Amira Eissa from Salve Regina University in the US studying at USC Sunshine Coast

1Amira Eissa, Bachelor degree in Psychology and Marketing, from Westchester, New York

When applying to USC, the application process was simple and straightforward given that my home school, Salve Regina University, is sister schools with USC. After applying and being accepted, Salve began its preparation stage of studying abroad (exchange) by giving me plenty of resources to inform myself about USC and Australia. I was introduced to an older student who had already studied at USC and she helped me navigate the more specific questions I had in regard to how to set up a phone plan, a bank account and transportation. All in all I was so ready to embark on my abroad experience thanks to the easy transition courtesy of USC and Salve.

Although I only had two weeks of in person classes, USC education was better than I could ever imagine. From professors who really showed they cared about students success, to interactive lectures and easy to understand class layouts, it was made clear from the get go that I was going to succeed at USC. Back home I am used to small intimate class sizes and was intimated entering USC knowing it was a bigger school and I’d be attending classes in big lecture halls, something we don’t have at my home institution. On the first day of classes I was relieved when I saw how interactive lectures were and how in a room of 50+ students I still felt heard. Even when classes transitioned to online I still felt as though professors wanted to go above and beyond to make the remark on easy for us. Zoom classes were still interactive, professors took time to ask how we re doing, the blackboard outline was easy to navigate, all in all I felt cared for and eager to continue to strive for success in my classes.

Although my study abroad experience was far from traditional and not according to plan, my friends and I managed to make the most of our time on the Sunshine Coast. Post isolation my friends and I decided that the best way to travel around Queensland and still feel as though we saw as much as we could, was by doing a road trip up the coast. After finals we planned a two week road trip starting in Sippy Downs and ending up north in Cairns. We rented two cars and me and my six friends begun our trip. We started in our college town of Sippy Downs, went to Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay, Agnes Water, Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays, Bowen, Townsville, Mission Beach, Palm Cove and ended in Cairns. Along the way we stopped and explored what the coast had to offer and I can confidently say that there was never a dull moment. Although our semester was turned astray by covid, we made the most of the time we have left by driving way over 1,000 miles to see what our state of Queensland had in store. Along the way we hiked many trails, saw as many ocean lookouts as possible, snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef, walked through the oldest rainforest in the world, cooked a lot of meals, shared a lot of stories, sang a lot of great tunes and made some memories that’ll last a lifetime. This has been my favourite part of my abroad travels and I couldn’t be more grateful for the group of people who were alongside me. Although I didn’t get to do the trips I had planned originally, it all worked out and Australia still managed to steal my heart.

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USC student Sophie Alvsaker studying overseas at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY

78238715_534863160400043_6457880394967547904_n.v1My name is Sophie Alvsaker, and I studied Bachelor of social science (psychology)/ Bachelor of Criminal Justice at Canisius College, Buffalo, NY for 1 semester.

Studying overseas is an incredible experience, it forces you out of your comfort zone and into a culture of new attitudes, values and beliefs. It’s a huge opportunity for personal growth and development but most importantly. it’s so much fun.

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to travel for an extended period of time, but didn’t want to change my degree, so I combined the two 😊. I think the reason it’s been such a great experience is because you don’t just spend time in a new place, you’re completely immersed in it and so you learn so much about the area in a way you couldn’t through travelling alone.

Compared to USC Sunshine Coast, the education at Canisius College is relatively similar, the classes are small and the teachers are really helpful. I think if you’ve seen any American college movies you’ll be well equipped for what to expect at Canisius. Fraternity parties are comically similar to the films, as are the sports games and residence halls.

Buffalo is right next to Niagara Falls, only a few hours from Toronto and a bus ride from New York City. There’s also a lot of national parks in the area and places to ski or snowboard. Because I was here from August to December, I got to experience the end of summer, fall and the start of winter- I’d definitely recommend doing the same as the season changes are beautiful.

One tip I’d give to people planning to study abroad in the US is to come for fall semester, that way you get to experience the change in seasons, as well as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and all the Christmas markets.

–  Sophie Alvsaker

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Kristoffer Wahome from Kilroy Norway studying a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) at USC Sunshine Coast

Kriss rooftop (3 of 12)Hi, My name is Kristoffer, I am a 25-year-old international student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I am pursuing a Bachelor Degree of Social Science (Psychology) and I am currently in my second year of studies.

