Camilla Ingebrigtsen from Norway studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

Hi! My name is Camilla, I’m from Norway and in July 2019 my best friend and I packed our bags and moved to Australia to study at The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). I was supposed to study at USC for a full year but thanks to COVID-19, I had to return to Norway in late April, a couple months earlier than planned.

I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to study after high school so I decided to take a gap year, the year passed and I was still just as clueless as the year before, that’s when I started looking into studying abroad. Travelling to Australia has been on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember, so I though why not combine my lifelong Aussie dream and uni.

We contacted STS Education, a study abroad agency in Norway to get information about the different schools and what they had to offer, it didn’t take long before we decided on USC and that was by far the best decision I’ve ever made.

The Sunshine Coast, or Brisbane which is an hour away by car, has pretty much everything you would ever need. Warm climate all year round (it can get chilly in the early morning and late evening during winter so don’t forget to pack a couple hoodies, I made that mistake), beaches everywhere, shopping (I 10/10 recommend Sunshine Plaza), clubs, bars and restaurants (easy to drive down to Brisbane or Gold Coast if you get sick of Ocean Street).

If you are considering studying at USC there is a couple of student accommodations to choose from. Varsity, Uni Central and The Village are all a short walk from campus. I lived at Varsity, which I would say is the more social one out of the three as there is always something happening or someone to hang out with, and it is a great way to meet new friends from all around the world.

If you have the money for it I would definitely recommend visiting other parts of Australia as well. Brisbane Airport is an hour away by car, there is also an airport on The Sunshine Coast but the flights tend to be a bit more expensive than from Brisbane.

During my time in Australia I went to Gold Coast, Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Noosa and Melbourne (rent a car and do the Great Ocean Road roadtrip, not too expensive and soooo worth it!!).

The teachers at USC are used to having a lot of international students, they know that studying in a foreign language can be difficult at times and that somethings might be more challenging than others, but they are super helpful and understanding which was something I was really appreciative of. My favourite course by far was OES104 which has gotten really popular with international students and is an awesome way to see Australia from a local point of view. There’s heaps of field trips as well, from kayaking in the Noosa river, to camping in Cooloola, and a 3-day camping trip to Fraser Island(!!)

My time is Australia was better than I ever thought it would be, I made lifelong friends, went camping at Rainbow Beach with my best friends, travelled to places I’ve dreamt of going to since I was a kid, saw kangaroos at campus on a daily basis, fell In love with watching the sunset (especially at Kawana Beach), held a koala, drove on the beach, watched dogs surf, watched humans surf, snorkelled in The Great Barrier Reef, cried a lot, laughed a lot, and socialised a lot. That pretty much sums up the student life at USC.

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions you’re more than welcome to send me a DM @camillaIngebrigtsen 😀

– Camilla Ingebrigtsen

New Project

Lea Kern from Furtwangen University in Germany: 8 Tips for a Stress-free Road Trip!

lea-kern-10.jpgHi, my name is Lea and I am an exchange student from Furtwangen University in Germany. I am studying Advertising and Communication at USC Sunshine Coast for one semester. During my stay, road tripping was one of my favourite activities. To help you to have a stress-free road trip I have collected:

8 Tips for a stress-free road trip

1. Get up early

The sun rises between 5 and 6 am in Australia. To use the daylight, try to get up early, watch the sunrise and start the day stress-free.

2. Make a playlist in advance

You will spend a lot of time in the car – and maybe want to listen to music while cooking or relaxing at the beach. Make a playlist in advance which everyone can put their favourite music in.

3. Get a good insurance on your rental car

I recommend you to get a good insurance on your car if you decide to go on a road trip! Sometimes it can be worth it to check with any third party providers for a good insurance.

4. Take enough snacks with you

Especially if you travel with people who get hangry 😉

5. Take enough water with you

Around 3 litres for drinking every day per person is the minimum. Additionally, you need water for cooking, washing fruit and veggies, making coffee etc. You might be able to refill your water tanks at the camping sites but sometimes it’s not possible, so make sure you take some spare water with you.

6. Don’t plan on driving too much

Especially when you drive with more than one car, don’t underestimate how long it takes until everything is packed and everyone gets ready. 3-4 hours a day was the perfect time for us.

7. Don’t book too much in advance

Leave yourself the possibility to stay longer at a place you really like. Planning the next one or two days in advance is usually enough.

8. Take a car charger with you

Sometimes you won’t be able to find power outlets for days. A car charger will at least charge your phones, which you will probably need for navigation.

– Leah Kern

Anne-Maree studying at State University of New York at Fredonia

I was expecting it to be cold. It is still summer here at SUNY Fredonia, New York. I’m here just for the Fall Semester, but ‘fall’ hasn’t even started yet! It was the Labor Day long weekend just gone, and we have entered our 3rd week of classes now. Tell you what, classes are quite different than Australian classes, and so far so good, keeping up with homework etc. The classes here are so much more frequent, and a lot shorter than Australian classes. Up until now though, classes have been quite breezy, because the content hasn’t been too intense, although, I get a little confused when people ask ‘what’s your major?’ instead of ‘what is your degree?’, so I’ve learnt to say ‘my major is Exercise Science’.

Here are some of the memories I’ve created so far:

Everything in America is bigger than normal. Such as this pizza. I went to McDonalds for the first time yesterday, and their medium is the same size as the Australian large, it was no wonder I was so full!

The SUNY Fredonia sports teams go by the name “Fredonia Blue Devils”.

Ever seen Easy A?

Walmart is the best place ever!

The people here are wonderful too. I have a group of friends from my suite, here is a picture of me and my friends watching a soccer match (my friends think they’re so unique calling soccer ‘soccer’, they were blown away when I told them that’s what we call it too!)

And squirrels are EVERYWHERE!

Being in the car on the other side of the road is scary, like, I feel like every time we take a left turn we’re going to crash!

The thing that gave me culture shock though, was this Activities Night. SUNY Fredonia is roughly the same size campus as USC, with 5,000 students as opposed to USC’s 10,000. However, everyone here lives on campus and there is a large community atmosphere, so the Activities night showcased over 170 different clubs to sign up for! Including things like Harry Potter Club, Sign Language club, Anime club, Rugby club, Field Hockey club, a capella clubs, and numerous sororities and fraternities. It was just like in the movies!

So far, my time has been incredible, and I have many more things to talk about, but I’ll try to keep it short. Here is a picture of all the international students at SUNY Fredonia, I’m the only Australian. It has been fun answering everyone’s questions (including: do you own a Kangaroo?, are kangaroo’s common?, can you fight a kangaroo?).

I look forward to giving you an update after I have had time to visit new places (I’m going to Boston this weekend, and New York City in a few weeks), exciting times are ahead!

Anne-Maree Nagy, State University of New York at Fredonia.