Peter Buchen from Fulda University of Applied Sciences in Germany studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

TassieHi, my name is Peter and I am studying International Business Administration at the University of Applied Sciences Fulda in Germany. During our studies we have to undertake an obligatory semester abroad, which has (fortunately) led me to study at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) in Australia for one semester. As the name of the university already suggests, one can expect a lot of sunshine all year long.

Located on the east side of Australia, the USC campus in Sippy Downs is truly beautiful and located on a designated wildlife reserve. Therefore, it is almost common to encounter kangaroos, possums, birds and duck families when you walk to your lecture.  If you are lucky, they may accompany you on your way. But not only the campus is amazing, the nearby beaches offer the opportunity for having BBQ’s whilst watching the sunset, take surfing lessons or just to relax and enjoy life.

campus wildlife 2As an international student, and being quite far away from home, it is always challenging to adapt to the new circumstances. The peaceful Australian lifestyle and the no worries attitude definitely help to settle in quickly. The welcome events organised by USC also assisted to feel welcome and to meet new people. Furthermore, USC offers a wide range of workshops and a social sport program.

At USC, I attended three courses which consist of a two-hour lecture and a one-hour tutorial. While the lectures focus on theoretical knowledge, the tutorials emphasise on applying the gained knowledge by working on individual problems and questions. In contrast to Germany, where we only take one exam in each course per semester, the overall grade at the USC is made up by three different tasks for each course during the semester. Therefore, it is easy to follow on how you are performing in your course.

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For me, another huge part of my semester abroad has been travelling and exploring Australia. It is nearly impossible to explore all of Australia’s gems in only one semester. However, prioritising your favourite spots or locations which you want to visit (and checking your wallet for enough cash) definitely helps. Even though studying during the semester abroad is important – you will always find time to travel. The given one-week semester break is a great opportunity for a road trip. We used the semester break for a short trip down to Tasmania. The landscape and weather are totally different than what we were used to at the Sunshine Coast. Moreover, I can recommend visiting Fraser Island by renting a 4WD. The lakes on Fraser Island are just astonishing.

Studying at USC has truly been a unique experience, which I can highly recommend. As advice: Travel, explore and fully experience life here by challenging yourself. Step outside your comfort zone and just embrace every opportunity and you will have a wonderful time.

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USC Student Georgia Duffy Studying Overseas at the University of Mississippi in the US

img_7035.jpegHotty toddy! I’m Georgia and I’m studying abroad for a semester at Ole Miss, as it is affectionately referred to. Mississippi has been one of the best experiences of my life. Ole Miss has one of the most beautiful campuses in America and it is HUGE. I firmly believe that no campus could outdo Ole Miss but each to their own.

If you are on the edge about studying abroad, all I can say is do it! The south is like nothing I have ever known, I have also never seen so much fried chicken. I got to do a bit of travelling during weekends, visiting Nashville, New Orleans and Atlanta which were all beautiful and a bit hectic in the best way. I’d have to say that the people I met at Ole Miss are without a doubt the best part. I have made so many life-long friends that made this experience just that much better!

I recommend living on campus as transportation is a bit unreliable and being on campus is so much more convenient. The football season was mind-blowing, and I firmly suggest coming here in the fall. Football is no joke here (also they have no idea what ‘footy’ means which I found amusing). Remember to consider the exchange rate and costs that you easily forget about such as bathroom amenities and even cutlery and plates! If you do choose to study abroad, don’t stress the little things, they will work out.

Ole Miss is quirky and beautiful, and I would 100% recommend coming here. The experience is daunting, but it definitely paid off. Finally, be grateful for the staff at USC! I had a little fall while over here and sprained my ankle, USC were quick to respond and assist which I will be forever thankful for.

– Georgia Duffy

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5 Hidden Gems on the Sunshine Coast

We have gathered a couple of hidden gems here on the coast, ranging from cafes to beautiful, hidden locations. Some of these places might be familiar to a Sunshine Coast local, but if you’re new to the Sunshine Coast you should definitely make some time on your schedule to visit these places!

Front page photo: Traveller photo submitted by Darren (Jun. 2017)

1. Kenilworth Bakery

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Opening hours: Everyday From 6am Until SELL OUT.

