone and provides you with a good vibe and great food! Enjoy organic produce, fresh fruit and veggies, meats, cheese, and other goodies. There are also plenty of sweet treats available, including raw and vegan options, which will keep you around for a while. Marcoola Market is also close to the beach, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy some good food with friends watching the ocean!

Eumundi Markets

  • Where: 80 Memorial Drive, Eumundi QLD 4562
  • When: Wednesdays 8am to 1.30pm and Saturdays 7am to 2pm
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Our favourite! The Original Eumundi Markets is the biggest and the best art and craft market in Australia. Meet the talented hands behind handcrafted furniture, homewares, artworks, ceramics, cutting-edge fashion and jewellery, and chat to the farmers and bakers selling fresh produce and gourmet delights. When you need a shopping break, rejuvenate with a massage, have your palm read or lose yourself in the stellar line-up of musicians and street performers. It’s an experience like no other (info).

 

Peregian Beach Markets

  • Where: Kingfisher Park. Peregian Beach QLD 4573
  • When: 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month, 7am – 12.30pm

The Peregian Beach Markets are held the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month, 7am – 12.30pm, in the beautiful surroundings of Kingfisher Park on Kingfisher Drive at Peregian Beach.  If there are five Sundays in December or January an extra market will be held on that day. Well known for the variety of art, craft, up cycled, recycled, created, designed, manufactured, handmade, home grown, organic and fair trade.  This is a great place to pick up a gift or new outfit, enjoy a relaxing massage and stock your fridge and pantry. (info) Definitely check this market out, and this video:

Video retrieved from Dronehack Productions (link) (2019)

Featured Image: Eumundi Markets at Indulge Magazine

USC Alumni Evelina Hult: From Boston To Exciting Opportunities On The Sunshine Coast

My name is Evelina, I am 23 years old, and I am from Sweden. I came to Australia in 2015 to study a Bachelor of Business. I majored in International Business, minored in Marketing and Management, and I graduated in 2018.

I had never been to Australia when I first came here to study, but I could not have been happier with my decision. I was first considering moving to the U.S., but when I found USC in a brochure at the agency (Study Abroad – Gothenburg) that helped me apply to USC, I changed my mind. I was deciding between USC and Griffith, but I fell in love with the idea of having kangaroos on campus. Since I was already nervous about moving from Sweden only 4 weeks after my high school graduation, I also liked that the university wasn’t too big.

I am very happy with my choice of degree as the courses are relevant in today’s society, it is a very broad degree and gives a variety of different career options. I really liked the diversity at the university, and both the staff and students are very friendly and helpful. The degree itself is not the hardest if you only want to pass, but with the right help, support, motivation, and self-discipline, it is more than possible to achieve more than that. With all of that, studying at USC gave me the opportunity to move to Boston in America to do my Master’s Degree in International Business.

Living and studying in Boston was very different from USC. Hult International Business School was a great school, but more focused on solely business, and most people took their studies very seriously. I did not go to a university that had accommodation so I did not get that whole typical college experience that you see in movies, but the school organised a lot of activities so we all grew close very fast, and just like at USC, I made friends for life. One of the main differences for me was that my degree in America was only one year, so it was way more intense, and the study pace was much faster.

What I’ve realised after being a student in both Australia and America is that I like the lifestyle in Australia better. In terms of my future career, I definitely think it will help having a degree from both countries because I feel more confident working with, and for people with different backgrounds and cultural beliefs, which is crucial and something that happens on a daily basis within the field I studied.  

Now when I am back on the Sunshine Coast I am working, and I have had a few different jobs since I got back in September 2019. The first job I had when I got back was within the hospitality industry which I only worked at while looking for a job within my field of studies. I then got an office job as a Personal Assistant to the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) at a business coaching company. When COVID-19 happened I got laid off and starting working at a vineyard doing hospitality again. Luckily I am now back with the Business Coaching company as my old boss called me and wanted me back.

My future plan is to stay here in Australia for a bit longer and then potentially move back to Sweden. When that happens I don’t know, it all depends on my job and visa situation.

If you are thinking about studying at USC but can’t decide whether or not to do it, I would say do it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? That you don’t like it? So what, you can always go back home, but you won’t know how your experience will be unless you try. Don’t listen to people talking negatively about it, only you can decide what you like and what is best for you. Of course there will be difficult times when you miss your family and friends from home, and when you feel a bit lonely and all you want is a home cooked meal, but there is so many amazing things you get to experience while you are away and you will create memories for life that will be worth more than you can imagine.

