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

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Niklaus Hess from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) in Switzerland studying at USC Sunshine Coast

PortraitHi there, I’m Nik from Switzerland. I study Business Engineering | Innovation at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU). Here at the USC, I did the Diploma in Business within one semester as part of my bachelor’s degree in Switzerland.

 

The USC is a partner university of the HSLU in Switzerland. Due to the popularity of the USC, students must come as a “freemover”, despite the partnership. Although, in my case, I could profit from a 15% partnership discount. I regret no dollar I paid because it was worth it in any case. Fortunately, the international office of my university in Switzerland gave me great support regarding the application process which made it quite easy for me to apply. Nevertheless, you should plan more than enough time to organize your exchange semester. The earlier you begin, the easier will the process be.

 

The campus of the USC in Sippy Downs is stunning: Trees, plants and colourful birds everywhere, several coffee shops and kangaroos jumping around the place. Also, the buildings and classrooms were very stimulating. For me, studying at USC campus was like studying with a lifestyle. The biggest difference from USC to the HSLU is the examination system. At HSLU, you have no exams during the semester, but big final exams at the end. So, you can relax during semester if you want, however, in most cases you then will have a quite stressful exam preparation period. Here at the USC, you normally have two or three tasks throughout the semester and sometimes a final exam at the end. Thus, if you invest in learning already in the beginning of the semester, you will probably have no stress at the final exam.

 

USC has an own student association which organize many events and trips, especially during the first few weeks. For international students, it is the best opportunity to connect with the other internationals. For example, I attended a day-trip to the rainforest, a market, and a famous beach. So, you could visit the Sunshine Coast and connect with other students at the same time which was fabulous. If you plan to come to USC for an exchange semester, you absolutely must arrive before the orientation week, because in this week there are a lot of social events and parties, so this is also one of the best ways to meet and do cool things with other students.

 

Due to the virus, this time was very special for me, but in a positive sense. Because of the restrictions, I had a lot of time for being with myself and thinking about life and the future. I spent every early morning at the beach for enjoying the sunrise, sipping coffee, walking along the Pacific Ocean, reading inspiring books, thinking about new ideas and so on. This gave me some very valuable personal insights which literally have been changing my life right now. Doesn’t matter if there is a virus or not – spending time in Australia is priceless, as long as you make the best out of it!

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Steven Ranweiler from Minnesota State University – Moorhead in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

How ya goin’ mate? My name is Steven Ranweiler, and I’m visiting from Minnesota in the United States. Back home I’m studying visual arts education, and this semester abroad has been an incredible opportunity to explore more subjects and expand my horizons! I’ve dreamt of visiting Australia for years and the study abroad partnership between my home university (Minnesota State University – Moorhead) and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) helped me to make that dream come true.

I’d heard that Australian culture has a more relaxed pace than life in the US, and I found that to be true in my courses. I was concerned at first to see just a few major assignments making up my grades rather than the many smaller assignments I was used to back home. However, I soon realized that with the time, resources and awesome support provided at USC, those few big projects were great for my learning and less stressful. My professors and tutors have been fantastic, and it was a joy to walk out of classes greeted by sunshine and kangaroos! After courses moved to online learning, I was able to spend even more time in the great Australian outdoors while I attended classes remotely.

By traveling the area with new friends, I’ve gotten to enjoy experiences like surfing, mountain climbing. and swimming under waterfalls! Learning about the cultures and experiences of local Australians and my fellow international students has been enlightening and meaningful.

The pandemic brought some pressure in terms of returning home earlier than expected, but I wasn’t ready to leave the dream. Travel opportunities became limited, but that wasn’t too much of an issue considering I was already in such an extraordinary place. I spent weeks examining and photographing the incredible plants, animals and fungi which are unique to this region. The birds here are impressively loud and several of them remind me of dinosaurs.

I’ve been especially enchanted by the wonders of the local tide pools. One day I counted over 100 sea cucumbers, and by snorkelling I’ve encountered 1000s of charming fish just off the shore! Experiences in beautiful and vulnerable ecosystems like these motivate me to keep pushing for conservation to protect them. I enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer with the Sea Shepherd conservation group in a beach clean-up project, and it’s been awesome studying on a campus surrounded by a wildlife reserve.

 As my time here comes to end I don’t want to leave! I’m excited to see friends and family back home and share stories of this amazing experience with them, but even with great things to get back to it’s hard to leave this paradise and the wonderful new friends I’ve made.

Studying abroad at USC has been an incredible opportunity, and I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who has the chance to do it!

Wishing you all the best,

Steven 😊

USC student Kalvin Mitchell studying overseas at the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz – RheinAhr in Germany

20191201_144536 (2)Hallo!

