In the course of my Master studies in business at Heilbronn University Graduate School, I had the unique opportunity to take part in the double degree Master program in International Business at USC. In order to receive the double degree I had to complete four courses at the University of the Sunshine Coast which I selected in cooperation with the international coordinators of both universities prior to my arrival in Australia. The USC offered a great variety of courses to choose from.
Shortly after my arrival in Australia, I had the chance to attend the orientation week organised by the university and familiarise myself with the facilities of the USC campus in Sippy Downs and the surrounding area through guided campus tours and a free hop-on-hop-off bus. Socialising activities such as a free Australian BBQ at the uni have also been part of the interesting orientation.
The highly modern USC campus is characterized by its kangaroos visiting the campus in the early mornings and in the evenings and attract the attention of the excited students every day anew. Many fancy cafès and small food stalls (e.g. sushi) extend the already great offer of the USC brasserie. The university is home to many sport clubs and the student association. I recommend to join the activities offered by them such as trips to the zoo or a festival and the famous netflix and pizza nights.
The USC is located at the beautiful Sunshine Coast. By catching a bus from USC station I could easily get to the beach and enjoy the sunny days. The location is also ideal for trips to Noosa’s national park and the wild koala’s and to Brisbane which can be reached within one hour. I would also recommend a trip to the tourism spots Fraser Island and Byron Bay.
To put in a nutshell, I can highly recommend the double degree program since the interactive courses give you a different insight into the field of business than the university in Germany. Additionally, the location of the university is perfect with regard to language improvement and trips around this beautiful country.
Kai Meier from the HMKW University of Applied Science in Berlin
My amazing semester abroad at USC
And there it was, I was finally leaving Germany and once again I was on my way to Australia. After I finished my last day at university in Berlin on a Friday, I jumped onto the next plane and arrived perfectly on time for Orientation Week. It was super easy to meet new people, a lot of them were Germans of course. Quickly I had a bunch of people surrounding me and I found my new room in a shared house with 11 internationals and Aussie people. The time went fast. On weekends, we were mostly hanging out at the Varsity Students Accommodation having a beer or two in the Helm or at Ocean St in Maroochydore or just chilling at the beach in Mooloolaba. To meet more people, I decided to go on two weekend trips. One tour went to Moreton Island, which is about a 1,5 hrs away and another tour to Spot X a Surf Camp, which is a few hours’ drive down south. Both were unique experiences which I can really recommend. The semester passed by quickly and soon I had semester break which I used to visit some friends in Bali. Others travelled along the East Coast or to Melbourne. The last weeks of my 13 weeks of studying were quite intense. Since I did not have any final exams in any of my four subjects, I had to spend a few nights in the library trying to get all the reports and assignments done as good as possible. Luckily, I was not the only one, so we had some fun times and good memories in the end.
Way to fast the time had come to say goodbye again to all the people I met. One good thing about having so many Europeans here is, that the chance is higher to see them again. Even when my time at the Sunshine Coast was over in June, I still had ten weeks of travelling and fun ahead. First, four friends from USC and I went down to Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise for a week. Afterwards I made my way up to Cairns stopping at Fraser Island, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, Townsville and Magnetic Island. I also did a Skydive at Mission Beach and walked through the world’s oldest rain forest at Cape Tribulation (Daintree Rainforest) before I flew to Bali again. From where I took one more month to go around Bali and Jawar ending my journey in Jakarta.
Now, being back in Berlin, I am looking forward to new adventures waiting for me. But I will never forget all the new impression, the things I learned, the people I met. This truly is learning for life!
To be honest, seeing that USC had kangaroos on its campus was one of the main drivers for choosing the Uni. Another reason was that the Uni is called ‘University of the Sunshine Coast’, who wouldn’t want to live at a place called Sunshine Coast? Being able to do a Double Degree at a University, which is close to a number great places to travel, made the decision easy.
The Sunshine Coast:
The Sunshine Coast is close to well-known places like ‘Fraser Island’, ‘The Great Barrier Reef’, and Brisbane. But that’s not all there is to see, you can go sun bathing or surfing at one of more than twenty beaches at the coast, hiking in many different national parks, climbing the ‘Glass House Mountains’, or visit the famous Australia Zoo that was opened by the Irwin family (you might know them from Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter). Or you spend a morning at the artisan ‘Eumundi Market’, or go up for a swim in Noosa’s Fairy Pools. There is so much to see and do around the University, that it is very unlikely to ever get bored, whether you are an adrenalin junkie or just want to relax.
