Danielle Black from Rider University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

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Hi everyone! My name is Danielle Black and I’m from the United States studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)! I am studying Communications and Public Relations. At home, I attend Rider University in New Jersey and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Australia!

Growing up, Australia always interested me and was somewhere that I always wanted to go. When I was applying to different colleges in high school, schools with study abroad programs really stuck out to me because I knew it was something that I wanted to do. IMG_3495After a rough first semester away from home during my first year of college, I wasn’t so sure if I’d ever be able to study abroad if I couldn’t even live an hour and a half drive away from home. As the semesters went on, I grew to love Rider and felt at home there, so I soon realised that studying abroad would be possible for me!

Before coming here, I had so many mixed emotions. I was super excited for what was to come, but I was also terrified to leave home and live in a whole new culture for five months. I had no idea what to expect, and honestly, that was good for me. I didn’t come here with many expectations and once I was here, I kind of just went with the flow and kept an open mind, which led me to meet many wonderful people and see many amazing things!

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While being here so far, I have done so many memorable things that I will cherish forever. Some of them are little moments, like seeing a beautiful sunset on Mooloolaba beach with friends, spending the day in Caloundra at the markets and the beach, hiking up to the Fairy Pools in Noosa for a swim, or even heading to Sunshine Plaza for some food and shopping.

Aside from the little things, I was able to cross some pretty big things off of my bucket list while being here. I went skydiving in Byron Bay with Skydive Australia, held a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, went to the Australia Zoo and fed a kangaroo, and even went snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef! One of my favourite things I’ve done so far was a two-night boat trip around the Whitsundays Islands, which I totally recommend everyone does at least once! It was so relaxing and beautiful and I met so many new people from all over the world. Australia has so many new experiences and views to offer, there are endless opportunities all around!

Studying abroad on the Sunshine Coast is something that I truly will never forget. I am already so sad to leave this beautiful place! I have learned so much about myself and others through this process and I am forever grateful to have this opportunity. If you are considering studying abroad, DO IT!!! You will not regret it!

– Danielle Black @danielleblack

Michael Poling from Towson University in the US studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG-1377 My name is Michael Poling and I am an international student from the United States. Back home, I attend Towson University in Towson, Maryland. Over the course of one semester, I am studying to obtain the Diploma in Business.

Studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) has been an incredible opportunity that will always hold a special place in my heart. The people I have met and the places I have visited have made this an unforgettable experience. USC does an exceptional job at helping international students adjust to their new surroundings. There are various planned trips and events that introduce the international students to one another. From an educational standpoint, the tutors and course coordinators have been amazing at helping me with any questions that I have. They truly want their students to understand the material and be successful. Overall, I am grateful for the awesome social and educational aspects of USC.

IMG-1444    There are many challenges when it comes to studying abroad in a foreign country, but I am going to try and provide some tips for students wanting to study abroad. Personally, I think the most important tip is to step out of your comfort zone. This is important because it opens the door to a multitude of opportunities that you might have missed out on if you were not willing to take a chance. One crucial tip is to set a weekly budget and do your best to stick to it. I try to limit my expenses as often as possible, which allows me travel and see more of the beautiful IMG-1497places Australia has to offer. Another tip is to immerse yourself in all the different cultures that you will experience. I have met people from all over the world and I love learning about their culture and how it differs from mine. It is also awesome when others want to learn about my hometown because it helps me cope with any homesickness that I may be experiencing. The last tip I have is to stay on top of your schoolwork. You will constantly be distracted and tempted to procrastinate. However, it is better to finish your work sooner than later because it will decrease potential stress. Hopefully these tips are insightful and will be able to help other students as they begin their journey studying abroad.

Overall, I am forever appreciative of the University of the Sunshine Coast because it has allowed me to study and live in Australia for over 5 months. This experience has helped me grow as an individual by making me step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I recommend that if you are looking to study abroad in Australia, definitely consider USC because I can assure you that you will not regret it.

– Michael Poling @m.poling

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Stine Milena Hansen from Kilroy Denmark studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

Blog photo 6Hey y’all! My name is Stine, I’m from Denmark, I’m 24 years old – but most importantly, a student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I’m currently studying a bachelor’s degree at Copenhagen Business School and had the amazing opportunity to study abroad for my 5th semester. With outstanding AND FREE help and guidance from Kilroy Denmark, my choice landed on the paradise of the Sunny Coast in Australia – and believe me, it was a perfect choice to escape good old grey Denmark.