Address: 8 Elizabeth St, Kenilworth QLD 4574

You might be disappointed in yourself that you haven’t heard about this before now, but for all doughnut fans: look no further. The famous bakery in Kenilworth offers a bakery experience of it’s own, with amazing doughnuts in every possible flavour you can imagine. Considering they are so popular and people often travel to Kenilworth just to get a taste of what the bakery has to offer, you’ll need to be there early in the morning to secure yourself one of these tasty doughnuts. Ranging from the apple crumble, golden gay-time, oreo and world’s first coffee in a doughnut, why not go all out and challenge yourself with the 1 kg doughnut challenge. Check them out on Instagram here!

2. Ewen Maddock Dam

Depending on where you live, you might not have heard of this place. Located in Mooloolah Valley, this dam is a place where you can have nice picnics while enjoying the silence. The Ewen Maddock Dam is perfect for a swim or kayaking, and it has the most amazing view over the huge watery expanse. It has seats, bbq’s and a sandy shore to enjoy. You can even walk through the forest path next to the water and enjoy the bird life. There are also some great mountain bike tracks nearby if you’re up fore some action. Bring your friends and check it out! Read more here.

 

3. The Strawberry Fields

Pick your own strawberries! Strawberry Fields is a Pick Your Own Farm and the season is from May to October (not too far away!) where you get to go out on the field and pick your very own strawberries. They also have a shop, a Cafe, a playground and a gift shop. We already know this has been a popular thing to do amongst students, bu it normally takes a while before someone brings it to your attention, especially when you’re new to the coast. It’s located only 10 minutes away from the University (opposite to Aussie Worlds), so there’s no excuse not to go if you’re a strawberry lover! Check them out here.

 

 

4. THE BIRDS & THE BEANS ESPRESSO BAR

Image may contain: indoorOpening hours: Monday-Saturday 6 – 11.30am 

Address: The old Vandy’s Garage, 114 Burnett St, Buderim QLD

This gem is situated in an old service station from 1918 and is well-known amongst Buderim locals. They make some really awesome coffee with Kai Specialty roast, and not to mention, their delicious NYC Bagels with cream cheese. Another amazing thing about this gem is that they currently donate one dollar for every kilo of coffee they sell to rescue children in developing nations. You can find them on Facebook here.

 

5. GURU Life

Image may contain: people sitting, plant, tree, table and outdoorOpening hours: Every day 6am-3pm

Address: 522A Petrie Creek Rd, Rosemount QLD 4560

GURU Life Restaurant & Garden will bring happiness and enlightenment to your day through a delicious menu, served up in a relaxed garden setting. This is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious lunch or a simple cup of coffee, roasted on site. The Soloman Chicken is a favourite on the lunch menu, and the relaxing vibes make this a destination a popular spot you definitely want to check out. You can check them out here!

 

 

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

 

Exploring Double Island with Thomas & Auriane from The School of Industrial Biotechnology (EBI) in France

Forecast announced a sunny weekend, as usual for more than 300 days a year on the sunshine coast. We decide, after 3 weeks in Australia, to organize our first “true” adventure. A few researches quickly led us toward the Great Sandy National Park, 150km North of our position.

This 200 000 km2, including the famous Fraser Island and Rainbow beach, seems to have the features that appeals to us: adventure and discovery.

Order of operations is as follow: departure at dawn on Sunday, followed by a visit of Rainbow Beach (1) before exploring the northern part of the park for the rest of the day. We would return on Monday morning, after a night at Teewah Beach (3).

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A map of the park. In green, our planned trip.

I) Rainbow Beach.

After two hours on the road, we finally arrived at our first checkpoint: Rainbow Beach. Named this way due to its coloured sand dunes, holding various minerals, the city has only been accessible by road since 1969, allowing the tourism market to develop.

Carlo Sandblow
A view on the peninsula from Carlo Sandblow.

After a small stop at the main beach, we head out South-West towards Carlo Sandblow. From there, we went on a small hike in the rainforest. The forest came to an end. Before us, a breathtaking view. Hidden in the centre of the forest was an enormous sand expanse, stretching across hundreds of meters, reaching to the sea.

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Carlo Sandblow, a sea of sand overlooking the ocean.

From this point of view, we see our next destination: the lighthouse on the northern peninsula of the park.

Back at Rainbow Beach and after a quick fill up of the gas tank, we drive to Freshwater Road, our entrance point in the Park.

II) Access to the beach and the lighthouse.

We enter Freshwater Road, an asphalt road relatively wide to our surprise. However, after only a few hundreds of meters, we end up on a three meters wide gravel road, still two-way.

