12 Things You Most Likely Did In 2020

2020 has been a different and unprecedented year. Therefore, with 2021 right around the corner, we thought it’s time to take a quick look back at some of the things that most of us probably did (or experienced) during 2020. Do you recognise yourself in any of these? If so, share it with your friends and family 😉

1. You low-key panicked when you saw that all the toilet paper was gone from the shelves….

Despite coronavirus panic, there's plenty of toilet paper | Cartoon
Image: The Philadelphia Inquirer

2. You spent hours trying to find your old jigsaw puzzles, followed by hours putting them together…

A little piece and quiet: Jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts unsurprised as  coronavirus pandemic drives sales - ABC News
Image: ABC

3. To make time go by, you started exploring your home for possible renovation projects…

Renovation work gone wrong leaves Sidney senior feeling foolish – Victoria  News
Image: Victoria News

4. Most FaceTime conversations included little interaction and were mainly used for check-ups…

 

5. Your house now looks like a Queensland sub-tropical forest:

'How it started' meme takes over Twitter timelines

 

6. You still can’t find the un-mute button:

Not sure if you're on mute or my headphones broke again - Futurama Fry |  Make a Meme

 

7. First day of zoom class sessions VS two months in…

Avoiding mischief and mayhem in the great educational leap to Zoom

8. You’re currently recycling your 2020 New Year Resolutions for 2021

9. You ended up visiting most of the surrounding mountains and trails that you usually would be too busy to explore:

10. You got something stuck in your throat and desperately tried to hold your cough when surrounded by people in public:

11. You dressed up for even the smallest occasions, like grocery shopping: 

12: No matter how many times you ended up using zoom, there would always be a bunch of different W’s present: 

 

Tim Halberstadt from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Germany studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG-20200220-WA0030G’day everyone! My name is Tim Halberstadt, I am from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Sankt Augustin, Germany and was able to achieve the Business Diploma at USC during my stay in Australia.

I initially heard about USC from a friend who spent a year in Australia. Luckily, the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is a partner university of my home institution, and thus, the application process was less complex. After I chose USC as my preferred place of study, I had to hand in a motivation letter, as well as an application form. I didn’t have to contact USC directly, instead, all the communication was fulfilled through intermediaries at my university, which made the whole process easier. Furthermore, my university did a good job at informing me about possible scholarships. After my application was accepted, I needed to choose a professor as my contact person at home and the courses that interested me the most.

Since I wanted to achieve the Diploma of Business, all the courses I was able to choose were business-related. To deepen my knowledge in finance, I chose “Business Finance” as my first course. As a second course, I selected “The World of Tourism, Leisure and Events” to gain insight into the tourism branch, which is not taught at my home university. Thirdly, I chose “Consumer Behaviour”, since I have always been interested in the consumer’s psyche, and lastly “Igniting Entrepreneurial Talent”, because starting my own company is something I have been thinking about for a while now. In general, I have a good impression of all the courses I was able to attend during my stay. While I feel like Germany is more conservative to a certain degree, the Australian way of teaching felt fresh and innovative. A good example is the ability to attend courses online, blackboard with its helpful features like the discussion board, or regular Kahoot sessions during lectures. In general, organising felt more convenient. Especially after the COVID-19 breakout, being able to continue studies online, as well as being able to perform online exams became a beneficial aspect. In general, it was a huge upside that the needed infrastructure was already in place to study online at USC.

Luckily, before borders closed and restrictions were put in place, I was nevertheless able to experience exciting trips in Australia. First, shortly after my arrival in Australia, I spent a couple of days in Sydney and was able to discover it’s various beaches, the blue mountains surrounding Sydney and the city itself. In the blue mountains, I could see the immediate impact of the Australian bush fires with my own eyes and experience how fast nature is able to recover. Secondly, I spent a weekend at Byron Bay which is a small, lovely town on the western shore. At Byron Bay, I joined a walk to the town’s lighthouse and was able to try surfing for the first, but definitely not the last time. Lastly, I was able to travel to Fraser Island for a three -day camping trip. On the island, we were able to freely move with a Pick-Up truck we rented before our trip. The trip to Fraser Island was one of the most exciting things I have ever done in my life. The experiences ranged from close encounters with various animals like Dingos and lizards, swimming in one of the islands heavenly lakes, to experiencing what freedom feels like while driving a car at the beach. To put it in a nutshell, I highly recommend all the trips I have undergone to anyone who is slightly interested, especially a trip to Fraser Island.