I am an adventurous, outgoing social person that enjoys photography, sports and just living life. So the fact that the USC offers a range of social clubs to take part in, it has provided me the opportunity to form friendships with people from all around the globe with different backgrounds and culture, which is a huge bonus for me.

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Moving to Australia to study at USC was a decision I pondered about for a while before pursuing it, yet when I arrived on the Sunshine Coast I knew I had made the right decision. The weather is amazing most of the time and I am lucky to live less than a 5 minute walk away from the beach, could anyone ask for more?

As an international student that has spent over a year here on the Sunny Coast, there is still plenty of things left for me to see and experience, I frankly cannot get enough of this place. However, I can recommend some essentials that any new student here should try out;

  • Kriss rooftop grain (10 of 13)A trip up the coast to Noosa National Park where you can relax in the fairy pools, and if you’re lucky, spot a Koala making its way up in the trees
  • Visit Byron Bay, the most iconic little Australian town in my mind, you just have to experience it for your self
  • Some early mornings at the beach watching the sunrise while you’re out on your surfboard in the water
  • Trying to climb any of the nearby mountains for a chance to see a spectacular view over the coast
  • Make your way to any of the waterfalls around the coast, for a fun adventure
  • USC International - Brand Ambassador event 2 (61 of 65)Camping trips to the national forest, bonfires at night while watching the most starry sky I have found on my travels

I recommend anyone to come study at USC if you are interested in pursuing an authentic Australian experience while reviving a great education with like minded students from all around the word.

– Kristoffer Wahome @kristofferwahome

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Connor Wills from Pace University in the US studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Hi, my name is Connor Wills, and I’m studying Applied Psychology and Human Relations at Pace University in New York. I spent my fall semester in 2017 at University of the Sunshine Coast- semester 2 for the Australian universities. I decided to apply just before the application deadline, so my experience was a whirlwind of excitement and nerves before I even got to the university- but planning was fun, and before I knew it I was leaving my parents and everyone I knew at airport security to begin my 36 hours of travel.

I stayed in the UniCentral student accommodation, where each apartment had 4 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. I met some of my best lifelong friends at UniCentral, so I would encourage anyone studying at USC to consider student housing, or at least to live with a roommate! Bonus points if the roommate has a car and will drive to pick up $5 Dominos value pizzas or give you a ride to Cole’s or Woolies.

My UniCentral friends and I signed up for a few campus clubs together, too. We joined the ever popular USC Activate, a club dedicated to spending time enjoying the beautiful Sunshine Coast waterfalls, beaches, and all things active- from beach barbecues and slack lining, to bar socials and weekend camping trips and hiking to hidden waterfalls, Activate was there for it. A few of us also joined the USC Quidditch League- yes, like the sport from Harry Potter. If you’ve never heard of muggle Quidditch, it’s a nifty mix of rugby, American football, handball, and dodgeball. It’s very competitive, and they have a campus league made up of 4 teams as well as a traveling team that competes on the state and national level against other universities. If you’re looking for a fun way to be active in a judgement free, very supportive group of people, USC Quidditch is where it’s at! No experience necessary- I had never even played a sport before, but they coached me into being the best I could be and were so supportive the whole time! (Go Dementors!)

I also joined AIME- the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience. My experience with AIME was one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever had. International students often don’t know much about Australian history, and even less about the history of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders- I encourage everyone to learn about this history, and engage in the culture and join AIME to help younger students who need more support than they get from mainstream Australian culture. There’s no shame in AIME!

The classes are set up very differently from American universities- each class has a lecture and a tutorial. The lecture is just a lecture- the professor speaks, and you take notes. But, these lectures are also often recorded and uploaded for later viewing. The tutorials split your lecture into smaller groups, where you meet with your tutor and go more in depth to the content you’re learning. Most assignments are completed and submitted online, so there’s often no need to run to a printer before class. The grading system is also quite a bit different, and I recommend taking to google to learn more about it. But, overall, as long as you submit your work and follow the syllabus you’ll do great!

There’s so many things to do at USC, you will never ever be bored. The campus is beautiful, and there really are kangaroos everywhere! Brisbane is just a bus and a train away, beaches are so close, and there are so many endless experiences to be had on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Rise and shine, adventure awaits!