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. After 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!
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