Deciding to come to Australia and study at USC has been one of the best decisions in my life. I have met so many amazing people that will be my friends for life, they have come to be my family away from home. There is a reason I came back, Australia has a special place in my heart, and I am so lucky to call Australia my second home.

P.S. If you have decided to study abroad, make sure you make the most out of your time and go experience the country. What I can regret some days is that I most weeks spent 7 days at the library instead of taking time off and being outside and exploring. Life is not all about good grades and a high GPA, it’s also about making friends and crating memories.

Bekira Rabinowitz from Canisius College in the US studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

6Hello! My name is Bekira Rabinowitz and I’m a senior at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York studying Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Even before I started my college journey, I knew I wanted to study abroad in Australia. This semester I was finally able to live that dream at the University of the Sunshine Coast!

One of the main reasons I was drawn to Australia was their wonderful, endemic wildlife! I have always had a passion for animals and would love to work with them after I finish my degree. I have worked and travelled from different zoos and animal sanctuaries all across the United States and familiarized myself with animals from all over the world. Now, I was given the chance to see some of these animals in their natural habitat and I was not disappointed!

I live in Chicago and we were in the middle of winter before I left for my journey down under. I had a bit of trouble adjusting from snow to summer, but the adjustment period was faster than I expected! On my first day arriving in Australia, I heard the call of the kooky kookaburra welcoming me into my new home for the next five months. I was overwhelmed with the beautiful palm trees and bottlebrushes, as well as the water dragons everywhere! I instantly felt relaxed as the ocean breeze rushed past.

I felt even more comfortable when I arrived at my accommodation and was invited to the pool on my first day. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly and I met some of my best friends on that first day! I quickly became familiar with the campus and surrounding areas. Almost every single time I was on campus, I was greeted by the fuzzy faces of eastern grey kangaroos and their joeys, the colourful parade of the rainbow lorikeets, and so many other beautiful birds! It was overwhelming how many magnificent creatures I could see in my own backyard.

I was ecstatic at the prospect of seeing even more Australian animals, so I set my sights on the Australia Zoo! It was so easy to get around the Sunshine Coast with the help of my go card and the helpful locals. The zoo went above and beyond my expectations with their extensive animal collection as well as staff that was abundantly passionate about what they do. I got to see dingoes, saltwater crocodiles, and Tasmanian devils, but the real connection came when I was able to meet some Australian animals! I got to meet koalas, echidnas, cockatoos, red and grey kangaroos, wallabies, and even some pythons! It was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had.

Even though the semester was not what I had expected, in terms of the world pandemic, I was still able to enjoy my semester and learn so much! I was able to appreciate all that the Sunshine Coast had to offer and I know someday I’ll be back. This whole experience assured me that I am on the right path in life and for that I am extremely grateful. If you are wondering about taking the leap and journeying across the world, do it! It will be an unforgettable time!

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Alice Carlqvist from Kilroy Sweden studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries: 10 Favourite Cafés on the Coast

Optional 6My name is Alice and I’m from Sweden. I’ve been at USC for 2.5 years, studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries, with a major in Creative Writing and minor in Visual Communication. These past years have been incredibly fun and adventurous.

Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to explore Australia from. So far, I’ve been to Cairns, Airlie Beach, Fraser Island, Sydney, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, around New Zealand and many more places. I’ve tried surfing, sky diving, scuba diving, snorkelling, done the Tough Mudder race, and this winter, I might even have a go at the water jet pack.

Other than travelling, one of my greatest passions is food. The Sunshine Coast has no shortage of great cafés and restaurants. Here are some of my favourite cafés on the coast:

  1. The Nines: the perfect place to brunch, there’s something for everyone on this menu. Be sure to try one of the freak shakes, they are insane!
  2. The Velo Project: beautiful, sustainable and incredibly yummy food and coffee.
  3. Ninth Street: the perfect place to get extreme waffles and pancakes.
  4. Acai Brothers: the best acai bowls on the coast.
  5. Decisions: a mixture of healthy and unhealthy food – that’s why they are called Decisions. The menu has gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, so there is something for everyone here.
  6. Lil Canteen: the menu is continually updated and incredibly trendy.
  7. Elliot’s Fine Food Bistro: fantastic coffee and filling food.
  8. Milk and Beans Coffee House: cosy and close to the beach. Great burgers.
  9. Glass Coffee House & Wine Bar: atmospheric interior with a killer menu.
  10. Tome: cakes, rolls and cupcakes so pretty you don’t want to actually eat them.

