USC student Alex Davies studying overseas at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences in Sogn and Fjordane

895e8267-3052-44d2-88a4-a5b43ac11089I travelled to Norway at the end of July, and spent about 5 months living in Sogndal, Norway, which lies on the Sognefjord. I studied at HVL doing the course Outdoor Education and Nordic Friluftsliv. I’ve always wanted to go to Norway growing up, and this seemed like the greatest excuse ever to experience a country, and with my friend I met through work having previously done this course 2 years ago, it seemed like a perfect reason to go overseas.

Looking back, it’s almost insane how they basically just threw us right into the thick of it from the start, but I have absolutely no regrets about anything I did while I was there. From canoeing to kayaking, walking on glaciers to picking mushrooms, to thru-hikes to cross-country skiing, I did so many things I never would’ve done while I was in Australia.

I was the only Australian in the course, but it didn’t matter, everyone was super welcoming and we all had similar goals, to make the most of our time in Norway. From the shy Basque guys to the sweet Swiss, everyone was willing to speak English, and the Norwegians I lived with in the student accommodation are some of my favourite people I met while I was there. The friendships I developed there are something that I’ll never forget because I had the time of my life.

IMG_1329While on the trips, there were a lot of times when you felt like you couldn’t do something that you physically didn’t have the capability to do, and when convinced to just give it a go, what do you have to lose, would find out you could actually do it. I never thought I could kayak in 15m/s winds while its pouring down rain, but it turned out to be one of the highlights from the whole 4 days of kayaking. This showed me what you’re capable of when you push yourself.

The days we spent in the mountains, however, are some of my favourites. To the silly haka like thing we did as a group to raise moral, to sitting on the side of a mountain laughing about something while eating blueberries that are growing around us. Watching the sun rise over the fjords, sit on the side of the mountain in silence, having spent the last week sleeping under a tarp, is something I’ll never forget.

Studying overseas is something I would recommend to everyone to do, as being able to study in a completely different culture is very different from just travelling to a location for a week or two. While I was in Norway, I also travelled to Scotland during my mid-semester break,. Furthermore, after university finished, I spent 20 days travelling around central Europe before coming home after the new year. This is something you’ll never regret doing, with friends for life.

New Project (4)

Watch Alex’s Glacier Walking video below!

 

Frida Vikdal from Norway studying a Diploma in General Studies: Five tips if you are considering studying at USC Sunshine Coast

USC testimonial 2Hey! My name is Frida Vikdal, I’m from Norway. This is my first semester out of two studying abroad in Australia, and my first semester at uni. I am currently taking a Diploma in General Studies here at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

The reason to why I ended up down under in Australia, was because of an education agency in Norway. Study abroad agencies assists students with anything in relation to studying abroad, and they gave me all the information needed, assisted me in the application for USC, and the student accommodations at Varsity. They also made sure things went as smooth as possible, that everything was in place before my trip, and basically helped with whatever I asked for.

Here are five tips I would recommend, if you’re considering studying at USC Sunshine Coast:

USC testimonial 5
Student Accommodation

1. Stay for one year

I decided that if I’m going to study abroad, it’s at least going to be for one year. A choice I absolutely don’t regret. My first semester here at USC Sunshine Coast is almost over, and it went way faster than I imagined. Luckily I still have 8+ months here in Australia, and I can’t wait to see what these months will bring!

 

 

USC testimonial Frida 1
Norway

2. Stay at a student accommodation, at least for the first semester

One of my top priorities when it came to picking country and school, was what accommodations they had to offer. After going back and forth, I found out that the student accommodations in Sunshine Coast would be perfect for me.

Living here at Varsity Apartments, which is 5 minutes from uni, and makes it so easy to get new friends, and you really get to meet people from all over the world.

 

 

 

USC testimonial 3
Movie World

3. Save up some money

As an international student (who might be in Australia for the first time) I would absolutely recommend  to save up some extra cash. Australia has a lot to offer, but everything is obviously not free. So start saving up early if you want to explore Australia, try some new fun activities like surfing or skydiving, eat yummy food etc, or if you in general want to get the most out of your semester(s) here in Aussie.

4. Don’t let fear stop you

For me, moving to the other side of the world by myself, was a bit terrifying. I didn’t know what Australia was like, I’ve never lived by myself before, never studied at a university, and I absolutely hate spiders. But I’m so glad I took the chance and didn’t let anything stop me. Cause being here has given me so much, I’ve learnt a lot about myself, and I can’t wait to see what the next months will bring.

 

  1. USC testimonial 4Take an outdoor course (if possible)

USC offers some amazing outdoor education courses (OES), where you get to go on trips and learn about Australia. I took OES104: Learning in Australian Landscapes this semester. Which among other things, gave me the opportunity to paddle in the Noosa river, climb and abseil in the Glass house mountains, camp at Harrys Hut (Cooloola) and explore Fraser Island.

– Frida Vikdal @fridavikdal

Do you want to know more about studying at USC? Click here and enquire now!

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

 

 

 

Christina Bøifot from Norway studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

freq.jpgHi, my name is Christina Carlmar Bøifot and I’m from Norway. I am studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) for a year. I’m studying different media courses and getting a Diploma in General Studies. I got some help from a Norwegian education agency to start my studies her at USC and they helped me to realise that it was a possibility for me to study in Australia.