We make halt, deflate the tires and go into 4WD mode. Relatively easy at first, the road was changing in front of our eyes to a path across the rainforest. The nature taking back what was hers as we advanced, we discover with apprehension and excitation an Australian speciality: off-road driving.

Turns become hairpins, slopes become steeper and steeper and the track, first made of dirt and rocks, turns into loose sand. Over weighed by our gear, Jerry (our Nissan X-Trail) does not yield and takes on every obstacle with success.

After roughly 10 km and half an hour in this jungle, we finally arrive at the Day Recreation Area, where we stop to deflate the tires even more.

At a few dozens of meters lied the much-wanted beach. Getting back on board, we head up towards the beach.

What a feeling. Stretching as far as the eye can see, the sandy expanse offered a breathtaking view, without anything to spoil this instant. To our left, the sand dune. To our right, the turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean. The hard sand was holding the car’s weight, providing an unmatched feeling of softness (it feels like we are in a softener ad).

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Auriane & Jerry at Teewah beach.

A few kilometres brought us to the northern end of the beach, at the foot of the lighthouse. The incoming tide leads us to park as far as possible of the ocean, in a soft sand. After nearly getting stuck in the sand, we notice immediately that our Nissan X-Trail is the smallest vehicle on the beach, pale in comparison of the Jeep and Land Rovers.

After a quick lunch, we put on our backpacks on and follow the track leading to the lighthouse. The open view offered us the best sight of the day when whales appeared, blowing and jumping out of the water for several minutes.

Coming back down on the beach, we encountered a turtle which was diving under the incessant waves to feed.

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A turtle under the waves.

Leaving this idyllic place, when now head out south, along the never-ending beach. After roughly fifteen kilometres, we catch sight of the entrance of Teewah Beach, where you can camp for the night. More than ten kilometres in length, the area shall be our anchor point for the night. After exploring the beach in all its length, we decide to stop under the trees lining the beach.

We are alone. The sound of the waves and wind for only company, we admire the sunset feet in water.

The night falling quickly, we prepare Jerry for the night. The bed is already set, we only need to install makeshift curtains to the windows and a mosquito net to the sunroof.

Then came the time to prepare dinner. The gas cooker boils a pot of water for our three-stars meal. Nothing innovative: a bag of pasta and a pot of bolognese sauce do the job.

The day was long, Auriane went to bed, but it is out of the question for me to sleep. The Great sandy National Park enjoys near-total darkness, with very few light pollution, allowing me to capture the totality of the night sky. My schedule for the night is tightly packed: five different targets will demand a constant work from 6pm to 3am, leaving me about two and a half hours of sleep.

The gear up and running, I start to image nights capes in the hope to pay homage to the beauty of the place.

Thus, I decide to target a part of the Milky Way, which is invisible from the northern hemisphere, rising above the forest. Later, I would target for a few dozen minutes the Eta Carinae Nebula Complex along with the Southern Cross constellation.

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11pm. The moonless night should be inscrutable to the eye. In reality I can see pretty well. The Milky Way along with bio luminescent algae in the ocean gives of enough light for the human eye to see, allowing for movements without headlamp.

It is in this kind of environment that visual observation makes perfect sense. Once my eyes accustomed, I can resolve the gas clouds in our galactic core, various star clusters and even some nebulae.

Then came the moment I was waiting for. The most important target of the night was here: a conjunction between Jupiter and the Scorpius constellation. The camera is configured to automatically take sixty exposures, totalling roughly one hour of data integration. I take advantage of this time to sleep for a while.

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Jupiter and the Scorpius constellation.

I go on the other targets with the same scheme, in the company of the crabs that live on the beach, before finally going to sleep at 3am.

5:30am. The alarm clock goes off. We get up with difficulty in order to witness the sunrise. The scene is breathtaking. The few clouds on the ocean multiply the beauty of the dawn. We are still alone, and the view induce our minds into thinking we are alone on a desert island.

tewaah

7am. After the breakfast, we tidy up our gear and prepare for the return to Sunshine Coast.

This time, Auriane drives on the forest track. Once on the rainbow beach road, I nickname her Sébastien Loeb (in reference of the nine-time French rally world champion) for her driving style and quality as well as her precision in difficult parts of the track.

Once the tank filled all the way up and the tires inflated, we leave the park, happy to have lived such an adventure.

Thomas.