Right at the beginning, I joined the ‘USC Activates’ who organise trips around the Sunshine Coast for the cost of what you would spend going by yourself, you practically get the guide for free. With the club, I saw some amazing waterfalls and had some fun evenings at the beach and movie nights. But more important, I made some really good friends (locals and internationals) at the USC Activates, and we organised some private trips with a bunch of people too.
Was it a good decision to study at USC?
Definitely!! Apart from all the travelling, I have learned more than in Germany. The way they teach you is like being back at school, but it is so much more efficient (at last for me), and given the fact that in some courses you can pass even before the final exam gives you more time to relax at the pool during study week.
For my third Master semester I decided to say “Goodbye” to cold Germany and escape to sunny Australia. I was even happier with my decision when I found out about the USC´s Double Degree Program. By only completing one semester in Australia I would be able to get a full Masters degree in addition to my German degree. Sounds too good to be true but as the Australians tend to say “No worries”.
After completing my semester, I am very happy with my decision to study at the USC. The modern campus with huge outside areas to hang out, a big library and great spots to grab a coffee or a quick bite to eat create a relaxed environment, in which a day of studying feels more like a vacation. As far as the workload goes, it is challenging but manageable. Even though some weeks were busier than others, there was always enough time to enjoy the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Furthermore, a vast number of university clubs offers all students the chance to engage in University matters or simply get to know fellow students.
I for one decided to rather spend my spare time on traveling around the amazing east coast, going to the beach and for a surf from time to time. The Sunshine Coast is regarded as one of the most beautiful spots in Austalia by tourists as well as locals. Friendly people, great Barbecue spots and beautiful beaches can be found everywhere on the coast.
I would advise everyone who comes to the Sunshine Coast to travel as much as they can. There´s so much to see. No matter if you go down south to the touristy Gold Coast, relaxed Byron Bay or even as far as Sydney or up north to Noosa, Fraser Island or Cairns, there are beautiful places all along the coast.
For me the Double Degree Program was the perfect combination of studying and being able to see a new part of the world. I had an amazing time and would recommend this experience to everyone.
This is Labolina and Lars’ adventure, a story about two people from Dalarna, Sweden and how we met by chance at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland, Australia.
In 2014 we were two strangers, but we both had a spontaneous idea to study overseas, and since we wanted to begin as soon as possible we both enlisted the help of Kilroy Education. Their friendly and professional staff helped us get ready for the adventure, not knowing that our paths would cross only a few weeks later, and that this meeting would develop into a great friendship which in turn would foster academic and professional success.
Back in 2014 we left two different worlds behind. I was busy completing high school when my dad one night mentioned that he knew someone who had studied overseas on the Sunshine Coast, in Australia. All I thought I knew about Australia at the time was that Sydney was the capital (I was wrong), and that everyone spoke like the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin (I was not completely wrong about that). So, the thought of moving to the other side of the world, to a country that I knew almost nothing about, seemed both thrillingly challenging and completely out of my comfort zone. As I have always been interested in learning how the human body works, I applied to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Later in my degree I fell in love with Microbiology, learning about microorganisms, infectious diseases and what we can do to treat them. Throughout my degree, I had the opportunity to participate in theoretical lessons, practical laboratory experiments, and two special research projects, focusing on the things I wanted to learn more about. These factors definitely contributed to my learning experience, if there was something I would improve with the Microbiology program it would be the amount of laboratory time!
In contrast, Lars decided to leave his marketing career for a more person-centred profession, and since Lars was eager to explore other cultures, he knew his journey would begin overseas. Once Kilroy helped Lars find the Bachelor of Counselling program at USC, he was hooked. While Lars did not mind learning about theories, I could tell his favourite part of his degree was the many practical exercises such as demonstrating acquired counselling skills. Lars, himself, once told me that his favourite aspect of his degree was the balanced course structure, which is divided between theoretical discussions, practical exercises, and personal reflections.
Although, how do you gently tell your friends and family that you are moving overseas for at least three years? I remember Lars telling me he was out walking with his brother one day, when he out of nowhere said “Bro, you know the expression ‘I might have a screw loose?’, well I think my bolts are gone, the screws are nowhere to be found, and the whole structure is about to fall apart… I have decided to move to the Sunshine Coast for four years!”. I am not sure, but there might be some truth in Lars’ comment, as it was definitely a thrilling time, and it was at times difficult to comprehend what my university application would actually mean.