Hot tip: if you follow these places on Instagram, they often post discounts and deals.

Hope this helps you navigate your stay at the coast. If you want to get more tips you can follow me on Instagram @fridaychild. Thanks for reading!

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Sofija Varlamova from the University of Applied Sciences Landshut in Germany studying a Bachelor of Business at USC Sunshine Coast

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-09 at 22.07.29Hi, my name is Sofija Varlamova (@sofija_varlamova). I am from Germany, Bavaria, and I study at the University of Applied Sciences Landshut – International Business. Here at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) I am studying a double degree in Business.

Here is a short summary of how I came to study at USC. USC is a partner university of my home university in Landshut. When I saw that I could go to Australia for my year abroad I already knew what to do, and the application process was easy for me. Because I am not the first person from my university going to USC, the process for application was smooth. The international office in Germany connected me to the international office of USC and I could ask them all the questions I had about the university and living in Australia. This helped a lot with calming my nerves to come to a foreign country so far away from home.

After the learning agreement was approved, the rest was done very fast. I paid for my tuition, applied for my visa, and flew to Australia! Unbelievable isn’t it!

Studying at USC is completely different compared to Germany – In a good way! In Germany, a student study for the whole semester and then write a final exam at the end. At USC, courses generally have 3 tasks that are graded. They are spread out throughout the semester and towards the end, it will form the final grade of the course. Additionally, because of the smaller exams, it helps to continuously learn for the course.

For my first semester I chose Auditing and Professional Practice (ACC321), Business Law and Ethics (BUS203), Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility (BUS320) and International Business Strategy (IBS321). The last two courses were mandatory for me. For my second semester I studied Management Accounting (ACC310), Project Management (ICT352), Managing the Small Business (MGT310) and The Power of Brands (MKG322).

I really liked each and every course I did in USC. For example, in each of these courses the professors and tutors were just awesome. They were really nice, made jokes in the lectures or tutorials. It was their priority that the learning objectives were understood and that the students gained knowledge. The professor in MGT310 even invited business professionals and owners of small business to the lectures. This was very interesting as I could see how everything I learned in the lecture was used to build up businesses. I would really recommend these courses.

In my free time there was so much to do here in Australia. First, I took surf lessons! Surfing is so cool! It does not take long to get to the beach with the bus and it is so hot here in Australia! Being in the water all the time was awesome. Other than being on the beach all the time, there are a lot of places to go hiking. Examples would be Mount Coolum or Kondalilla National Park. There are many more than these two. Back to the water: on the Sunshine Coast I also booked snorkelling and swimming with whales. Can’t wait to do these! This were all the things I could do while there were COVID restrictions. There are also so many interesting and beautiful places to drive to in Australia! So don’t lose time and see them when you can – While concentrating on your studies of course! xD

I hope that you will have a nice time, like me here in Australia!

–  Sofija Varlamova

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Visit Popular Local Spots Close To The USC Sunshine Coast Campus

There are many local, but also popular spots just a short bus ride or drive away from campus. Our USC Sunshine Coast (Sippy Downs) campus is lucky to have a bus stop right on campus, and only a 5 minute walk away from our student accommodation options UniCentral, Varsity and The Village.

We have listed some of the most popular spots below that our students often visit when living close to campus:

1. Mooloolaba Beach

If you want to hit the beach, you can take the 615 bus from USC which will take you approx 15 minutes to Mooloolaba. This is a popular spot for students who wants to soak up some sun on the beach but also for students who like to go for walks along the promenade and even do some shopping. Mooloolaba has some great local shops, cafes and restaurants. Not to mention, if you walk towards the Mooloolaba Spit in the arvo, you might be able to see an amazing sunset.

2. Cotton Tree Beach & Holiday Park

If you prefer to avoid some of the more popular, busy beaches, you may want to stay on the bus a bit longer after Mooloolaba and jump off at Cotton Tree, just 5 minutes down the road from Mooloolaba. Cotton Tree Beach is located just to the left of Alexandra Headland, a popular surf spot for many students and not to mention locals. Cotton tree is the perfect spot if you would like to try out Stand Up Paddle Boarding or Kayaking. There are also heaps of cosy local shops along the promenade and we can recommend checking out Cafe Envy that offers locally sourced dishes, in addition to organic coffee and smoothies. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spot a couple of pelicans who like to enjoy their time down at the beach.