My name is Kalvin and I’m studying creative writing at USC Sunshine Coast. Right now, I’m studying overseas at the RheinAhrCampus In Germany.

I live in a little town called Remagen, which is on the glorious River Rhein. Coming to Germany was a surprise because I couldn’t have planned it. When I was volunteering for USC International during Orientation Week, I met a German professor who offered me an academic internship. This is my second exchange, but one a whole other level. Although I’m still studying, I spend half my time working for RheinAhrCampus’ own international department, Sprachen/Internationales. In fact, I managed our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SprachenIntRAC/) and even co-produce a podcast: https://www.absolutely-intercultural.com/– Episode 245 is the best 😉

Coming to a new country gave me permission to be a new person, and I love it so much I’m staying another semester. Actually, I think I’ve gone a little mad, because in a few days, I’m starting a bicycle tour through France and Italy. With a winter sleeping bag, I’ll be camping for one month in bushes and meeting new people with ‘CouchSurfing’ along the way. I wouldn’t have built the courage to try something like this if not for my five months here.

If I can offer something I’ve learned, don’t choose the easy option. If you’re going on an adventure overseas, go wild, go somewhere like Germany. Most importantly, this experience will be more valuable than any course. Come even if it means studying something outside your degree. I wouldn’t trade this for a course with Steven King; I’ll still be better off as a writer because of what this adventure has made me.

Love from Germany,

– Kalvin

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Joseph Bautista from the Philippines studying a Bachelor of Nursing Science (Graduate Entry) at USC Sunshine Coast

Image-11Hi, my name is Joe and I am an international student from the Philippines studying a Bachelor of Nursing Science (Graduate Entry) program here at USC Sunshine Coast. I lived in Sydney for one year before coming to the Sunshine Coast in order to pursue my studies.

Here is an interpretation of Joseph’s story here at USC Sunshine Coast:

The tale of 4 queens and a king

Once there was a man who lost track of his dreams. His aspirations were shattered and he found himself wandering offhand. One night, while staring blankly at the sky, he saw an orange falling talking star named Jet. It landed on his palm and asked him to whisper a wish. He uttered to bring him to a place where his “heart desires” then just like that, an hour and a half after, he found himself in a serene kingdom greeted by Queen Beam, the monarch of the sun. She felt that the kingdom from where the man was from has had close affiliation with the tropical sun. He immediately felt the warmth of her welcome, almost feeling like he was back home. The queen gave him a magical faster-than-the speeding-light blue card named Go to take him to places in his quest to find the realisation of his whispered wish. Soon enough, he found himself standing in front of another palace where he was escorted to see Queen Ridge. The queen was kind enough to show him the beauty of her kingdom – Mt. Beerwah, Mt. Coolum, and Mt. Ngungun.  At that point, he could not imagine how that experience would get any better.

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The morning after, he was awakened by the swashing sound of the wave and the cool breeze. On the small sunbed, he was served his brekky, and not long after, he was presented to Queen Beach, the moodiest of the queen sisters but regarded as the most beautiful one. He was warned by the palace guards that she could sometimes be calm and warm, other times turbulent and cold. Meeting the queen, she invited him to walk barefoot to feel the sand where the kingdom rose. Her majesty revealed the beauty of her dominion from the nearby Noosa, Mooloolaba, Mudjimba, and Marcoola to the farther Surfer’s Paradise, Fitzroy Island, and Whitsunday Islands discovering the largest coral reef system in the world. He thought he was having the time of his life, until he met the youngest ruler, Queen Mirth. She was up for all things fun like skydiving, surfing, exploring, or simply basking under the sun. With all these he was told that his true purpose would be revealed once he meets the king.

Image-8Days passed and Go brought him finally to the kingdom where he saw wild kangaroos lying on the grassland, in the middle of lofty structures. There he met King Lore, whose throne is the seat of knowledge and wisdom. The king granted him the gift to pursue his dreams by enriching his mind and develop his skills. The opportunity given came with a supporting entourage while allowing him to explore the kingdoms of the four queens, collectively known as Queensland. At that moment, he realised that the missing puzzle pieces were coming back to make him the person he wanted to be and finally he said, “I’m back on track.”

– Joe Bautista

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Frida Ommundsen from Kilroy Norway studying a Diploma in Sport & Fitness at USC Sunshine Coast: ‘Moving to Sunshine Coast 101’

IMG_5813(1)Hi! My name is Frida and I am from Norway. I moved to Sunshine Coast about a year ago and I have just finished a Diploma in Sport and Fitness at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

When I first moved over to the other side of the world, there was some adjustment. So here are 12 things worth knowing if you are moving to the Sunshine Coast, just to make it a little bit easier for you.

Moving to the Sunshine Coast 101

1. There are three student accommodations around the university.

The Village: More like a share house, close to the university and the bus station. No air condition, but fans. You have access to your own washing machine, and your own outside area for drying.