In the first half of July 2014 we both began our separate journeys to Australia, interestingly enough we both chose to travel the 24+ hour journey with Emirates Airline. I remember Labolina telling me once that when she got into her waiting cab at Brisbane Airport around midnight, she clearly thought her driver sounded like Hugh Jackman. She thought that her knowledge about Australia was astonishing. I have never met any Hugh Jackman sound-a-likes, but when I arrived I was well aware of the ‘dangerous threat’ from Drop Bears!
Before we knew it, we were Bachelor students, enrolled in our separate courses at USC, which is a university far, far away from home. To say that the following three years was an adventure would be an understatement, particularly for me. Not only because I was moving overseas, but also because I, as a person with sight impairment, was changing the familiarity of Sweden for an area, culture, and environment I could not see. I remember Labolina and I talking about how nerve wracking the first few weeks were, as we suddenly were sharing a lecture theatre with a few hundred other students. The thing that made us most nervous though, was not knowing if we could actually overcome the challenges that laid ahead.
I mean, moving across the world, doing a university degree in another language, is a pretty big challenge to take on, right? What we loved about USC though, was that it often felt like a tight-knit community. Throughout our degrees, whenever we had questions or wanted advice from teachers, they would be there to answer them. Whenever we wanted to learn more, our teachers would provide us with the opportunity to do so, and whenever we struggled to get our words across because of the language-barrier, our classmates would patiently listen and help. Some of my teachers well and truly acted as my mentors, and I loved being able to sit down over a coffee and discuss the world of microbiology with them.
I think it is rare to find a university with the same person-centred philosophy as USC. For example, USC always had an individualistic approach to Lars’ learning experience. This was evident in his first meeting with Disability Services, in which Matt (Disability Advisor) sat down and calmly asked “Lars, what help do you need from us?”. This was the start of a positive, solution-focused cooperation between the university and Lars, which made it possible for him to study on the same terms as everyone else.
While we both agree on that it was a challenge to learn how to speak and write academically in English, we were never too worried as we would have had to learn the same thing in Swedish. This is because the ‘academic language’ is ‘a bit special’, so simply knowing a language is no guarantee that you will have it easy academically. Surprisingly, it only took a couple of weeks before we could walk into a lecture theatre with the feeling: “Hey, this feels natural”.
In my experience, it was not just the university that had a person-centred and supportive attitude, but also organisations such as Guide Dogs Queensland. They have, among other things, helped me learn how to navigate the unfamiliar areas of the Sunshine Coast using busses and trains. This have contributed to my ability to live independently, and have allowed me to gather knowledge and experiences on my own terms. I was therefore able to travel around, meet new people, and try some of Australia’s excellent breakfasts! While most of the people I have met have been warm and friendly, Australia’s Mermaids had a stone-cold manor, no matter which ‘pick-up lines’ I tried (chuckles).
However, thankfully Labolina was a more warm-hearted person, with whom I regularly met up with for a traditional Swedish Fika. Fika is deeply embedded in Swedish culture, and can be described as taking a break from the daily stresses in life. This short break allows people to appreciate the good things in life, either alone, or with company, and is usually enjoyed with a tea/coffee and something small to eat. The fact that we Swedes have a special word for this should be an indication of how important this lifestyle is.
Labolina and I enjoyed our first Fika within the first few weeks of our stay in Australia. This quickly became a tradition, and usually we met up once a week to discuss the ups and downs during each semester. We agree that this break from the university life made the whole experience less scary, since we had a familiar routine that reminded us of home. We both took on our academics as the biggest challenge of them all, so even though we were studying completely different degrees we could cheer each other on as we worked our hardest to improve with each semester.
This could not only be seen in our steadily increasing grade point averages, but also in the successes we had outside of our studies. For instance, I remember a modest Labolina pondering whether or not to apply for an esteemed Undergraduate research summer program at Monash University in Melbourne. With the support of her friends, family, and teachers Labolina submitted her application, and just a few months later she arrived at the Monash Research Laboratory. One of my own great accomplishments was my invitation to ‘The Golden Key International Honour Society’, which is reserved for the top 15 percent of students. Fuelled by this success I also managed to secure a position in the USC Golden Key Executive Team, and was later that year awarded the prestigious Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship.