3. The Glasshouse Mountains

We of course won’t forget to mention the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains, located a short 25 minute drive from campus with a car. You will have a lot of mountains tracks to choose from including some of the more popular ones such as Mt Beerwah, Mt Ngungun and Mt Tibrogargan. The Glasshouse Mountains have a lot of history behind them, and we would definitly recommend booking a tour with some local aboriginals, also known as storytelling, as they have a lot of interesting stories to tell which you can read more about here.

4. Noosa National Park + Champagne Pools

Photo: Ali Hannah

A bit further away from USC but also only a short 40 minute drive you’ll find the beautifucl Noosa National Park. This National Park is a favourite amongst the locals mostly due to the prime surf that it provides, especially in the mornings and afternoons. If you’re lucky you might spot a koala on your way to Champagne Pools, an absolute must go-to if visiting the park for the first time. The whole walk around Noosa National park is approx. 5.4 km and you can choose to start at Sunshine Beach and walk all the way to the main street in Noosa, Hasting. We recommend checking out Betty’s Burgers and some of the local Noosa shops while you’re there.

5. Mt Coolum

On the way back from Noosa and approx. 30 minutes from campus you’ll find the popular mountain Coolum. While most people will choose to follow the public walking track that has been set out and recently refurbished, there are a couple of additional but rarely used tracks that are for the more adventurous and experienced climbers. Interestingly, one of these tracks will lead you to two of Coolum’s caves. The trip to the caves starts at he same main track however if you wear off to the left it will take you to the first larger cave which is more of an overhang and is regularly used by rock climbers. This makes for a spectacular waterfall in the wet seasons and well worth a visit.

6. Double Island / Fraser Island

If you have the option to rent a 4WD while you’re here we would definitely recommend you to put some time and money aside to explore Double Island, just a short 5 minute ferry ride from Noosa North Shore. Double Island stretches all the way up to Double Island Point (well known spot for prime surfing) and Rainbow Beach, where you can further (if you’re an adventurous type) take the Mantra Bay ferry over to Fraser Island. Double Island is perfect for a short day trip however we recommend to spend at least 2 nights (camping or housing accommodation) at Fraser to experience most of what the island has to offer. Recommended spots to visit is Lake McKenzie, Eli Creek, Maheno Wreck and Champagne pools. You may also want to drive further north to Sandy Cape if you have some spare time.

We hope you enjoyed reading about some of the more popular places visited by locals and students, and don’t forget to tag us using @USC.International and #USCInternational.

Camilla Ingebrigtsen from Norway studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

Hi! My name is Camilla, I’m from Norway and in July 2019 my best friend and I packed our bags and moved to Australia to study at The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I was supposed to study at USC for a full year but thanks to COVID-19, I had to return to Norway in late April, a couple months earlier than planned.

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to study after high school so I decided to take a gap year, the year passed and I was still just as clueless as the year before, that’s when I started looking into studying abroad. Travelling to Australia has been on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember, so I though why not combine my lifelong Aussie dream and uni.

We contacted STS Education, a study abroad agency in Norway to get information about the different schools and what they had to offer, it didn’t take long before we decided on USC and that was by far the best decision I’ve ever made.

The Sunshine Coast, or Brisbane which is an hour away by car, has pretty much everything you would ever need. Warm climate all year round (it can get chilly in the early morning and late evening during winter so don’t forget to pack a couple hoodies, I made that mistake), beaches everywhere, shopping (I 10/10 recommend Sunshine Plaza), clubs, bars and restaurants (easy to drive down to Brisbane or Gold Coast if you get sick of Ocean Street).

If you are considering studying at USC there is a couple of student accommodations to choose from. Varsity, Uni Central and The Village are all a short walk from campus. I lived at Varsity, which I would say is the more social one out of the three as there is always something happening or someone to hang out with, and it is a great way to meet new friends from all around the world.

If you have the money for it I would definitely recommend visiting other parts of Australia as well. Brisbane Airport is an hour away by car, there is also an airport on The Sunshine Coast but the flights tend to be a bit more expensive than from Brisbane.

During my time in Australia I went to Gold Coast, Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa and Melbourne (rent a car and do the Great Ocean Road roadtrip, not too expensive and soooo worth it!!).

The teachers at USC are used to having a lot of international students, they know that studying in a foreign language can be difficult at times and that somethings might be more challenging than others, but they are super helpful and understanding which was something I was really appreciative of. My favourite course by far was OES104 which has gotten really popular with international students and is an awesome way to see Australia from a local point of view. There’s heaps of field trips as well, from kayaking in the Noosa river, to camping in Cooloola, and a 3-day camping trip to Fraser Island(!!)