This place is B-E-A-UTIFUL and the USC campus is something else! I can’t tell you how much I value this experience – but I’ll try..

Blog photo 4First of all, the USC campus has everything you could ever ask for. Kangaroos on the lawn, parrots in the trees, solar panels on the roof, a big old composting machine (how amazing is that?), free food at the student guild, the best dirty chai lattes, free yoga classes and I could go on and on. There’s an endless amount of services provided for you the moment you enrol as a student here. Even during the hard parts, when you have assessments due – you find light in all the services provided to guide you through your courses. I also find the professors here very chill, down to earth and with a lot of hands-on experience spiced up with some good Aussie humour. They are there for you when you need them, all you gotta do is ask.

Another great thing about studying at USC is the surroundings! There are so many amazing places to explore during the weekends and holidays! So, if you want to combine study and travel, this is the SPOT. I for instance went camping at Rainbow Beach a couple weeks ago and it was excellent. Spent the weekend beach cruising, moonlight ocean dipping with a couple stingrays, paragliding, chilling in my hammock, hiking and just exploring nature to the fullest …and this is just one of many crazy memorable weekends.

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So, don’t hesitate to take a semester abroad at University of the Sunshine Coast, you’ll gain knowledge, meet new friends and get experiences for life! Trust me you won’t regret it as long as you bring SUNSCREEN!

– Stine Milena Hansen @stinemilena

 

 

Kristoffer Wahome from Kilroy Norway studying a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) at USC Sunshine Coast

Kriss rooftop (3 of 12)Hi, My name is Kristoffer, I am a 25-year-old international student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I am pursuing a Bachelor Degree of Social Science (Psychology) and I am currently in my second year of studies.

I am an adventurous, outgoing social person that enjoys photography, sports and just living life. So the fact that the USC offers a range of social clubs to take part in, it has provided me the opportunity to form friendships with people from all around the globe with different backgrounds and culture, which is a huge bonus for me.

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Moving to Australia to study at USC was a decision I pondered about for a while before pursuing it, yet when I arrived on the Sunshine Coast I knew I had made the right decision. The weather is amazing most of the time and I am lucky to live less than a 5 minute walk away from the beach, could anyone ask for more?

As an international student that has spent over a year here on the Sunny Coast, there is still plenty of things left for me to see and experience, I frankly cannot get enough of this place. However, I can recommend some essentials that any new student here should try out;

  • Kriss rooftop grain (10 of 13)A trip up the coast to Noosa National Park where you can relax in the fairy pools, and if you’re lucky, spot a Koala making its way up in the trees
  • Visit Byron Bay, the most iconic little Australian town in my mind, you just have to experience it for your self
  • Some early mornings at the beach watching the sunrise while you’re out on your surfboard in the water
  • Trying to climb any of the nearby mountains for a chance to see a spectacular view over the coast
  • Make your way to any of the waterfalls around the coast, for a fun adventure
  • USC International - Brand Ambassador event 2 (61 of 65)Camping trips to the national forest, bonfires at night while watching the most starry sky I have found on my travels

I recommend anyone to come study at USC if you are interested in pursuing an authentic Australian experience while reviving a great education with like minded students from all around the word.

– Kristoffer Wahome @kristofferwahome

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Kristin Stefanie Peiker from the University of Applied Sciences Munich in Germany studying at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_1894Wunya Ngulum! – Welcome Everyone
I’m Kristin, I am from Munich in Germany where I usually study Tourism Management at the University of Applied Sciences (MUAS). I have been studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) these past two semesters for my bachelor’s degree in business.

Where to begin? USC and Down Under have changed my life. There is without a doubt nothing better than studying abroad. Since this wasn’t my first time coming to Australia and the Sunshine Coast region, settling in was easy and stress-free for me. It almost felt like coming home. Orientation week is a must if you can get here early enough to attend. This is where you get to make your first good contacts with other students and plenty of university organisations. So, don’t miss out.

So, here’s why you should come to USC for your studies abroad:
Ever wanted to go to the beach before you head to uni? Ever wanted to share your campus with the cutest kangaroos on earth? For me there’s absolutely nothing better than grabbing a cuppa (cup of coffee) and listening to the calming sounds of swaying palm trees while studying on campus. The USC staff, and everyone else on campus, are extremely helpful and always have a smile for you; you get this instant feeling of ‘home’.
IMG_3255One of the reasons why I chose USC is the great variety of courses they offer and their good reputation for preparing their students to really be successful in their future career paths. And having been here for a while I can now say it’s true; I learned so many valuable lessons for life.