While USC is a smaller university, we believe that it was USCs person-centred and friendly atmosphere that allowed us to grow and flourish. We think this inclusive and flexible environment is difficult to find at other universities, so if you are looking for a university where you are a person and not a number, we would recommend University of the Sunshine Coast.
These past three years have been an incredible journey for us both, and thinking back on the Mooloolaba coast line is starting to feel like a long-lost dream already. We have had our own paths and challenges, but our friendship have been there to help us forward. It is, however, time for Labolina’s journey to change, as she is now starting her Master’s degree in Infectious Biology at Uppsala University. Lars will stay at USC to finish the last year of his counselling degree, before it is time for him to change his focus towards his passion, namely the field of sex and disability. Even though half a world separates us now, we will definitely stay in contact, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we will reunite over a traditional Swedish Fika!
Inga from University of Applied Sciences Stralsund, Germany studying a Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management) double degree at USC!
My time in Australia comes to an end and I have to say goodbye to this beautiful country for the second time in my life. After a year doing work & travel, I knew I had to return at some point and was lucky to have the possibility to do a double degree in corporation with my home town university and the USC. I was enrolled for two semesters in the course Tourism, Leisure and Events Management and not only learned a lot about the industry but also about the Sunshine Coast itself. The university system differs from the one at home because you have 3 tasks for each course during the whole semester which all contribute to your mark. This can be exams, reports or presentation but once started you get the hang of it quickly. The lecturers are very supportive and open minded to international students. I always felt welcomed and knew I could ask whenever I needed advice. The USC in general offers various support services, has a great library and quite modern campus facilities which makes it a great place to study (not to mention the occasional kangaroo hopping by). However, there is more to a uni year abroad than just studying: Travel, leisure and social life! During the first semester, I was living in the student accommodation Varsity where I met lots of great people, internationals and Aussies. There was always something going on, like Beach Volleyball, or a party every now and then. At the end of the first semester it was sad to see some of the friends I made leaving, as they were only staying here for one semester. This made me appreciate the choice of staying for a whole year even more because I still had a three-month summer break which I used to travel around Australia and Bali and another semester with incredible experiences ahead. During the second semester, I lived in a share house in Mooloolaba and enjoyed the proximity to the beach, the esplanade with plenty of nice cafes and the laid-back Aussie lifestyle I love. I can only recommend the Sunshine Coast as a study location because it is a beautiful place with gorgeous beaches, stunning hinterland and lovely people. It will always have a place in my heart.
Hola amigos, it has been two weeks after returning from my exchange at University Pablo De Olavide (UPO) in Seville and to be honest I am having serious withdrawals… Seville is the capital city off Andalucía, which is a southern province in Spain. It is arguably the best place to eat and the birthplace off flamenco, which captivated me every time. That alone was enough to have me hooked, but if you’re not convinced, let me tell you a little bit more.
I started my exchange in Seville at the end of January 2017; it was wintertime, a little bit colder then our winters here on the Sunshine Coast. A week before I arrived I had no idea where I was going to live so I opted to stay with a host family for the first week until I found my feet. The host family was a great experience, despite the fact they didn’t speak a word of English and I not a word of Spanish, we still managed to communicate with hand gestures and thank god for Google translate. It was a great insight to see how some of the Spanish live, I met their family and friends, ate their Iberian ham and chickpea soup and told stories of each others lives (through Google translate and pictures). They did offer for me to stay for the whole semester, which is what a lot of my friends from the exchange program did. However for me as a nutrition student, coco pops for breakfast and potato chips with dinner was not going to cut it, I needed my own space, in particular my own kitchen. Although some of my friends had great experiences with their host families, allowing them with opportunities to practice their Spanish and have authentic Spanish experiences. A lot of the students found the strict eating times and family rules a little bit hard, especially if they had already lived out of home.
I spent a week in between classes searching for apartments, and eventually I found the one that would be my home. It was great and the people I lived with even better. I had one German roomie, one French, one Italian and the Sevilliano drop in, who proved to be the best Spanish family I could ask for. In winter we would huddle together in our lounge room and drink beer and red wine while eating Selu’s (my Sevilliano friend) home made croquettes and singing along to ‘Despacito’ while someone played the guitar. Come summer when it was very hot, I would sit on the roof top and watch the sun go down over the city, watching birds flying around the countless amounts of churches in every street, listening to the church bells ring or someone playing flamenco guitar in the distance.
