Eike Stau from the University of Regensburg in Germany studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Hi, my name is Eike and I usually study political science in Regensburg, Germany. pic1However, I am currently studying at USC as an international student. But now that my semester abroad is coming to an end it is time for a little review.

During my preparations for the semester, the search for an apartment was of course at the top of my list. Fortunately, there are quite reasonably-priced accommodations in the immediate vicinity of the university. Of course, you can also live elsewhere in Sippy Downs, where my campus is located, or even closer to the ocean, e. g. Mooloolaba. Nevertheless, the accommodations right next to the university are very suitable for a single semester abroad.

The Orientation Week, where the university has a large presence and provides great offers especially for international students, started quite quickly. Right at the beginning we were invited to a bus tour where the USC ambassadors showed us the area and gave us tips on restaurants, clubs, activities and must-sees. Since this event was for internationals only, the uncertainty was clearly visible among the majority of the people, as most of us came to Australia alone. However, since practically everyone was in the same situation, with a little openness one quickly found new friends. And the same people are still my friends now. In addition, we have already begun to think about when, where, and how to meet again after our time at USC.

In general, USC’s staff is very helpful. Whether the International Office, Student Central or the individual lecturers, there is always someone with “an open ear” for problems or difficulties. There are no stupid questions. The campus is located in the middle of a nature reserve, you can see many different animals, from the smallest birds to sunbathing kangaroos, and USC is modern and digital – you feel at home. The course structure is different here than at my university in Regensburg. While at home, I have to do a great deal of work, usually a long essay after the actual semester, whilst here I have to do up to three smaller things during the current semester. How one evaluates the particular system is left to everyone.

But now to the actual reason why you do such a semester – travelling. Since we are here on the Sunshine Coast, there are many different things you can do. One must have visited the Australia Zoo. On the one hand, you can see all the animals we don’t really know in Europe. Some animals I’ve never seen before. In addition, you can take a picture with a koala on your arm – and you should, if you’re willing to pay almost $30, definitely do that! You can also pet and feed kangaroos, which you should only do in the Zoo. Furthermore, I’ve visited so many different beaches! Of course, you should try to surf at pic3least once. My attempts were not blessed with too much luck, but practice makes perfect (I guess). Most beaches are easy to reach by bus. Even if public transport was not quite ideal for me as a European, it is perfectly all right – You get from A to B.

Beside the zoo and the beaches, there are numerous other things that can be seen in the area, like waterfalls or national parks. On weekends, when you have a little more time than during the week, it is a good idea to plan 1-2 day trips. For example, you can go to Brisbane or Fraser Island. In my semester break, I was able to make a longer trip with my friends. We drove with the car of a friend on one of the best road trips I have ever had north towards Whitsundays. When we arrived there, we went on a boat for several days and drove around the different islands, visited Whitehaven Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches there is, and were diving in the Great Barrier Reef. This was by far one of the most special holidays I have ever had and which I will never forget. That is something I can recommend to anyone! At the end I will spend another week in Sydney after the semester ended, before I go back home again.

Overall, I had a great time at USC and generally here in Australia. I found good friends, had lots of fun and was able to see a lot. I am incredibly grateful for the experience I have had here!

– Eike Stau

Johanna Fuersattel from OTH Regensburg in Germany studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Hey guys, my name is Johanna and I’m studying European Business at OTH Regensburg in Germany. Part of my bachelors’ program is the fantastic opportunity to do a double degree program at the University of the Sunshine Coast for one year. I am currently finishing my second and last semester here and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything I experienced and the amazing people I met that I will keep in my heart forever.

USC is a rather small university on the Sunshine Coast and is everything I wouldn’t have expected, compared to what I knew from my German university. Walking to my classes and saying hello to kangaroos living next to campus, spending my breaks laying in the sun and experiencing the beautiful weather are the things I will miss most about USC. Additionally, the student experience at USC is very different and classes are much more relaxed and open-minded than what I was used to. Instead of having one exam at the end of the semester, every course has about three tasks that are spread over 13 weeks of classes plus two weeks of exam period after the semester. This, and a system of lectures and tutorials where the students can deepen their knowledge and ask questions to their tutors, makes USC a very attractive destination to study.

But there is so much more than studying here. Drive for 15 minutes and find yourself at beautiful beaches, mountains and national parks, but also shopping centres and everything else you need. The Sunshine Coast is very local and chilled compared to big cities like Sydney or Melbourne, but if you have the urge to visit one of these: Brisbane is just a one hour drive away.

In my 4-month semester break, I had enough time to travel around Australia and do several road trips with friends I met at USC and at my student accommodation. Waking up in a different place every day, breakfast at the beach and camping in the most beautiful and remotest camping spots I have ever seen made these trips too amazing to end.

If you have the opportunity to come to this university, I definitely would recommend it. But be warned – once you’re here, you’ll never want to leave. I honestly had the time of my life at USC and I am sure that I will never experience something like it ever again.

Patricia from the University of Applied Sciences Regensburg in Germany studying at USC Sunshine Coast

PatriciaFraserIslandHammockMy Study Abroad program at USC was a great and interesting experience which taught me that attending lectures, tutorials and writing assignments can be fun. I had the opportunity to study at a wonderful campus with new facilities, an amazing nature, wildlife and always good weather.

USC offers many services for international students which help you to get through the student life. Workshops such as Referencing or English for Academic Study helped me writing assignments and being able to understand the lectures or tutorials. Everyone is friendly, offers support and gives you feedback that you can improve yourself. I really enjoyed the lectures and tutorials because instead of learning boring theories you learn how to apply them. It is also a great way to communicate with tutors and other students which made me more self-confident about speaking English. The lecturers are so clever and motivating, they know exactly what they are talking about because they have heaps of work experience.

Sometimes it was hard to focus on studies because the USC and the Sunshine Coast offer cute kangaroos, stunning beaches, waterfalls, a really nice swimming pool, parties and mountains. My absolute highlight are the many different beaches around Sippy Downs and mountains which you can reach by car. I love climbing and hiking, watching the sunset and sunrise. I made the best friends at USC Activates, which is a club organised by students. We go on trips, explore the nature and have heaps of fun.

I am still in love with this amazing place and there are so many more reasons for that. The nature and especially the Australian lifestyle make me feel free and independent. Everyone is friendly, happy and appreciate this wonderful place. It is my place of peace and energy.

I think it is hard to find a better place where you can study, live and enjoy life.

By Patricia Selhorst