I love going to the lectures and tutorials. Here at USC we all stick together and support each other wherever we can. Teaching staff is always there to help whether it is to further explain course content, or simply for a short chat.
Of course, uni is quite different from my studies in Munich as I have reports to write, presentations to hold and exams during the semester.

 

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Campus life! Oh, how can I best describe you? There’s nothing quite like it. Soft music melancholically playing in the backdrop at the cafes. People chatting or vigorously working on assignments; in the distance the usual clacking and roasting sounds from the coffee machines and from time to time a voice with ‘order for Kristin’ echoes. Doesn’t Balu‘s motto of the bare necessities of ‘peace and quiet’ fit perfectly? I got to meet people as crazy as me and people completely unlike me, and I became friends with all of them. I believe this is one of the perks of uni and of being abroad; you get to build this great multicultural network; the best of the very best. We suffered together when we, again started way to late on our assignments. We partied together when we finally, after long nights in front of your laptop, handed them in and we travelled together – of course, the actual reason why you study abroad.

Don’t just come here for your semester and bring some time to travel. Make sure to hop on a plane to Sydney or Melbourne. Or stay at Sunshine Coast and cruise around the hinterland. There’s plenty to see and explore for instance Noosa, the Sunshine Coasts’ golden child, is a must see! Before or after the lectures and on weekends I get to enjoy life to the fullest. Barbeques and rounds of beach volleyball at the beach, hopping from one Food & Wine Festival to the next, and exploring Fraser Island with our 4WD, the largest sand island in the world .

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Despite loads of work and a healthy portion of stress, I get the feeling of being on permanent holidays. And of course, this is also thanks to the many rays of sunshine. Not for nothing else is the region called Sunshine ‘Sunny’ Coast. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and start your very own study abroad adventure!

– Kristin Peiker @kristinsteffi

 

Lillian DeMarco from Rider University: 15 Tips to Make Your Study Abroad Experience at USC Sunshine Coast 100%

32DF702E-CE2E-4934-8033-AD9320B6382FHi, my name is Lillian DeMarco and I’ve been studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Semester 2, 2019 from Rider University in New Jersey, USA

There’s so many reasons why someone would choose to study abroad in Australia – the beaches, mountains, environment, diverse wildlife, laid back lifestyle, high standard of living, and great breadth of international food. But, no matter how great a place is, sometimes you need some guidance to be able to get the BEST experience, especially during your stay in Australia. Here is some advice I would give to anyone studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast for the first time:

How to make your Australian experience 100%:

*(This blog article is based on one students experience and every student has to consider their own circumstances)

1. The sooner into your degree you can study abroad, the better.

    • If you’re coming to USC as a study abroad students through a University like Rider, this is a beneficial tip because you will be able to find transferable classes more easily early on, than if you have to take upper level courses. If you can, try taking introductory level or elective courses (100 coded courses) when you’re studying abroad so you can dedicate more time to exploring and having fun!

2. Arrive earlier than necessary.

    1. img_5441.jpegUSC recommend all international students to arrive 3-4 days before Orientation week, which leaves you with a couple of days to acclimatize yourself. However, I suggest arriving earlier (as long as the housing accommodation allows you to), which will give you more time to move in, meet a few people, and get accustomed to the environment before you make your way to the university.

3. Exchange currency at the proper place.

      • DO NOT exchange your currency/cash at the airport, as they are the most expensive place to do that. For example, at the time I came, the market rate was 1.38 AUD for every 1.00 USD that I exchanged, but the rate I ended up receiving from the airport’s kiosk was only 1.17 AUD for every 1.00 USD (a total ripoff, in my opinion). I suggest going to the Sunshine Plaza or Kawana Shopping World, the closest shopping centres, and exchanging your currency at a place there. They offer rates that are more comparable to the market rate, which will likely be better.