I grew to love this city, and the tapas bar on every corner, the live flamenco until early hours, the beautiful monuments all around the city and the beautiful parks and peaceful river. But most of all I loved the people, that’s what really made the biggest impression, Sevillianos are very friendly people despite the fact that they speak ridiculously fast (don’t count on understanding them even if you can speak Spanish), they siesta during the day and come out at night filling up all the tiny cobbled stone streets with there laughter, music and ridiculously good fashion. But not only the Spanish were great, besides my roommates, I made lots of friends from all around the world that made my time in Seville so special.
However take this as a friendly warning, but my exchange program at UPO, is separate from the normal Erasmus students, meaning that 90% of my classmates were American and the other 10% Canadian. Don’t get me wrong, I love Americans, my classmates were great people, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like without my Canadian friend Dylan. But don’t expect to get cultured in a class full of 19 year old Americans where a lot of the programs are tailored around the American students. And don’t expect to make Spanish friends unless you can speak Spanish or you put in a big effort with extra curricular activities. Class discussions were often related back to American culture and university life, I’m not going to lie but sometimes I felt like I was a little left out of the sorority club.
That being said I enjoyed my classes they were interesting and my lecturers were great people who really enjoyed teaching and sharing with us information about Spanish life. I highly recommend the Spanish language course, even though at the beginning I was nervous to speak, by the end of semester I was looking forward to class and managing to maintain simple conversations in Spanish. This was so beneficial as not many Sevillianos speak English and it allowed me to communicate to a certain extent in Spanish. The other great thing about the exchange program was that there were no classes on Fridays, which meant that every weekend was a long weekend. Given Spain’s great location in Europe and Ryanairs cheap airfares, it gave me the opportunity to travel on weekends. I started off visiting different parts of Spain I had not previously been to, relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Canary Islands or hiking around hidden villages in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Eventually I was exploring other countries like Portugal, Morocco, England, Scotland, Hungary and Denmark.
A highlight of my time in Seville would have to be the ‘Feria de Abril’, a week long festival where the whole city comes alive, including your Spanish neighbours great, great grandmother. The men dress smartly and the women dress up in the traditional flamenco dress. They parade around the city on horse and carriage making their way to the festival venue which never closes, people are literally there 24/7. It is here where there are hundreds of tents filled with Spanish people, eating, drinking, smoking, dancing, singing and parading around on horseback and carriage. I had so much fun and a huge wake up call that this city never sleeps, regardless of your circumstances.
Living in Seville is cheap compared to other places in Europe and especially Australia. You will find yourself whinging about prices of wine in different countries after living there. I chose to pay a little bit extra in rent so that I could live in the old Jewish quarter basically in the centre of the city. It was so worth it, I was a 2 minute walk from everything I needed and a 10 minute walk from basically everything else. And if I really needed to get somewhere further I rode the city bikes or caught the metro, its really simple.
If you are interested in culture, food, music, dance, hiking, exploring and basically anything else that’s fun I highly recommend doing this exchange program. Don’t expect to get much sleep but do expect to make amazing memories that you will never regret or forget… Me encanta Sevilla (I love Seville)!
Going to Australia for a semester was one of the best decisions I could have made for my time in college. Right from the beginning I was having eye opening experiences, connecting with people, and growing as a person. The people are down to earth and friendly, and I was being welcomed to Australia for months by everyone I met. Between that and the relaxed attitude so many Aussies seem to share, I felt right at home from the get-go.
The University of the Sunshine Coast blew me away with the quality of its classes and teachers. My professors were all actively involved in their fields, and knew not just what they were teaching, but how to effectively teach it. Every question I had was quickly and confidently answered. The classes were also inclusive of a broad range of material, and were clearly stemming from the professor’s understandings, as opposed to being taught out of a text book. What I learned here I know I can take anywhere. Needless to say, the academics go above and beyond.
A university isn’t just professors and classrooms, and I took full advantage of what else there was to offer. The library is modern and terrific for studying, there are tons of activities and events put on by the university and the student guild, and a boat load of really great student groups. There was something for everyone, whether you be outdoorsy, or if real quidditch sounds like fun to you. The groups are run by students for students, and a great way to make connections.
