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.

Cheetah[1]

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

Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 1.53.48 pm

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.

Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 1.56.02 pm

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.

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