My time is Australia was better than I ever thought it would be, I made lifelong friends, went camping at Rainbow Beach with my best friends, travelled to places I’ve dreamt of going to since I was a kid, saw kangaroos at campus on a daily basis, fell In love with watching the sunset (especially at Kawana Beach), held a koala, drove on the beach, watched dogs surf, watched humans surf, snorkelled in The Great Barrier Reef, cried a lot, laughed a lot, and socialised a lot. That pretty much sums up the student life at USC.

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions you’re more than welcome to send me a DM @camillaIngebrigtsen 😀

– Camilla Ingebrigtsen

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Cassandra Kull from Canisius College in the US studying a Diploma in Outdoor Environmental Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_9228Cassandra Kull studying a Diploma in Outdoor Environmental Studies, from New York, USA.

How was the application process?

The majority of my application process was completed with help from my home institution (Canisius College). There is a lot of paperwork that needs to be completed before you are able to go abroad, but it was broken down into steps that made it more manageable. It is crucial that you stay on top of the due dates for visas, health paperwork, rooming forms, course forms etc, this will make the process less stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your home uni and get in touch with others that are planning on going abroad. It was nice to have other students to help work through the visa process and make sure you don’t fall behind in the process as a whole.

How is studying at USC different from back home?

I did the Diploma in Outdoor Environmental Studies program so all of my courses were required and picked for me. This is a great program for those looking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors of Australia and get hands on experience. Studying at USC was very different from my home uni, as USC allowed me to get out of the classroom and learn about the environment while I was in the environment. It was refreshing to take courses that you are not just trapped in a classroom staring at a monitor learning about what you will be doing in the future. Instead, USC immerses you in the experience and teaches you the practical skills required to be successful in your field. The universities in the USA concentrate more on learning the material and testing on it, focusing more on test scores rather than gaining exposure to real world experiences. USC teaches you the theory in the classroom and then takes the extra step to reinforce your learning with hands-on experience.

I ended up going back to the US so I never went on any post isolation trips. However,  before the coronavirus hit, I was able to go to the Australia Zoo- which I highly recommend. As well as Buderim falls, which was amazing and close enough to campus to take public transportation. The Sunshine Plaza was amazing for shopping and any of the
surrounding beaches are to die for.

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Stephanie Jessiman from Rider University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

5Australia has marked the start of my new life. This may sound a little cheesy, but this is coming from someone who has never left her home country by herself, let alone leaving her state by herself. My name is Stephanie, and I am from New Jersey, where you don’t really have to leave the state to find anything you need.

Upon reading myself to leave for the planned 5 month semester abroad, my home institution eased any and of all my worries, no matter how drastically preposterous they were. Once I arrived in Australia, I immediately met so many great people from all corners of the world, everyone was so kind and so friendly. I guess because all of us were thinking and feeling the same way. I would definitely say the first 6 weeks at the University were some of the best, not to say the second half was not as good, corona hit the world pretty badly. USC was very quick to respond to the issues on hand and tried to help each and every single one of its students. I do not think I would be able to make it through the semester if I were still at my home state to be honest. Australia has so many incredible views, beautiful hikes, luscious beaches, that when the stress of everything got too much to handle, a simple mind getaway was not too far to reach.

Towards the end of the semester, my friends and I were fortunate enough to go away on a road trip up to Cairns, and I honestly think that is the most fun I have ever had in my whole entire life. The people that we went with kept us laughing, the food we were eating kept our bellies full, and the places we went to, created some of the best memories that I will always remember. Australia has been a beautiful gift that I will hold on to as long as I live.

– Stephanie Jessiman

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Raphaela Marcella Alda from WU Vienna studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

2Hello, my name is Raphaela Marcella Alda and I graduated in Economics from USC. Through my business studies at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (WU) and the help of my parents, I had the opportunity to spend my semester abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

Before I travelled to Australia, I did some research about the country, the services offered at USC and the Brand Ambassador Program. With regard to the courses that are offered at the university, there is a wide range of offers. The courses I took were not only very interesting but also very informative.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that studying at USC is very different from studying at my home university. The students learn more about written work and how to put theory into practice. This also gave me more time to get to know the country while I was studying. This gave me the opportunity to explore not only Brisbane, but also Byron Bay and Noosa.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, I had to leave Australia earlier than planned, but my semester abroad was the best thing that could ever happen to me. I am more than grateful for the wonderful experiences and the friendly people who made my time even more unique.

