Karina Russell from Millersville University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

Photo 14.v1The time has now come and gone in the blink of an eye. For what felt like forever, I was dreaming of my study abroad here in Australia. It seems like just yesterday I was in PA packing my bags for my big adventure. Here I am now, packing up my room at UniCentral to wrap up my five month Aussie experience. To be honest, I was nervous, scared, but most of all EXCITED for what this upcoming semester abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast was going to hold.

My name is Karina Russell and I am a Senior at Millersville University of Pennsylvania dual majoring in Early Childhood and Special Education. Some may ask why I decided to study abroad in Australia, but the real question is “why not”? There are kangaroos, koalas, beaches, and sunshine almost everywhere you look. These past five months have been nothing more than breathtaking, stretching, and memorable for me. I left my family, my fiancé, my dog and everything I knew and flew 22 hours to the other side of the world just to have this study abroad experience. It was so worth it. There is not one thing I would have done differently.


Camel.jpgAs I sit here in my dorm and I am starting to pack up all my belongings, I think back to some of my favourite memories I have made in these last five months. During my time here not only have I had the opportunity to adventure around Australia, but I also had the opportunity to visit Queenstown, New Zealand and Bali, Indonesia over my semester breaks. Traveling within Australia is super convenient. You can easily jump on a bus, train, or plane and go somewhere for a weekend or even a day trip. Some of my weekend trips within Australia consisted of Sydney, Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Uluru, Melbourne and Fraser Island. Some of my favorite day trips were visiting the Sunshine Plaza, SeaLife, visiting Alexandra Headlands, going to Mooloolaba Beach, and my absolute favourite was visiting the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo.

Looking back on my experiences, I did things that I never would have thought of before leaving the states. To name a few of my favourites, I had the opportunity to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, take surfing lessons in Byron Bay, ride a camel into sunset in Uluru, see penguins in Melbourne, learn to stand up paddle board in New Zealand, take a mud bath with elephants in Bali, snorkel with sea turtles in Gili T, and even go to the Australia Zoo fifteen times! As you can see, I liked to keep myself busy with adventure.

My time in Australia was absolutely amazing! Not only did I make unforgettable memories, but I also made many life long friendships. If you are considering studying abroad, whether it is to USC of not, my best advice is to follow your dreams. If studying abroad is something you have been dreaming of then don’t let anything or anyone hold you back. I promise, you will not regret it! Save up beforehand, plan ahead, get involved, and enjoy your adventure!


USC student Abby Hannah studying overseas at Millersville University in the US

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On the 16th August, I took a flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles which was the beginning of five months away from the place I called home. After spending a few days in LA, I left the West Coast and began my journey to a small city called Lancaster in Pennsylvania. In Lancaster, about 15 minutes out of the city, there is a small suburb called Millersville, which was home to Millersville University. Millersville was so different from the Sunshine Coast. It was a small suburb in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by corn fields and Amish folk. Before classes started, there was a four-day orientation for new students and I was put in a group with other international students from China, Germany, Spain and more. Being surrounded by people in the same situation as myself helped, because we all felt pretty lost together. The friends I made in this group remained my friends for the whole semester, and I still call them close friends now that I’m home.

The Millersville University campus is made up of a mixture of beautiful old brick buildings and modern buildings. There’s a lake in the middle of the campus with Millersville’s own swans, Miller and S’ville, surrounded by the old library (now faculty offices) and the new nine-storey library. Being at Millersville was a change from USC, where I only came to campus when I had a lecture or tutorial, to having to be on campus 24/7. Sleeping, eating, socialising and learning all in the same place. The International team at MU helped and put on so many events for the International students, giving us the chance to travel to New York City for the day which is only three hours away, and they took us to Hershey Chocolate World which is where Hershey chocolate is made, along with an amusement park with many rollercoasters. I also organised trips among my friend group and we took our own trip to New York City over Fall Break for three days, and a day trip to Washington DC (only two hours away) where we got to see the White House, the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

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I was lucky enough to experience a snow day in November as it started snowing at 10am and didn’t stop until that night. Classes got cancelled and the whole campus looked like a winter wonderland. Although it didn’t snow again, the weather was freezing for a Sunshine Coast girl and I couldn’t leave my dorm without at least three layers of clothing for the rest of the semester.

During my time at Millersville, I met so many amazing people from America and other countries around the world. Millersville feels like a second home to me and I’d love to go back and experience it all again. I encourage everyone to study overseas as it open your eyes to so many amazing opportunities and experiences. I learnt so much about myself as a person and about so many other cultures. Find a country and a school that suits you and don’t stop until you get there, because it’ll be the best thing you do.

Seci Sekinini studying at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, US

1.jpgAn Australian Fijian in Amish land

As we approach the exams and crucial period of assessments back at home at the Sunny Coast, I wish to add some Aussie sense of humour and light heartedness to the boy from the ‘island land down under’ in Amish land.

Just to put things in perspective, Millersville University is a regional campus in Pennsylvania, USA, an hour from Philadelphia. Sitting on a 250 acreage setting of campuses, dormitories, theatre, performance centres, design school workshops, galleries, 9 storey library facility, picturesque faculty offices, sports stadiums and sports fields (that the North Queensland Cowboys would love to set up in Townsville) dating back to 1855 when the school opened focusing mainly on Education and Liberal Arts courses.

Richard @ FM at USC would be proud of yours truly as I always counter their heritage and history with our sustainable systems no plastic water bottles policy and our drive to introduce more future related courses around sustainable engineering, paramedic science and web games designs, etc.

