Helene Skaane Osmundsen from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Favourite course during my study abroad semester

one-of-the-few-photos-i-have-of-myself-e1571794093409.jpgMy name is Helene, and I am currently studying a bachelor’s degree of Nature Based Tourism and Nature Guiding at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL Sogndal). I have always wanted to study abroad, but the last time I had the opportunity I didn’t dare to take the chance. I was too scared of missing out on everything that might happen back home while being away, and also of being too shy to get to know new people. Ever since then I’ve had this feeling of “what if”, so when I finally got the opportunity to study abroad in Australia during one semester of my degree, I instantly knew I had to take it. This is a decision I definitely do not regret.

As an outdoor enthusiastic person, it came natural for me to choose some of the Outdoor Environmental Study courses that the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) has to offer during their Semester 2. One of these being “Learning in Australian Landscapes”, or more commonly referred to as OES104. This class turned out to become my favourite subject during my semester at USC and here are a couple of the reasons why;

Biking on Fraser

Field trips!

I mean, who doesn’t like going on adventures as parts of their learning experience? During the semester we’ve gone on four different excursions. We’ve had two day trips, where one was a climbing & abseiling trip, while the other one focused on kayaking. In addition to these, we’ve also spent some time overnight camping. The first overnight trip was separated into a day of hiking and a day of kayaking, and the last trip was a three days trip to Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world.

Great focus on international students

I think more than 90% of the students in this class were internationals, and because of that most of us were in the same boat. We didn’t know too many people when the semester started, and having this in common made it easy to interact with one another. dingo-on-fraser.jpgI’ve spent a lot of time outside of uni with a group of people from this class, and a few of us are also doing a month-long road trip together as soon as our final assignment has been delivered!

In addition to the main points mentioned above, the course also consists of interesting topics such as, how the Australian landscape has been formed, what makes Australian flora and fauna both unique and vulnerable or ecological succession. The teachers have been really friendly and I’m so glad that I got to have this course as a part of my education.

– Helene Skaane Osmundsen @heleneskaane

 

 

 

Jenna Dean from Rider University in the US studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Hi! My name is Jenna Dean and I am studying abroad here at USC through Rider University, New Jersey. I am studying to become an Elementary School teacher! Since I’m only here for one semester, I have hit the ground running trying to see everything Australia has to offer. My favourite place to explore around the Sunshine Coast is the Australia Zoo! I love being able to pet and feed the kangaroos up close. I also signed up to hold a koala and it was the best experience of my life! I’m also hoping that I will run into the Irwin’s during one of my visits.

 

I’ve also seen the sights in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. While in Sydney, I loved being able to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Although it was very touristy, it was super worth it! For study break, I went to Melbourne. So far, it was my favourite trip. The best part was seeing Hosier Lane which has amazing street art that is constantly changing. Melbourne was the perfect city to walk around in and experience the culture of Australia. By the end of my stay at USC, I also hope to visit New Zealand and possibly the Great Barrier Reef!

Being at USC and in the Sippy Downs area has been amazing because it has so much to offer. The bus system is amazing compared to back home, so I love hopping on the bus and go on a trip. One of my favourite places to go is the Sunshine Plaza. It’s a great place to grab lunch, shop around and even pick up groceries. Another great thing is how close we are to the beach! Mooloolaba beach is right around the corner, but my favourite is hiking around at Noosa and then relaxing at the beach. I’m hoping to learn how to surf by the end of my trip!! The area is so beautiful, and I love to just hop on the bus and explore new places around me, such as the town of Buderim or taking a hike around Kondalilla falls and then hanging out in the waterfall! The highlight of my stay so far has been skydiving! Thanks to Adventure Dudes and Skydive Noosa I had the free fall of a lifetime! Skydiving was something I never thought I would do before, but it was truly amazing, plus I got to land on a dog beach!

So far, study abroad has really taught me how to appreciate other cultures and to be open to change. I’ve met so many people from a range of countries and getting to hear their stories is eye opening and exciting. I cannot wait to take everything I’ve learned and share it with my friends and family back home. To anyone who wants to study abroad in Australia or anywhere, I say, TAKE THE LEAP! It is totally worth it and will give you the adventure of a lifetime! Study abroad is what YOU make of it and is your chance to explore our beautiful world!

–  Jenna Dean