Check out Thomas’ full travel blog HERE

15 Australian Music Festivals You Need To Experience At Least Once

Featured image: Bianca Holderness

There are so many festivals in Australia that you should check out, with everything from genres such as electro, rock, dubstep, pop and indie music! We have put together a list of 15 festivals in Australia that we believe you should check out whilst studying!

1. The Big Pineapple FestivalSunshine Coast, QLD

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Sunshine Coast’s Big Pineapple Music Festival is held every year in May and is the biggest festival on the Coast. With well-know local and Australian artists such as Peking duk, Broods and PNAU headlining in 2019, The festival has steadily grown in profile and popularity, and is regularly sold out. With a growing list of annual events, The Big Pineapple Music Festival is now an event of national standing, having been awarded one of Australia’s top regional music festivals!

2. Woodford Folk Festival – Woodfordia, QLD

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Held every New Years Eve, Woodford Folk Festival is an annual music and cultural festival held near the semi-rural town of Woodford, 72 km north of Brisbane. It is one of the biggest annual cultural events of its type in Australia where approximately 125,000 people attend the festival every year. With approximately 2000 performers and 438 events, this festival is featuring local, national and international guests.

3. Festival X – Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne

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Fairly new on the market, Festival X which kicks off on November 29th in Brisbane, will feature some huge headliners such as Calvin Harris, Armin Van Buuren and Lil Pump, the perfect mix for those who want to experience some top American artists. Australian artists such as Alison Wonderland, Anna Lunoe and Godlands will also be there to give you the real Aussie experience, so you really just have to book a ticket and see for yourself – you probably won’t be disappointed!

4. Splendour in the Grass – Byron Bay Parklands, NSW

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Splendy, what should we say? This is definitely the festival for all ages and people, and there is so much to do that we could have spent a whole day writing about it. Held in the North Byron Parklands every July, the 2019 version featured some of the greatest artist on this planet. Experience some of the best Australian and American artists, visit the Tipi Forest, Global Village, The Bohemian Lounge, The World Stage, and much much more! The opportunities are endless and there’s no question about why this festival attracts people from all over Australia and even internationally. You just have to experience it for yourself, it’s something unique!

5. Falls Festival – Byron Bay Parklands & Tasmania

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Starting it off with Splendour in July, there is not time for withdrawals having Falls Festival right around the corner. Similar to Splendour (except from being held in the middle of the summer and you’ll probably be sweaty all the time), Falls this year will feature Halsey, Vampire Weekends, and Peking Duk (even Lewis Capaldi!) so this might be something you don’t want to miss out on. What better way to celebrate the New Year right?

6. Listen Out – Brisbane Showgrounds, Queensland

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Listen Out, this is one of our favourites! Held every September/October (yes, it’s right around the corner!), this festival will bring you dance, electro and hip hop with artist such as 6lack, Biscits, Cosmo’s Midnight, Denzel Curry and Diplo. Being a popular festival for Sunny Coast people, in addition to The Big Pineapple Festival, this festival will give you more of a city-vibe. With two stages, you can easily move from one to the other if both of your favourite acts are on! Accommodation is normally easy to find being that it’s located in the heart of Brisbane, but be quick – it’s always sold out!

7. Grass is Greener – Gold Coast, QLD

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We’ve lost count in terms of how many new festivals there are this year, but we are not complaining! Event though Grass is Greener has been around since 2016, it has recently picked up here in Queensland and will be kicking off on the 19th of October in Gold Coast. Tyga will be headlining along with Amy Shark, Hermitude and The Veronicas. If you already know you won’t be able to make it to Gold Coast, they are giving you a second opportunity to experience the festival in Cairns on the 26th. To us, it is not too expensive and definitely sounds like the grass must be greener at that festival, considering their line-up.

8. Wildlands Festival – Brisbane Showgrounds, QLD

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Wildlands is a brand new, unique one-day dance festival. Happening at the end of December, Wildlands is the brain child of two of Australia’s most loved festivals. Beyond The Valley and Origin Fields founders have promised the biggest and most exciting dance, electronic and hip-hop acts, both national and international. This year’s lineup will feature sets from RÜFÜS DU SOL, Tyler, the Creator, Skepta, Ella Mai and Green Velvet (info). With tickets around 170$, we believe this might be a good hit for those who don’t want to spend heaps of money on a three-day festival, but would still like to experience the best of the best right before New Years!