4. Things to do/buy right away.

    • DSC01787_OriginalWhen you’re at the Sunshine Plaza or Kawana Shopping World, you need to open up a bank account, activate a cell phone service, and buy sunscreen. I suggest opening up a zero fee Suncorp bank account because they cater to students, and you are able to close it online relatively easily after you leave Australia.
    • For the phone service, Telstra is your best bet when it comes to coverage quality and overall value. Depending on the amount of money you want to spend, you can either buy a cheap prepaid phone and SIM card, or if your device is already unlocked, feel free to just buy the prepaid SIM card and top up monthly when you need more data.
    • And as for sunscreen, depending on when you arrive, it will be either be summer (Semester 1) or winter (Semester 2). Plan accordingly. If it’s summer, buy Cancer Council 50+ Ultra SPF sunscreen RIGHT away, as you can get blisters within minutes in the Australian sun. If it’s winter, definitely buy some face lotion with sunscreen in it and get 30+ SPF for the rest of your body, but there’s not as much pressure to put it on all the time.
    • You’re going to need to provide your own bed, bath, cleaning, and housing necessities (depending on where you decide to stay e.g. Varsity or UniCentral). Buy based on budget and what you need, but your best stores to go to for housing items are Big W, Kmart, and Target.

5. Plan out your time.

    • For the best use of your time, especially if you’re only staying a semester, do lots of weekend trips (Adelaide, Sydney, Fraser Island, Tangalooma, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Byron Bay, to name a few). You’re going to want to explore more of the country, so leave some time after the semester to go to Uluru (Ayers Rock), spend more time in the cities, take a bus up the East Coast, and travel to the West Coast, Bali, Fiji, and New Zealand.

6. Get a travel agent.

    • 56C1793E-AD2E-4AEB-87C9-28D32AEDF70F_OriginalIf you plan on going to a lot of places during and after the semester, GET YOURSELF A TRAVEL AGENT! They will save you SO much time and even some money when you book through them as opposed to you booking everything as a sole customer.
    • For example, I rented a car for the mid-semester break. By booking through a travel agent, I ended up getting a free upgrade, being able to put a deposit down instead of paying all at once, and saving money on unnecessary charges by buying the correct insurance for my needs based on their advice.
    • Planning takes forever to do on your own, which is why I recommend Peter Pans Adventure Travel. They’re based in Noosa, which is 40 minutes away from the University, but a representative will come to you if you do not have a car. It’s super convenient and saved me a LOT of stress throughout the semester.

7. If you can, buy a car or share one with a fellow student!

    • If you can afford it, get a cheap car (less than $2,000), or split a better one with some other international students, if possible! Either way, you won’t regret it. I really wish I got a car the first week I was here, because a car makes seeing everything you want to see a lot easier to achieve. When I rented a car for the mid-semester break, it showed me how beneficial having a car in Australia really is.

8. If you can’t get a car, get student rates on public transportation.

    • No one told me about this until it was too late, but if you are eligible, you can change your “program” to a “Diploma of General Studies” within the first four weeks of classes before the census date (20 March 2020), which makes you eligible for concession (student) rates on public transportation. Don’t worry, this won’t change the courses you’re already taking. Student rates will save you a lot of money, over 50%! For example, to get to the Sunshine Plaza, it usually costs about $3.31, but with your student card, it’ll only be about $1.66. Over time, especially if you don’t end up buying a car, the student rates are worth it!

9. Attend Orientation Week 17-21 Feb (International Orientation Day – 16 Feb 2020)

    • Orientation week is the week before classes commence. Depending on your program, there will be activities and seminars for you to attend several days between Monday – Friday. This week is especially helpful if you’re a first year university student. After the sessions, there are ample opportunities to meet new people, as many people tend to socialize at the student housing that whole week! It’s a week I highly suggest being present for.

10. Get involved at USC.

    • Join clubs and organizations as if this were your home university. It’s a great way to meet new people and enhance your skills. And you never know what kind of professional connections you can make!
    • I joined Toastmasters International and took the 5 week intensive Speechcrafters course, became a USC International Brand Ambassador (you get to go on cool trips with other international students while having an enhanced presence on social media), and was a photographer for the Sexual Violence Awareness Month throughout October. Get out there!

11. Explore the nearby towns.

    • Whether you have a car or public transportation, I recommend exploring the Sunshine Coast. A simple Google search will show you all the many places you could go. There are plenty of places conducive to all day trips or just for a few hours, with something for everyone.

12. Get a job.

    • E7653255-D592-4095-8E66-7E1A5A058875I’d definitely get a job if you’re here for longer than a semester, or at least apply for a few. The daily living and travel expenses in Australia can get to be pretty expensive, especially if you don’t have any money flowing in. Part time jobs usually require less than 20 hours of your time per week, which is manageable as a student AND they pay well (some between $20-30 an hour!).
    • Honestly, if you’re only here a semester, don’t worry about getting a job. You’ll find that it’s just too much to manage, and when several years go by after you return home, you’ll wish you spent the maximum time exploring and adventuring instead of worrying about working. If you’re really short on money, try to limit the amount of times you go out to eat at restaurants, and focus on spending your time doing free or low-cost activities like hiking or going to the beach.