I really took advantage of the outdoor group on campus, USC Activate. I made friends through it that I will be visiting and who plan to visit me. We went on audacious hikes, explored Queensland’s coast, and climbed the cores of old volcanoes. The bonds we made were so strong we ended up making our own trips, and went more places by ourselves than we ended up going through Activate. There were local Aussies, and also a strong showing of international students as well. We ended up getting people from a plethora of different countries and backgrounds. While I have connections in Australia now that I’ll be returning to in the future, I also have them in other countries I’ve never been to.
I went to Brisbane and Sydney, and I can say they have some cool corners to discover, but most of my effort was in seeing the landscape these cities are built around. There are so many beautiful and unique places in Australia, filled with an ecology found nowhere else. Coming to Australia to study ecosystem sciences, I learned just as much outside of the classroom as in it. It was enlightening in regards to what was Australian, but also gave me perspective on what I found at home as well. And the Aussies love getting out into “the bush”. Or anything that get’s them active. From bushwalking, to surfing, to rock climbing, they do it all and dragged me along. Take them up on any offer to go outside.
My trip to Australia was invaluable. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. For anyone considering going, go. If you’re interested, realize you don’t know the half of it, and the half you do know already has you ready to go. Think what it will be like once you discover the other half in Australia.
I always had the goal to spend a semester as an Exchange student somewhere around the globe. It was one of my requirements to the University to have a various offer on exchange programs. So, it came that I got the opportunity to do my exchange in a wonderful country called Australia!
Directly after I visited my first lesson in the Orientation Week, I could feel it would be an awesome time at Uni. As usual the start of the semester is a bit overwhelming, by organising and adopt yourself in a new university, especially when you are alone in a country which is located 16500km away from your home. Anyway, that is a fact which makes the whole thing much more interesting and adventurous. It doesn’t really take much till I met new people which were in the exact same situation as I was.
University of Sunshine Coast
Once you spent a couple of weeks in Australia, you start getting into the culture of the Aussies. Therefore, the thing I noticed, is that the Aussies have an easy-going behaviour which I really appreciate, whereas back in Switzerland a lot of things appear much tougher. This attitude reflects also to the University. As I started my biggest fear was to keep up with the language during the semester and especially for the exams. This fear was gone as soon I did the first assignment tasks. Compared to Switzerland where your grades depend all on one big final exam, at USC the courses are divided into 3 different tasks. Each of them contributes to the final grade. Within some courses you could even reach a Pass-Grade (set by 50%) by doing the first 2 Tasks. Consequently, as soon I got my first Grades, I could focus on exploring this amazing Country.
My best experience during the Exchange was to explore the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I don’t even know where to start. Since I’ve never been in Australia before I didn’t really know what to expect about, except that every little creature could possibly kill me, regarding the most venomous animals live here. Well Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island, hundreds of Waterfalls, amazing surf spots, rainforests, outback deserts and endless beaches everywhere are only a bunch of things to explore. The fact that you can spend some time at the beach with swimming, surfing or simply getting a nice tan, and it reaches temperatures of 25°-30° in the WINTER, it’s reason enough to go to Australia (compared to Switzerland). Summarised I don’t want to spoil too much, I just want to say I was never as enchanted by a country like Australia!
My time on exchange at Masaryk University – Czech Republic has been an incredible life-changing experience so far. I have met so many amazing people from all different parts of the world. I have had to adapt to a new climate, new language and new culture.
I arrived part-way through winter… and to my utter excitement the streets were filled with snow, white forests and fields. I have never seen snow before so for me this beautiful sight was something so incredible. However, I was soon met with the bitter reality of a European winter… it was cold, very cold. I got used to not being able to feel my nose, after coming from 36-degree heat and the ocean it took a while. I made snowmen, went ice skating and spent a lot of time admiring the outside from my bedroom window.
From the first week I have met so many amazing people. My roommate is Greek and I gave up trying to learn Greek after realising I couldn’t even pronounce ‘thank you’. Each week the International Students Club puts on events such as board games nights, quiz nights, parties and country presentations where students can share their cultures. Brno is an amazing student city and everything is at your fingertips (and a short walk away). Also a litre of beer is on average $2 at any bar, and the beer is GOOD. And now that the weather is warmer the beer gardens have opened so after a tiring day of study you can sit in the city square and drink a $2 beer. Although the cuisine consists of a lot of bread, fried things and meat. But you can go to any restaurant and only pay $5 for meal. I admit it will be hard coming back to Australia and having to hand over $20 for a meal.
Brno is perfectly situated in the middle of Europe which has made travelling very easy and cheap. I have been able to travel nearly every weekend to surrounding countries such as Austria, Poland, Germany and Slovakia.
