Onella Barthelot studying a Bachelor of Social Work at USC Hervey Bay

Hello,

My name is Onella Barthelot. I’m from a small multicultural country called Sri Lanka. I moved to Australia on the 17th of February 2020 and have been living in Hervey Bay for a year. Though, adjusting to a new environment has been a challenge amidst the ongoing pandemic, my academic journey has been great so far.

I am currently in the second year of my Bachelor’s in Social Work degree and I am keen to gain experience while studying.

I’ve visited Australia a couple of times before moving here. I loved everything about Australia, especially the small regional town of Hervey Bay. I visited USC Fraser Coast and absolutely loved it. I also had the chance to visit The University of Queensland and Deakin University in Melbourne while I was there. University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) was however my first choice when I started applying for my higher education in Australia. Some of my family living in Hervey Bay recommended USC Fraser coast as the best place for a young beginner like me who has had to adjust to major changes in life.

The past year has been a great journey with lots of new experiences. The first semester of my first year was a challenge as I had to adjust to a new surrounding amidst the unforeseen changes and online learning due to the pandemic. I had no peer support and was stressed throughout the first semester having no idea how to get through all my assignments. Being away from home also had its effect on me. My second semester was however much better. I was able to meet my peers on campus and had more peer support which led me towards better grades.

Social Work is a practice-based profession that concerns every individual in the community. Learning Social Work is very interesting and the support I get from my peers, lecturers and tutors is appreciated. Although USC Fraser Coast is a regional campus and a comparatively small campus, it has all the important facilities and is a great place to meet people and make friends.

Moreover, Fraser Island close by is a hub for tourists, the Esplanade has lodging and dining, and the ocean view walkways. You can also randomly see wild kangaroos if you drive to Point Vernon. You can always have a relaxing evening by the beach as well. Anyone who visits the amazing Fraser coast will love it for its natural beauty. If you are moving to Fraser coast for academic purposes, the best option for you might be USC Fraser coast. You will love the experience, just as I do.

Steven Ranweiler from Minnesota State University – Moorhead in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

How ya goin’ mate? My name is Steven Ranweiler, and I’m visiting from Minnesota in the United States. Back home I’m studying visual arts education, and this semester abroad has been an incredible opportunity to explore more subjects and expand my horizons! I’ve dreamt of visiting Australia for years and the study abroad partnership between my home university (Minnesota State University – Moorhead) and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) helped me to make that dream come true.

I’d heard that Australian culture has a more relaxed pace than life in the US, and I found that to be true in my courses. I was concerned at first to see just a few major assignments making up my grades rather than the many smaller assignments I was used to back home. However, I soon realized that with the time, resources and awesome support provided at USC, those few big projects were great for my learning and less stressful. My professors and tutors have been fantastic, and it was a joy to walk out of classes greeted by sunshine and kangaroos! After courses moved to online learning, I was able to spend even more time in the great Australian outdoors while I attended classes remotely.

By traveling the area with new friends, I’ve gotten to enjoy experiences like surfing, mountain climbing. and swimming under waterfalls! Learning about the cultures and experiences of local Australians and my fellow international students has been enlightening and meaningful.

The pandemic brought some pressure in terms of returning home earlier than expected, but I wasn’t ready to leave the dream. Travel opportunities became limited, but that wasn’t too much of an issue considering I was already in such an extraordinary place. I spent weeks examining and photographing the incredible plants, animals and fungi which are unique to this region. The birds here are impressively loud and several of them remind me of dinosaurs.

I’ve been especially enchanted by the wonders of the local tide pools. One day I counted over 100 sea cucumbers, and by snorkelling I’ve encountered 1000s of charming fish just off the shore! Experiences in beautiful and vulnerable ecosystems like these motivate me to keep pushing for conservation to protect them. I enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer with the Sea Shepherd conservation group in a beach clean-up project, and it’s been awesome studying on a campus surrounded by a wildlife reserve.

 As my time here comes to end I don’t want to leave! I’m excited to see friends and family back home and share stories of this amazing experience with them, but even with great things to get back to it’s hard to leave this paradise and the wonderful new friends I’ve made.

Studying abroad at USC has been an incredible opportunity, and I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who has the chance to do it!

Wishing you all the best,

Steven 😊

Nathalie Bergstrom from Kilroy Sweden studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

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Hi!! My name is Nathalie, I’m from Sweden and I am doing my exchange semester here at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I study Intro to Film and TV studies, Creative Advertising, New Venture Growth, and Learning in Australian Landscapes. Kilroy Sweden was a great help for me when applying to USC, they answered all the questions I had at the time of applying.

I love the Sunshine Coast, it is just an amazing place to live and I am so happy I chose this school. The school is nice and is located around beautiful nature where you can find kangaroos jumping around which is just amazing to see every time. I enjoy my accommodation, it is just 5 minutes walk to school which is great if you’re running a bit late to class. I have my own bedroom and bathroom which I love so I can have my stuff where I want and clean myself.

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With the course Learning in Australian Landscapes, we go on four field trips during the semester which is just amazing. First trip was paddling at Noosa, it was so beautiful and a fun day trip. Next up was abseiling and climbing at Mount Ngungun which I was a bit nervous about, mainly because I had never climbed before and I am scared of heights. However, I was proud of myself that I did it. The third trip was an overnight trip to Cooloola National Park. The fourth and last trip was to Fraser Island which is about two hours from here. When we came to the island my group started biking on the sand and it was great and so much fun biking on the beach looking at the waves. After that, we changed groups and we got to pick up trash on the beach!

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The next day we went to the rainforest on the island and walked for a bit which was so beautiful! We also learned more about the vegetation on the island. Later on, we went to Lake McKenzie which had the clearest water I’ve seen, it was so beautiful. On the third day we did some stops and then went back home to the coast. I was so tired the days after the trip but it was so worth it!

I have also been to Brisbane and the Gold Coast which are both great places to visit for a more ‘big city’ feeling. Before I go home, I have planned to go to Cairns, Whitsundays, and Sydney. During my time here, I have seen so much already and I have some trips still coming after school. I really think it is worth coming here to study if you’re considering it, as it is just amazing and there’s so much to do and see. I really recommend studying at USC and experience the Sunshine Coast.

– Nathalie Bergstrom @nattisbergstrom