USC student Sophie Alvsaker studying overseas at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY

78238715_534863160400043_6457880394967547904_n.v1My name is Sophie Alvsaker, and I studied Bachelor of social science (psychology)/ Bachelor of Criminal Justice at Canisius College, Buffalo, NY for 1 semester.

Studying overseas is an incredible experience, it forces you out of your comfort zone and into a culture of new attitudes, values and beliefs. It’s a huge opportunity for personal growth and development but most importantly. it’s so much fun.

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to travel for an extended period of time, but didn’t want to change my degree, so I combined the two 😊. I think the reason it’s been such a great experience is because you don’t just spend time in a new place, you’re completely immersed in it and so you learn so much about the area in a way you couldn’t through travelling alone.

Compared to USC Sunshine Coast, the education at Canisius College is relatively similar, the classes are small and the teachers are really helpful. I think if you’ve seen any American college movies you’ll be well equipped for what to expect at Canisius. Fraternity parties are comically similar to the films, as are the sports games and residence halls.

Buffalo is right next to Niagara Falls, only a few hours from Toronto and a bus ride from New York City. There’s also a lot of national parks in the area and places to ski or snowboard. Because I was here from August to December, I got to experience the end of summer, fall and the start of winter- I’d definitely recommend doing the same as the season changes are beautiful.

One tip I’d give to people planning to study abroad in the US is to come for fall semester, that way you get to experience the change in seasons, as well as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and all the Christmas markets.

–  Sophie Alvsaker

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Amelie Hoffrén from Sweden studying a Bachelor of Criminology and Justice at USC Sunshine Coast

image_123986672My name is Amelie Hoffrén and I am a Swedish international student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I am doing a three-year-long bachelor degree of Criminology and Justice, minoring in Sociology. I moved here just after I graduated high school so I have no experience of Swedish Universities, but I imagine that they are quite different from USC.

In June 2016 I left my home in Sweden for an adventure on the other side of the world. A few weeks before I got here I started my ‘research’ – i.e. stalking every international student at USC I could find on social media. I thought I was prepared for everything and anything that the Australian lifestyle had to offer. Let’s just say that I was very wrong, not to mention naive. First of all, my whole life did not fit in my suitcase – shocker, right? Friends, family, and the comfort of living at home had to all stay in Sweden. Secondly, no one told me that winter nights on the coast can get quite chilly, especially as Australian households rarely have heaters. So leaving your window open when it’s 5 degrees outside at night is not recommended. Thirdly, I sure as heck wasn’t prepared for Aussie slang. It never cease to amaze me how creative Australians have been with the English language. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, someone will say a word or phrase that makes you realise that you’ve only seen the very tip of the iceberg.

Now almost 3 years have passed since I first got here, and holy moly what a blast it’s been. My main reason why I wanted to study abroad was because I could not decide whether I wanted to travel or study. Studying here has allowed me to see different parts of Australia as well as two trips to New Zealand. I have also made friends that made it possible for me to travel to America and stay there during one of my uni summer break. Another thing studying here has allowed me to do was to foster dogs! I have been taking care of dogs until they get adopted whilst studying at the same time. Although juggling the two can be difficult at times, it has also helped my studying a lot as I have to take regular breaks to take them out for walks.

IMG_6888I could easily write a hundred reasons why studying abroad has been the best three years of my life and another hundred on what you’re about to sign up for. However, reflecting back on this whole experience now when it’s coming to an end, I’m glad that I didn’t know what was waiting ahead when I boarded that plane almost three years ago.

The beauty of studying abroad is that no matter how much you researched beforehand, you will never be able to fully prepare for the adventures that await you once the plane touches Australian land.


Haley Mahony from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Image-8Hi! My name is Haley Mahony and I am studying Computer Science and Information Security at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, New York. I am from New Jersey, about an hour from New York City.

I have always wanted to travel. The experience and growth gained from traveling is something that I reach for. While studying I have always wanted to study abroad for a semester, and when my college in America offered a program in Australia, I was interested immediately. Australia was a place I always dreamed of going and I was accepted into the study abroad program with an internship included for a cyber security organisation. This was incredible, to travel and study in another country as well as have an internship was an awesome opportunity.Image-7

My experience at the University of the Sunshine Coast has been incredible. The staff is so understanding and really care for each student. I have made many friends from USC international as well as living in the accommodation on campus. I have traveled a lot in 4 months including, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Fraser Island, Whitsundays, Cairns, Byron Bay, Sydney, Melbourne and Uluru and Kata Tjuta. I also traveled internationally to Bali and New Zealand. USC is located in the Sunshine Coast which is just beautiful. The beaches, the hikes, the rainforest. Queensland is so nice, and studying in Australia has given me so many opportunities and it has truly been the best 4 months of my college experience. I finished my time with a Diploma in General Studies, completed my internship, and was involved in USC International Brand Ambassador program. I have gained so much from studying at USC and I’m so thankful to have picked USC to study at.


Brian Bikram from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NY studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Australia, for some time now, has always been my number one travel destination. The kangaroos, the beautiful weather, the Australian accent, and many more made me want to come here. When I found out that I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), I immediately knew I would try to come here. After a lot of work and a long journey, I arrived here at USC and while it took some time to get use to Aussie lifestyle, I love it.

USC is a refreshing change in scenery for a city-boy like myself. I enjoy how spacious the campus is, how nice the buildings are, how friendly the campus baristas are, and I especially enjoy seeing kangaroos relaxing on campus (they’re so cute!). I also enjoy my courses, and I believe that my professors have helped me better at not only conducting research, but also at being a better writer. Since I want to obtain my PhD in the future, I am grateful for this.


Being an avid PokemonGo player, USC has several gyms (which are quite competitive between teams) and PokeStops that just make it even more fun to just walk around campus. USC is also very close to Domino’s Pizza and other amazing food places that further make walking to campus fun! I was also able to do an internship with IDCare this semester (on campus), and that would not be possible without USC. Basically, there’s a lot of reasons why I visited the campus (even on days that I did not need to be there),

Other than the campus itself, coming to the Sunshine Coast has allowed me to see beautiful sceneries that I would never seen back in the city. I have gone to the beautiful beaches in Mooloolaba, Caloundra, and Noosa Headlines and have never seen such clear water before in my life. I was also able to travel to Brisbane (only an hour away) and experience the a lively nightlife!


Sunshine Coast is also close enough to several airports, helping me travel to Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra. Melbourne truly is a cultural city, and had artistic expression everywhere. I got to see the famous Sydney Opera House which is even more jaw-dropping in person. Even though some said Canberra wasn’t that special, being able to see the Parliament House in person was very pleasing and seeing some of Australia’s history was quite amazing!

My top-tip for anyone thinking of studying abroad, would be not to let anyone else define your study abroad experience for you. It is your experience, and so you should do things you want to do and you are comfortable with. You do not have to do everything, but you should do things that you know you will enjoy and will definitely remember. I’ve learned that even though I did not get to see all of Australia, or do things others ended up doing, I enjoyed my experiences regardless and would not exchange them for anything.

Brian Bikram