The University is really wonderful too, I have been able to study subjects I am interested in and be taught by teachers who are highly experienced in their individual areas. And to my benefit, I am normally the only native English speaker so I have become a walking dictionary for most of the students. It has been so incredible to witness all these students from all different countries having to study in a second or even third language.
My most memorable moment so far would have to be Easter in a small Czech village called Sakvice. In small Czech villages they have a tradition where they take these rainbow whip like things and go around to each house in the village and whip the women to bring good luck and fertility, the men are then rewarded with food, beer and liquor at each house. Some friends and I were lucky enough to be able to walk around with a group of Czech boys in the village to witness the tradition in action. It was a day filled with many laughs, food and Czech folk songs.
Studying at the Doshisha University has been a semi-dream that I aspired towards when entering the University of Sunshine Coast. I heard many stories from my brother and my friends about the lifestyle in Japan, and on arrival, I have to admit it is opposite from Australia. The first month, I was fascinated in exploring Tokyo and Kyoto before University started. I had a slight feeling that I would have a dozen overload of kanjis to study for, and in the end, I am glad that I did.
I spent ten days in Tokyo before arriving in Kyoto, and I was able to experience the modern city life and see Mt Fuji. It was fantastic! It is a whole different perspective from seeing it in the photo to the real life thing. I visited from Kamakura, Asakusa, Tokyo Tower, Mt Fuji to Shibuya. I was enjoying the food, visiting my friends and the holiday feeling. From there I travelled down via Shinkansen, called Nozomi, to Kyoto. If you do happen to go, I recommend travelling by Shinkansen at least once – as you can see a different side of Mt Fuji on the way.
A week prior I got into contact with Doshisha’s International Management Mori-san, and she was able to prepare a volunteer student to help me settle when I had arrived in Kyoto. The student volunteer was an amazing girl, she helped me move into my dormitory and register my address onto the resident card and helped apply for a required health care insurance in Kyoto. Not only that, she even gave me information to find the cheapest supermarket in Kyoto, how to pay many of my bills and so on.
From then, every week, I got the opportunity to explore the Kyoto city’s life. It is much greener than Tokyo and has many tourist spots near the University. I was happy to live in a location where I would walk at least 30 min down the road to the major street mall at Sanjo and Shijo. If you do have the opportunity, please do make plans to visit in March to Early April as the cherry blossom trees were such a beautiful sight to see every day. Truthfully, I had taken at least a dozen of photos of the same tree each day. I have been in love with the green tea, the food and ice-cream, as well as mochi, taiyaki, pancake, the Kyoto’s tofu and Kura Sushi. For those who enjoy buying clothes, I would suggest visiting Osaka, not only the Castle is enormous but the fashion in Osaka is cheaper than Kyoto and has more of variety in one street mall.
For the lifestyle at university, all the teachers are very friendly and understanding, I have met a lot of local Japanese university students to converse with inside and outside of college. And especially I found such great friends in the dormitory and the school, that had experience the same exchange student lifestyle. They had helped me settle and understand what to do in the university. We help each other out with studies, reading mail, and figuring out when the next test times are. Many of those times we had social lunches, dinners and just hang out in the kitchen. Without these friends, I don’t think I would have settled in as quickly than three weeks. Together, we struggled through the amount of homework and the kanji and readings. But when we had finished the week, we travel together to places around Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. I am hoping to go further out to Kobe, Mie, Okayama and Lake Biwako, as Kyoto and Osaka has a lot of local express trains to these locations.
I am thankful for the Study Overseas team and the University of Sunshine Coast teachers for arranging this opportunity for me to study here in Kyoto, Doshisha University.
It has definitely been the best decision of my life to study abroad in Australia. I was one of the first Master students of my home university who went to the USC and had the chance of doing a double degree during the exchange semester. Therefore, compared to the Bachelor exchange students, I was unsure, as I didn’t have any references concerning the courses.
As things turned out, the Orientation days at the USC have given the students enough information to not worry about a thing and the chosen courses have been very enjoyable (besides giving us a lot of free food and the chance to meet the other international students). The classes were smaller in comparison to classes in Austria and the lecturers communicate with the students on a more personal level. They were always willing to help and always available for any concerns, which was a pretty pleasant study experience. The exams were much easier than at home as the focus lays on essays during the lecture period, which require a lot of research effort. Therefore, I really learned how to research properly and write academical texts in English.