The Ville or college as they say it here is in close proximity to Lancaster City (10 minutes free bus ride which goes every 30 minutes) which is one of the first few towns where the Pilgrims settled in 1734 whose famous son, James Buchannan became the 15th US President. In search of rich farming land that reminds them of home, this county is a farming belt of wheat and vegetables mainly farmed by the minority Amish people but a majority non-Amish population of Hispanic American and Latina’s reside at the urban centres.

Everyone here knows Australia where they drink Forster’s Beer our rich history in beer brewery precede us that would make Mick Dundee salivate in this Amish territory where Millersville University is a dry university. Couple of hours drive from New York City and Washington D.C and an hour from Philly (Philadelphia) the city is very arty, galleries, café, cigar lounges and Amish Specialty Stores that sells world renowned Amish furnitures and quilts which attract a steady stream of buyers from the big apple, California and across the globe from the Sunny Coast.

Now here at Millersville University or The Ville, you are a ‘Marauder’ and our colours are Black and Gold, a ‘Marauder’they say is a land pirate, with Australian brashness, I said in other words, ‘A Thief’ which as typical Americans they would vocally disagree with an outpouring of loyalty and patriotism and then their democratic wheel of reason in the end gives in and sometime later in the height of their argument they would agree and then we settle halfway with the term ‘an opportunist’. This would be off course filled in with words like, bloody Australians and Are you serious?

As I am in the East Coast of United States, there is a smear of British influence, Rugby Union is played here and at Millersville which yours truly has been playing for, the colours have been modified to ‘Green and Gold’ from black and gold, as we cheer the Wallabies during this 2015 Rugby World Cup happening this fall semester. There has been cheers of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi from the cacophony of ‘Frat’ House where most of the boys are members of and Off course with the Fijian and the Eagles (USA Rugby Team) side out, It’s only right that Ville Rugby adopt Australia as the new world cup team…….C’mon Aussie, C’mon!

A month ago the Global Ed office here at Millersville who are counterparts of our International Study Overseas Office launched a series of promotions for institutions overseas and it was humbling to meet students here from Pennsylvania who did a semester at USC…USC should be proud of their Student Guild and the free food at the UNICLUB as it was the biggest sale item that the students apart from the lengthy description of the beaches and the proximity of USC to everything. It was evident that with the amount of students around our table at this promotions, let’s hope that we attract more international students from here at Pennsylvania.

Such proximity enable the island boy to visit Obama’s residence and unfortunately he was not home and with Congress in a bit of  sticky wicket with their budget, Capitol Hill was under repairs and renovations, luckily for them they don’t throw their leaders out in the streets quickly as has been evident and the highlight of a politics discussion at class as to how that “Abbot guy got kicked out by a Turnbull”.

Meanwhile with the rugby world cup going, assessments and exams around the corner before our fall break the  next issue would be welcoming as we celebrate our homecoming weekend (welcome back everyone from the break), a spooky weekend after with that Halloween business and at the end of that all is Thanksgiving before the final exams and the harshness of winter. Go the Wallabies! Go the Barbarians!


Evangeline at Millersvilles University, Pennsylvania

The strange thing I have found out about travelling is that you learn more about your home, yourself and where you came from, whilst living 15,244 kilometres away from it. After my incredible experiences (good and bad) at Millersville University, Pennsylvania I feel as though I will never come home to the same place or person I left at the Sunshine Coast, and I consider this to be a great thing. In my short 2 and a half months in America I have experienced, Halloween, Frat parties, sororities, a shooting, a stabbing, lost luggage, homecoming weekend, Philadelphia and all its glory, Washington and all its monuments, Toronto, Canada, Niagara Falls and many others. But the greatest thing I have found here are my irreparable friends from across the globe. Shortly after I arrived at Millersville I was introduced to the other students studying abroad here, they were from countries such as: Chile, China, Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Romania and a few others from here and there. Instantly this group became an almost second family to me and this made the transition from home a whole lot easier. The connections you grow with people from overseas when you are by yourself are beyond amazing.

 As for the Americans they always make things fun and interesting. Whether it’s celebrating every possible holiday or asking you funny questions about Australia’s wildlife. So far I have convinced a number of American students that I in fact do have a kangaroo as a pet, have battled numerous amounts of sharks, save spiders on a daily basis and once I even got asked if “New Zealand was in the middle of Australia”. One of the greatest things I have found with Millersville University is that there is always something interesting going on campus, there is so much campus life and activity that it seems you can never be bored.

I honestly urge anyone and everyone who is even considering going on the SO Study Overseas program, as it has changed my life and the way I see things.  Initially the SO program was just a meeting that my mum forced me to go to, I never thought I could afford it or be brave enough to leave the comfort of my home. But I am so beyond glad I did – after leaving Australia for the first time I now have an incredible urge to see the rest of the world and what it beholds.  The SO program makes you believe that you can do anything you want, and go anywhere you dream – and I am eternally grateful to them for that.

 By Evangeline Keevil​


Jackson in Millersville Pennsylvania


The Millersville University of Pennsylvania is large but also has a very beautiful campus! I began the semester in one of their largest downfalls of snow, it was just spectacular. Having just come back from spring break and the snow has melted but the campus still looks lovely with the grass now showing through and the squirrels bounding across the quad. An interesting fact is that Millersville University was established in 1855 as the Lancaster County Normal School and then changed its name to Millersville in 1928.


The students here are all just so friendly and welcoming. As soon as you start to talk and they hear your accent, they just want you to talk forever! I have made so many new friends and created memories that will last forever.


By Jackson Kellaway