UniCentral: Shared apartment. No air-condition, but fans. Your also have your own washing machine in the apartment.

Varsity: Shared apartments with air-condition in the living room only. No laundry machine, but shared laundry room which cost 2 and 3 dollars for the use of the drying and washing machines. Varisty is also known for being the accommodation complex that offers more social activities such as Volleyball competitions and Thursday Uni nights.

IMG_8012(1)All of these accommodations offer swimming pools and tennis/basketball courts.

2. There’s a free bus from Varsity every Tuesday and Thursday to Woolies, so you can do your food shopping. Also, Australians shorten every word they can. Woolies = Woolworths, which is one of the main grocery stores.

3. If you’re living at the student accommodations, you can walk to Coles (also a main grocery store) and walk with the trolley back. They will come and pick the trolleys up once a week.

4. Public transport isn’t the best (depending on what you’re used to from back home), and there can be some big distances here in Australia. If you can afford it and you think it’s worth it, depending on the length of your stay, buy a car so you can get around more easily and experience places further away.

5. The University offers different sports, and if they don’t have the sport you wish to play they are happy to help you start a team. I started an European Handball team, and we took 4th place in Unigames which was held in Gold Coast.

6. Buy a go card (bus/train card), which will only cost you 10$, and might be able to register the card and get student discount on your trips. You can buy it from a news agency or at uni. Simply tap the card when you go on the bus or train and tap it when you go off. The card can be used in Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast ++.

7. Mooloolaba is the main beach in Sunshine Coast, and it has an esplanade with different shops and restaurants. Only 15-20min bus ride away from Uni, if you take the 615 bus from the USC Bus Stop.

IMG_5012(1)8. Sunshine plaza is the main shopping centre and is located in Maroochydore. It has all stores you need + restaurants and a big cinema. There’s also a shopping centre in Kawana, which has many shops, a cinema and restaurants. It is 15 min away if you take the 607 bus.

9. Not far away from the plaza you’ll find Ocean street. This is the main bar and restaurant street. The student night is every Thursday, with free buses taking you back and forth to ocean street from Varsity.

10. If you wish to travel, there’s a small airport on the Sunshine Coast located only 20 min away from the University by car. There’s also Brisbane Airport, which is 1 hour away by car.

11. Open a bank account so you don’t get charged the percent extra every time you use your international card. It’s free to open a bank account, just remember to bring your passport for identification. Transferring money to your new Australian bank account may apply some fees. However, using TransferWise might be a good option as they charge minimal fees.

12. The Australian winter, June – August, can actually get pretty chilly. Remember to bring warm clothes, you will be surprised how cold it can get sometimes, even in Australia!

Thank you for reading and I hope these facts can help you if you are coming to the Sunshine Coast or considering studying in Australia!

– Frida Ommundsen

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Takumi Matsukura from Japan (GCS Group Australia) studying a Bachelor of Animal Ecology at USC Sunshine Coast

7e42e2abab224a1daa83c220d1c3b4fd.jpgHi, my name is Takumi from Japan. My agency is GCS Group Australia, and I am full time student studying a Bachelor of Animal Ecology at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).  I chose this University because, of its affordable price (compared to other countries) and it allows me to study animal ecology in beautiful Australia. It has been awesome spending time here in Australia so far and because Osaka, where I am from, is a huge city in Japan in comparison. The experiences I have had here have been the opposite to what I grew up with. I just finished my first semester at this university, and it was sometimes challenging for me to get through everything. Imagine that you study new things with your non-native language, which can obviously be difficult, but however be very fun at the same time if you are studying something that you like.

Anyway, there are good news people!

2There are many resources available for all students who are studying at USC to help support them during their studies. You can get help when you are struggling with your course work. There are many resources available such as, how to write report or essay. I have couple friends who is studying abroad and they all say that they don’t get any support from their university! USC provides a good environment for students who need academic support with things, such as grammar or how to write your assignments.

Living here requires a lot of energy. If you are city boy or girl, you are going to have a surprising life here. Most of the time, my friends and I usually go to somewhere that we can all relate to nature such as the beach, trekking, fishing or by experiencing the D9926BA3F2024E96BBED335023FB0280Australian culture by visiting music festivals, markets and stuff like that. Almost all these activities we do are outside which is a big difference from Japan. Because, in Japan we have literally everything inside of buildings. Everywhere is so beautiful in Australia! You must be creative, go outside, find your mates, explore everywhere and find wherever you love to belong!

For people who are thinking of coming to USC;

There is a beautiful and diverse environment at USC. There were challenges, but I was able to get though the first semester because of the support from my friends and the University. Do not think too much, just come to Australia if you want experience what we are experiencing right now!