The campus itself is very well equipped and it was actually a lot of fun to work on assignments at the library with all the other students. What is more, besides the USC gym, there were a lot of activities and clubs for students to join. One of the best experiences for me was living in the student accommodation, which was only five minutes walk from the campus. Living there made it a lot easier to get to know all those awesome people from all over the world I’ve met!
Other little extras are all the beautiful beaches nearby and the kangaroos chilling directly on the campus, or the travels you can do in this stunning country! To sum up, I had the time of my life and it was worth every dollar I’ve spent! I am so grateful for this unique experience and would recommend it to everyone!
The time at the University of the Sunshine Coast was the best time of my studies. The USC is a partner university of my home university (University of Applied Sciences Ansbach). That’s why it was pretty easy for me to organise my semester abroad. The University of the Sunshine Coast has a lovely campus and you can see kangaroos nearly every day.
The lectures and workshops were challenging, because studying in Australia is totally different compare to Germany. At the University of the Sunshine Coast you are not a little number of many students. The professors, tutors and USC staff are really friendly and try always their best to help the students with their studies or other problems. There are many student clubs at the University which you can join. For example the student guild offers yoga and a fitness class every week.
I am studying Media and I used the photo studio and the Mac rooms at the uni. The equipment is really good and international students are allowed to use everything.
I also enjoyed the freetime at the Sunshine Coast. You can visit several nice places here. We saw waterfalls, jumped into natural lagoons, climbed mountains, spent time at the beach, camped in the middle of nowhere, searched for big fishes while we snorkelled, had great party’s and met awesome people.
It’s really hard to leave right now. I will definitely come back to this beautiful country.
Thank you USC for the support and the awesome time.
My semester abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast was one of the greatest experiences I had during my studies. I chose the “Diploma in General” instead of the normal Study Abroad program, which gave me a final certificate from USC. For the Diploma I had to take four courses. Due to the many assignments, studying was very time-consuming, but I improved my organization and time management fundamentally and learned a lot. In addition to studying, I met friends for life and had the chance to travel a beautiful country. During the semester I was with friends sunbathing on the beach, camping and hiking in national parks, in Brisbane for my first rugby game, whale snorkeling and many more. After the semester I started my 6 weeks traveling around Australia. Australia is a life time experience I can recommend to everyone.
Studying one semester at University of the Sunshine Coast was the best and most interesting, but also sometimes a challenging time of my studies. At my home university in Germany, our assessments were mainly exams and presentations. Becoming adjusted to the assignments at the USC and in particular writing in academical English, took some time and was even frustrating at times. However, the support by the University, like the academic skills advisers or the course coordinators were helping me to overcome the difficulties. When I recognized that I improved from assignment to assignment, the feeling was awesome and pushed my motivation. Now, that I’ve finished all my assessments, I’m almost a bit sad, since this was my last semester of real master studies. Back in Germany, i’m going to write my master thesis and then i’ll be finished. Nevertheless, i’m looking forward to it – especially because I’ll graduate in two master programs thanks to the double-degree opportunity at the USC. I also enjoyed going to such a modern university with its lovely campus. I mean, I can now say I studied with kangaroos hopping around my campus! I’m going to miss the Sunshine Coast and Australia, though I’m sure I’ll be back one day. It’s not only a great place to study, but also for vacation due to the warm, sunny weather all year and the beautiful beaches.
Studying abroad and living overseas is one of the most exciting, scary, happy, sad, crazy times of your life which you may only get one opportunity to do. So take it! I have been studying at the University of Aalborg in Denmark on exchange for 3 months. In that time I have been to The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, England and of course Denmark. That is the absolute beauty of living in Europe.
So what about the study. I have assimilated into Danish life by buying a bike which I dread riding up the hill to school every day. As the danish students wizz past me everyday I fight with my bike to ensure I arrive to class on time. But that’s half the fun of living in a new place. Winter is here now and it is quite cold but I have developed an addiction to hot chocolate and whipped cream, a love I would never have realised at home. Everyone here is so nice and I’m so lucky to have found a group of amazing international friends.
Aalborg is quite small and easy to get around, with one big party street. I am enjoying the relaxed, friendly and hygge lifestyle the Danish people lead here.The university is very helpful and welcoming of all international students.
And just like that, I have 8 weeks until semester finishes and will be back in Australia. Time flies when you’re having fun. See you all soon!