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:

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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!

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

Dave Clancy Studying Outdoor Education and Nordic Friluftsliv in Sogndal, Norway

Deciding to spend a semester studying overseas has undoubtedly been the greatest experience I’ve had to date. The people, the culture, the course and the nature all combine to make this experience what it is.

I’m in Norway studying Outdoor Education and Nordic Friluftsliv. I’m located in Sogndal, which is a town along the second largest fjord in the world. Some would describe the area as ‘eye candy’. It’s absolutely incredible here and my poetic ability does not do this place justice. Every morning I’m greeted by the mountains, rivers and the ocean. It’s an adventure seekers paradise and with many outdoor activities so accessible, it’s common to go on an adventure in your time off. It’s as if there is a contagious vibe to go out and ‘get amongst it’. Norwegians call it ‘Friluftsliv’ – the outdoor way of life. That leads me to my course.

When studying Friluftsliv it is more than likely to spend some time outside and I have definitely received my fair share; rain, hail or shine (Or snow and gail winds in my case). As my lecturer (He’s a Scandinavian Bear Grylls) would say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only bad clothing.” He also believes in the concept of learning by freezing! The outdoors have been my classroom largely but with winter approaching we will be retreating to four walls and a blackboard more often – less learning by freezing and more learning by blackboard!

The educational approach here places a high value on authentic/real life experiences and we have certainly encountered plenty of them over the last 3 months. Here are some: hiking countless kilometres through mountains, forests and roads; picking way too many wild blueberries and raspberries; sea kayaking around the islands in western Norway; making friends with stray sheep and goats; walking and climbing in and on glaciers; seeing the northern lights; endless hours of fishing and general campsite activities. We still have an intro to skiing day and a multi-day winter excursion to come. With that said, the course isn’t all fun and games and we do cover a fair amount of theoretical content. I’m not complaining though!

Part of what has made this experience so great is the people and the culture. Deciding to uproot from where you live and move to the other side of the world for 6 months brings on a number of emotions. It’s exciting and daunting at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I made friends and became comfortable in my new home. I guess being surrounded with so many like-minded people in the same situation makes it easy to create friendships and integrate. I have made some friends for life and yet I’ve only known them for 3 months. When you share the same tent for a few nights every week you get to know each other pretty fast.

Blending into a different culture is not always smooth sailing however. I still get weird looks from people as I walk down the street in November while wearing shorts. People think I must be from the north pole and are shocked when I say I’m from Australia. Maybe when the snow starts to fall the shorts will be reconsidered. Perhaps the biggest challenge I’ve encountered over here is shopping.  My first time in a Norwegian supermarket was similar to a ship entering the Bermuda triangle – I thought I’d never make it out! By the end of the ordeal I had become a guru at using google translate and had befriended 5 older women after asking them which food product was which. I thought I had won the battle but the next morning at breakfast I discovered that I had brought sour milk instead the normal stuff. I was devastated and ate my cornflakes with water – A situation that will bring even the toughest men to tears. It’s safe to say I won’t make that mistake again. Norway 1 – Dave 0.

All in all, being an international student is an absolutely incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone. It is a great way to satisfy the travel bug whilst studying. It is a great way to fully immerse yourself in a different culture and it’s a great way to meet new people. Thanks for reading.

By David Clancy