Some of the most amazing things I experience in Australia is how easy it is to travel around and experience everything the country has to offer. I just went on a road trip in the mid semester break and it was amazing. We started our trip taking the train down to Brisbane and flew up to Cairns. In Cairns, I experienced the great barrier reef which has been on my bucket list since I was I little girl. We visited Fitzroy island and snorkel around the island. It was so beautiful! After Cairns, we drove down to Mission beach, which is the most beautiful beach I’ve seen in my entire life. The sand was so white and amazing, and there were palm trees down the entire beach.

jytjy

We then drove down to Townsville where we took a boat over to Magnetic island. We drove around Magnetic island in little barbie cars, they were the cutest cars. After a couple of days at Magnetic island, we drove down to Airlie beach. From Airlie beach, we took a sailboat trip out to the Whitsundays. And if there is one thing I would recommend, it is to go to Whitsundays and Whitehaven beach. The Whitehaven beach is the most beautiful beach ever. It’s so white and the water is so clear and turquoise, and the Pirates of the Caribbean even recorded a scene there. After Whitsundays, we went back to Airlie beach for a couple of days to explore the night life and then we had a quick stop in Agnes Waters and 1770, before we went home.

The road trip experience was one of the most amazing things I ever experience in my life, and I can’t wait for my next road trip in December when I am driving down to Sydney.

– Christina Carlmar Bøifot @christinaboifot

Annelin Sætre from HVL Sogndal in Norway studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

Hi, I’m Annelin and I’m an international student at the University of the Sunshine Coast. The University I’m studying at in Norway (HVL) gave me the opportunity to take the last of six semesters in my bachelor degree abroad. This is what I am doing now, and I am so glad Iimage6 took that opportunity!

I am doing a Diploma in General Studies, and my impression of the courses, teachers and the University in general is really good. The teachers is genuine and willing to help with whatever you need help for. The campus looks new and with lots of cafes and other places to buy lunch and other refreshments. There are a wide selection of places to sit and study both indoor and outdoor, and if you need help for anything the library is ready to help. With such a nice campus it is easier to motivate to do your studies.

As an international my ambitions of this semester was to combine the studies with traveling and exploring the country. University of the Sunshine Coast has a great system for making this possible by giving the students the chance of partly fixing their own timetable and give us the overview of the whole semester plan and assessment due dates in the start of the semester. This makes it easier for us students to plan our eventures.

Australia has so much to offer and is a country of opportunities. If you like beaches, hikes, city life or outbacks, Australia has it all! So far I have had time to explore many different places in Australia and this country just keeps impressing me. I have been to image4cities like Brisbane and Sydney, lots of beautiful beaches along the east coast, hikes in national parks, camping in the outback in the Northern Territory and it is still lots to see and experience. The latter is definitely my favourite so far. Me and a friend, another international girl I got to know here in Australia, decided to do a 5 days trip to the Uluru area. From when I was a kid, I have had this picture of Australia as a dry, warm place with just lots of sand and desert. I remember I learned of this big red rock in the middle of nowhere in primary school and I remember how distant it felt like to learn about something on the other side of the world. Now I have finally got to see this place in real life, and it was so awesome!

To do a semester abroad at USC is definitely something I can recommend to everybody. It is a perfect opportunity to explore new places, experience new cultures and meet lots of wonderful people. I will never regret that I did a semester abroad in the Sunshine Coast, it has been an adventure which I am really thankful I had the chance to experience!

Ellen Taylor Studying Overseas at Sogn of Fjordane University College in Norway

It’s now been 5 months since I arrived in Norway and I can hardly believe it because it feels like yesterday. From seeing the Northern lights to attending a party on top of a mountain, I’ve had so many amazing experiences in such a short amount of time, it’s been a whirlwind. I have been living in Sogndal, a university town in Western Norway Located on the second largest fjord in the county and surrounded by mountains on every side. It’s not a big town but most of the residents attend HVL so there’s a great student culture and always something to do. Everything is within walking distance, so it has a nice small-town feel and you see familiar faces wherever you go. While Norway is not the cheapest country to live in we dealt with this by doing things like mushroom and berry picking in the summer, catching fresh fish in the fjord and pre-drinking maybe a little too much.

Using my elective courses from USC, here I’m able to study a course in the Nordic philosophy of Friluftsliv. Meaning ‘free air life,’ Friluftsliv describes activities in nature that bring well-being and is a way of life here throughout Scandinavia. In this course we have gone on an excursion almost every week, from sleeping under the stars, to kayaking and ice climbing on a glacier, its allowed me to see so much of Norway which really is one of the most stunning countries I’ve ever been to. I was a bit daunted when I saw on the schedule things like camping in the snow but as the semester progressed, I loved every second of it and couldn’t believe I was getting credit for going camping!

I’m also lucky enough to be in Sogndal for some of the best winter conditions in 15 years so we bought lift passes to the ski hill that is only 10 minutes away and have been snowboarding for the past month. As the days are getting shorter (the sun sets at about 3:30pm now) we’ve been spending cozy afternoons, cooking, watching movies and playing cards. I’ll be sad to leave all the friends I’ve made in the last few months but we’re already planning reunions all over the world. This semester has really been an adventure and although I’m getting pretty excited for some Aussie sunshine now, I’m going to miss this place so much.