Niklaus Hess from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) in Switzerland studying at USC Sunshine Coast

PortraitHi there, I’m Nik from Switzerland. I study Business Engineering | Innovation at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU). Here at the USC, I did the Diploma in Business within one semester as part of my bachelor’s degree in Switzerland.

 

The USC is a partner university of the HSLU in Switzerland. Due to the popularity of the USC, students must come as a “freemover”, despite the partnership. Although, in my case, I could profit from a 15% partnership discount. I regret no dollar I paid because it was worth it in any case. Fortunately, the international office of my university in Switzerland gave me great support regarding the application process which made it quite easy for me to apply. Nevertheless, you should plan more than enough time to organize your exchange semester. The earlier you begin, the easier will the process be.

 

The campus of the USC in Sippy Downs is stunning: Trees, plants and colourful birds everywhere, several coffee shops and kangaroos jumping around the place. Also, the buildings and classrooms were very stimulating. For me, studying at USC campus was like studying with a lifestyle. The biggest difference from USC to the HSLU is the examination system. At HSLU, you have no exams during the semester, but big final exams at the end. So, you can relax during semester if you want, however, in most cases you then will have a quite stressful exam preparation period. Here at the USC, you normally have two or three tasks throughout the semester and sometimes a final exam at the end. Thus, if you invest in learning already in the beginning of the semester, you will probably have no stress at the final exam.

 

USC has an own student association which organize many events and trips, especially during the first few weeks. For international students, it is the best opportunity to connect with the other internationals. For example, I attended a day-trip to the rainforest, a market, and a famous beach. So, you could visit the Sunshine Coast and connect with other students at the same time which was fabulous. If you plan to come to USC for an exchange semester, you absolutely must arrive before the orientation week, because in this week there are a lot of social events and parties, so this is also one of the best ways to meet and do cool things with other students.

 

Due to the virus, this time was very special for me, but in a positive sense. Because of the restrictions, I had a lot of time for being with myself and thinking about life and the future. I spent every early morning at the beach for enjoying the sunrise, sipping coffee, walking along the Pacific Ocean, reading inspiring books, thinking about new ideas and so on. This gave me some very valuable personal insights which literally have been changing my life right now. Doesn’t matter if there is a virus or not – spending time in Australia is priceless, as long as you make the best out of it!

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Mikaela Karppelin from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

5What’s crackalackin mates?! I am Mikaela Karppelin from Finland, studying a bachelor’s degree in public health with physical activity and nutrition at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL). My exchange in Australia, Sunshine Coast was one of the best experiences I have had in my life, let me tell you why.

Prior the exchange I would walk around the house, counting days until my flight, not knowing if I should scream or dance, cry or laugh. It felt unreal that the day I had been waiting for many years was around the corner and finally all paperwork was completed – I was ready to go! Fortunately, my university in Norway helped a lot with how to apply for the visa. It was the first time a student from my degree did an exchange at USC, which forced me to look for suitable courses independently.

My two favourite courses I completed was “Outdoor Living and Travel skills” and “Learning in Australian Landscapes”, where you learn about Australian nature, leadership and yourself, not to mention all the cool field trips you can go on, for example to Fraser Island (cancelled because of Covid for me). Do not be nervous regarding studying in another language than your own – the teachers are more than happy to help and you will be many students in the same position.

I travelled alone and was nervous about finding friends. That was unnecessary. The first day I moved into UniCentral, I went to the pool, started talking with three girls from all around the world, and we hanged out every day since! In my opinion it is much better to travel alone since you usually meet more people than by travelling with someone.

My number one tip is to GO OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE! It will all feel uncomfortable in the beginning but you gain a lot from it – try new things and talk to new people. This gave me new hobbies like surfing, skating and friends for life!

My second tip is to just do it! Six months might seem like a long period of time but the truth is that it will go faster than you can ever imagine – so take advantage of the time you have Down Under – go on that roadtrip, by that surfboard (hot tip – FB marketplace), start talking with strangers and let go of other peoples opinions!

My last tip is to not get stuck at Varsity or UniCentral if you live at one of the accommodations: It will be fun getting to know people during O-week but Sunshine Coast is the BOMB of beautiful places – have sunset picnics at Alex beach, take the bus to Noosa and surf the whole day, stop for an Acai Bowl, do a weekend trip to Byron Bay and Gold Coast etc…  Your exchange will be what YOU make of it!

If you have more questions or want recommendations, I will be happy to answer on Instagram @luisamikaela

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