13. Go out of your comfort zone.

    • There will DEFINITELY be things in Australia that you will want to do, but your feeling of fear might hold you back. DON’T let it hold you back! Some scary things yet life changing things that you might want to do are skydiving, ziplining, surfing, touching a cheetah, parasailing, cliff jumping, scuba diving, snorkeling, and mountain climbing. You WON’T regret putting in the effort to live your best life, trust me!

14. Try a social media detox.

    • While I wasn’t able to do this during the semester because of my responsibilities at my home university and connections with my boyfriend and best friends at home, I definitely recommend taking a break from or limiting social media and screen time at least for a few days during your time in Australia. It can be very mentally beneficial to relax and not worry about what other people are doing, because it’s so hard NOT to compare yourself when you browse social media! Take the time and live in the moment to best enjoy YOUR experiences. Own your time!

15. End your lease on time.

    • Students that live in the accommodations near campus usually end their leases a few weeks after the semester ends. If you know you’re traveling, (which you will be) end the lease as SOON as possible! Don’t make the mistake of extending it, thinking you’ll be around to hang out and have somewhere to put your stuff that you won’t take with you on your post-semester adventures! (Hint: you will be traveling, and you won’t need your room.) Do this in an effort to avoid paying for weeks you might not even be around to enjoy having your own room, anyways.

Thanks for reading, and I hope these tips help make your stay in Australia as an international student that much more exciting!

– Lillian DeMarco @lil_dem  & @Ildphotos

 

Thomas Loft from Denmark: 6 good reasons «not» to study at USC 😅

Thomas Loft from Denmark is studying a Bachelor of International Business at USC Sunshine Coast and wants to give you;

6 good reasons «not» to study at USC 🙉

1.    You get new best friends who you may never see again

IMG_5282During your time at USC you will meet so many incredible new people and without a doubt make friends for life. Whether you meet them on campus, at your accommodation, on a night out in Ocean Street or on one of your many trips these people will, become your best friends and soon you will start hanging out with these people every day. Sadly though, a time will come when you will have to say goodbye to these people, and you won’t be able to see them every day.

 

2.    Your home country will seem incredibly boring when you go back

IMG_2355There’s nothing duller than going back to a rainy, grey and cold day to day life, where you spent as little time as possible outside, when you have just come from the paradise world, such as the Sunshine Coast. All of a sudden there is no more fantastic beaches, no more incredible wildlife and no more perfect weather.

 

3.    Family and friends may hate you a little

IMG_3075Jealousy is an awful thing, but your friends and family will most likely start hating you more and more for every incredible photo you post on Instagram. At first, they may seem happy for you, but before you know it, they won’t even like your photos anymore. 🤷🏽‍♂️

 

4.    The time at USC may be the best time of your life, so it is all downhill from there

IMG_1194Going to a new country to stay for 6 or more months may be very intimidating at first, but once you settle in and start exploring Australia, the good memories and experiences will soon make you forget, that there once was somewhere else, which you called home. You may go explore the Glasshouse Mountains, visit Noosa National Park, learn to surf, go for a weekend trip to beautiful Brisbane or Melbourne or even go skydiving. The endless possibilities and the overflow of new experiences may be the peak of your life’s adventures, so sadly it’s all downhill from there. 😅

 

5.    You spend way too much time planning trips

IMG_0973All the time you would have spent back home, just going through your phone or watching random tv-shows are all of a sudden gone and you now spend that time planning awesome trips with awesome people. This is precious time that you will never get back, and you will definitely miss out on watching that 4th season of “Ice Road Truckers” and miss a bunch of not-so-funny memes. (It might be worth it though) 🌞

 

6.    You will definitely get a post USC depression

Post-travel depression is the worst. It just hurts in your soul, that your travels are over. Upon returning home from USC (if you don’t decide to stay in Australia), everything is suddenly back to normal and all you have left is some amazing pictures and some memories. You will miss everything and everyone from your time at USC. Your flirt, your best friends, the smells, the food, the area and the feeling of freedom won’t be there anymore, and you might cry a little that it is all over.

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