After restrictions were put in place and uncertainty concerning COVID-19 began to spread, it became a lot harder to travel and after a lot of thinking I decided to return to Germany earlier than originally intended. Even though I had to return, I was able to finish my semester abroad online from Germany, which is kind of ironic. Luckily, COVID-19 and the shift in time didn’t turn out as problematic as I was expecting. USC made learning abroad possible since most of the lessons were recorded and the professors were kind and understanding.

All in all, even though I was a victim of bad timing, I nevertheless enjoyed my short stay in Australia and would highly encourage everyone to engage in a similar adventure.

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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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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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Chelsea Keister from Shippensburg University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

AU zoo roosMy name is Chelsea Keister and I am studying Biology at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania (USA). I made the decision to take a semester away from home to go down under at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), and it was the best decision of my life. My university at home offered me a variety of options to choose from when I decided I wanted to study abroad, and right away I knew that Australia was where I wanted to spend my semester. From there, I enrolled directly to USC and my home university helped me with that process whenever I needed it.

I found that my courses here at USC were a lot more relaxed than the courses I had at home. For my science courses at home, I can expect to have four exams throughout the semester along with lab work and other smaller assignments and quizzes. Here, however, most of my courses consisted of one project and a final exam which gave me so much more time to explore.

Before I came to Australia, I made a list of all the places I wanted to see in Australia as well as the other countries I wanted to visit while I was here. Unfortunately, I was unable to do everything I wanted to do because of the corona virus, but that just forced me to dive deeper into the Sunshine Coast and discover all of the amazing things the area had to offer. My favourite things about the Sunshine Coast include:

  1. kangaroosNoosa National Park: This was my absolute favourite place on the Sunshine Coast, and one of my favourite places I have ever been to. The views here are phenomenal and there is so much wildlife to see every single time you go here—I even saw a wild koala! I was lucky enough to skydive over Noosa, and it’s even prettier from the sky which I didn’t think was possible.
  2. The Australia Zoo: I heard so many amazing things about the Australia Zoo before coming here, but my expectations were blown out of the water. Every day I spent at the zoo was a good day, whether I did an animal encounter with a rhino, cheetah or giraffe, watched a croc show at the Crocoseum, or just hung out with the kangaroos at Roo Heaven it was always the best time.
  3. Glass House Mountains: I climbed Mount Ngungun and while it was a pretty tiring hike, the view from the top made it all worth it.
  4. Tim Tams: I don’t think anyone who hasn’t tried one will truly understand how good they are. I am obsessed.
  5. The wildlife: The Sunshine Coast has so many amazing different species of wildlife. I spent so much time taking pictures of all the different animals and I will cherish them forever.

While my time here in Australia is finishing up, I am planning last minute trips to the Whitsundays and Sydney, but the Sunshine Coast will forever hold a special place in my heart.  My experience studying at USC is unforgettable and I am so blessed that I was able to experience this beautiful country.

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Magnus & Celin from Norway: 9 Things To Do While Isolating!

IMG_5012Hey guys!

This is Magnus and Celin, a 20 year old couple from Norway, studying here at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) for three years. Magnus started his Bachelor of Design (Game Design), and Celin started her Bachelor of Communication (Social Media) this semester. We both love to travel, and studying here at the coast is the perfect mix of education and adventures at the same time.

With the virus spreading and we all have to self-isolate, and continue to dream about exploring the outside world; We want to provide some tips on what you can do with all the spare time that you now have:

  1. IMG_4605 2Make something yummy to eat (Celin’s favourite is gyros, and Magnus’ is baked potato)
  2. Watch a good movie or tv series (we would recommend Home and Away)
  3. Sweat it out! (You don’t need the gym to work out)
  4. Play board games or card games (we prefer UNO)
  5. Skype family or friends (you will feel closer with the people you love)
  6. Play digital games (or fall asleep while Magnus play digital games)
  7. Be creative, draw or paint something (use your imagination)
  8. Read a new book, or learn something exiting (like how pineapples are grown, search it up! You will be surprised)
  9. Get out of your pj’s, glam up and get ready for the day (Magnus is pretty good at this one, but Celin is too much in love with her pink pyjamas)

We hope everyone found at least one new thing to do to make the day go by a little faster!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

If you have any questions about studying abroad at USC, we are more than happy to help you out. You can find us on Instagram @cellyandmaggi

– Magnus Eriksen & Celin Oxnäs

@magnuseriksenn & @celinoxnas

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