9. ULTRA Australia – Sydney & Melbourne

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ULTRA came to Australia for the first time in 2018 featuring some big artists such as Martin Garrix, The Chainsmokers and Marshmello. ULTRA originally being from America, the festival has now made itself popular on the Australian market. With March 7th & 8th on the schedule for next year, we recommend making it a long-weekend trip to Sydney or Melbourne to get the whole package!

10. Field Day – Sydney (New Years Day), NSW

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Who experienced FOMO last year when missing out on Cardi B and Fisher performing? In saying that, this year might also live up to you expectations as we have Green Velvet, Dom Dolla, RL Grime, Skepta and many more performing – this is definitely scoring high on our top list of music festivals 2019! Celebrate the first day of 2020 with your friends in Sydney and experience the best of our Australian (and some American) performers.

11. Beyond The Valley – Lardner Parklands, VIC

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Since it’s inception in 2014, the boutique music festival Beyond The Valley has grown into an annual party-goers haven. Running annually over the New Year’s Eve period, BTV’s carefully crafted selection of local and international artists perform across three distinctly designed, purpose-built stages. Each year, thousands of festival-goers from all over the globe travel to the lush Parklands of Lardner to experience Beyond The Valley (info). This year, (it’s unfortunately sold out), artists such as RÜFÜS DU SOL, Tyler, the Creator, 16BL and Bag Raiders will headline along with many more. Start planning for 2020 and be quick, the tickets can sometimes be hard to get a hold on!

12. Groovin The Moo Oakbank, Bunbury, Bendigo, Canberra, Maitland, and Townsville

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Ever since it’s kick-off in 2005, this festival has provided a groovy atmosphere! Held every year in May, the festival featured some big artists this year with Billie Eilish, Aurora and ASAP Twelvyy. There are heaps of locations to choose from, enabling you to literally plan your road trip everywhere! All of the shows sell out every year, so be quick if you want a hold of some tix next year!

13. Origin Fields – Perth, WA

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Heads up, Perth seems to be your new NYE plan! Ring in 2020 with Tyler The Creator, Skepta, RL Grime, UK singer Ella Mai and another Aussie favourite, Golden Features. This not-to-miss-out-on festival is held from December 31st to January 1st and believe us, after reading this, you’re probably about to realise that there’s a lot of festivals around NYE. It’s definitely not a bad thing, but you now have a difficult decision to make!

14. SandTunes Music Festival – Gold Coast, QLD

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Another new two-day festival which has definitely not been saving any money on artists, featuring LOGIC, Travis Scott and Dean Lewis. They have been met with some criticism being a bit expensive (would explain the lineup), and changing the venue just recently, but we believe with their new 1-day ticket, it’s definitely worth a go! However, if you’re the type of person who hates how 1-day festivals go too quick, this might be the reason to get a hold on that 2-day pass! Save some money and get amongst it, November 30th is right around the corner!

15. Laneway Festival – Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, Adelaide & Fremantle

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Last but not least, the Laneway festival in Brisbane which featured Cosmo’s Midnight, Crooked Colours, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and many more this year. It’s been around 15 years since it first kicked off, and it’s absolutely one of the favourites around Australia. Starting predominantly off as an indie music event, the festival grew in popularity and has expanded to five Australian cities, including Auckland, New Zealand and Singapore. Billie Eilish delivered a mind blowing concert this year, so there’s no reason to believe it won’t be any less next year.

 

Steph in the Galápagos Islands


Studying in the Galapagos Islands has been surreal, researching endemic species and having close encounters with these incredible creatures, words hardly describe the raw and rare experience. The abundance of marine life is unbelievable and swimming with sea lions never gets old, on numerous occasions I have had my flippers, arm, GoPro and sometimes face chewed playfully. Watching them dance in the ocean is remarkable and mesmerizing.
Studying here involves lots of field work with most research projects involving scuba diving or snorkelling.

Class is Monday – Friday 9am – 12pm, therefore afternoons and weekends are free to swim with sea lions, camp on private beaches, surf uncrowded waves, dive with hammerhead sharks, snorkel with turtles, sleep in 300 year old tree houses, island hop, hang with tortoises as old as your grandparents and watch the beautiful sunsets.  Being here, for such an extended amount of time is a mermaids dream. It has allowed me to indulge into this beautiful culture, expand on my Spanish vocabulary and further expand on my marine knowledge as there are limited Marine subjects available at USC.

By Steph Gabriel