If you have any questions or want to chat, you can contact me on Instagram via: Takumi Uto @murkyz_takumi

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Danielle Black from Rider University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

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Hi everyone! My name is Danielle Black and I’m from the United States studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)! I am studying Communications and Public Relations. At home, I attend Rider University in New Jersey and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Australia!

Growing up, Australia always interested me and was somewhere that I always wanted to go. When I was applying to different colleges in high school, schools with study abroad programs really stuck out to me because I knew it was something that I wanted to do. IMG_3495After a rough first semester away from home during my first year of college, I wasn’t so sure if I’d ever be able to study abroad if I couldn’t even live an hour and a half drive away from home. As the semesters went on, I grew to love Rider and felt at home there, so I soon realised that studying abroad would be possible for me!

Before coming here, I had so many mixed emotions. I was super excited for what was to come, but I was also terrified to leave home and live in a whole new culture for five months. I had no idea what to expect, and honestly, that was good for me. I didn’t come here with many expectations and once I was here, I kind of just went with the flow and kept an open mind, which led me to meet many wonderful people and see many amazing things!

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While being here so far, I have done so many memorable things that I will cherish forever. Some of them are little moments, like seeing a beautiful sunset on Mooloolaba beach with friends, spending the day in Caloundra at the markets and the beach, hiking up to the Fairy Pools in Noosa for a swim, or even heading to Sunshine Plaza for some food and shopping.

Aside from the little things, I was able to cross some pretty big things off of my bucket list while being here. I went skydiving in Byron Bay with Skydive Australia, held a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, went to the Australia Zoo and fed a kangaroo, and even went snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef! One of my favourite things I’ve done so far was a two-night boat trip around the Whitsundays Islands, which I totally recommend everyone does at least once! It was so relaxing and beautiful and I met so many new people from all over the world. Australia has so many new experiences and views to offer, there are endless opportunities all around!

Studying abroad on the Sunshine Coast is something that I truly will never forget. I am already so sad to leave this beautiful place! I have learned so much about myself and others through this process and I am forever grateful to have this opportunity. If you are considering studying abroad, DO IT!!! You will not regret it!

– Danielle Black @danielleblack

Martin Stadlmayer from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

1Hello, my name is Martin and I’m from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. I’m studying Mechanical Engineering and I will complete my bachelor next year. Why I choose Australia? Because it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We are three mates form Austria who decided to study on the University of Sunshine Coast (USC). Studying at USC is a one in a lifetime opportunity. The moment when I arrived in Australia, I felt in love with it.

Locals and Living

3The Australian people are one of the nicest and helpful people I know. Everyone wants to talk to you, we have received a lot of good advice from local people. We rented a house near the beach directly on the Mooloolaba canal, so we spent a lot of time fishing there. The location was perfect because we had just 5 mins to walk to the beach, so we had the opportunity to surf a lot. With the car we only need 10-15 mins to drive to the university.

4WD in the Glasshouse Mountains

2The Glasshouse Mountains is a perfect spot to hike, and get your 4WD stuck on the off-road tracks… First few days after we got our car, we tried the easiest off-road track. Three naive European guys who think they can handle this…. but glasshouse mountain showed us we can’t. We got stuck late in the afternoon in the middle of nowhere without a mobile phone reception and without water. Also, we had no recovery gear to get us out of the hole by ourselves. After a long time, a nice dude passed us with his motocross. He offered us his help, so he went back and got his truck to pull us out with the winch.

Double Island

4Double Island is a beautiful destination to surf and camp. You have the chance to camp directly on the beach and enjoy the sunrise from your tent. In my opinion, there is nothing better than waking up to a sunrise on the beach. There are also dolphins and whales, sometimes they swim near the beach so it’s easy to see them. There is a beautiful lighthouse on the Double Island Point from there you have an amazing view to rainbow beach and Noosa north shore.

– Martin Stadlmayer @stadii

Top 10 Photos from our International Students in 2019

In 2019, we have had a record year with over 500 photos tagged with @USC.International & #USCInternational on Instagram. Here are some of our favourites!

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@maggi95 visited the beautiful Glass House Mountains while studying at USC. Just a 20 minute drive from USC Sunshine Coast, and we assume the view was worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

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@philipppp93 took this amazing photo of a wombat when he visited Tasmania during his study break.

 

 

 

 

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@christiianaaaa went snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef during her semester break and we must say this is a pretty good photo to take away from the experience!

 

 

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Why not cuddle up with the Irwin family’s animals at Australia Zoo? Seems like this kangaroo didn’t mind the company of @haleymahony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t feel like climbing up a mountain, but would like a good view? @sophi.r0 took this amazing photo from the Glass House Mountain Lookout, located right next to the Bruce Highway.

 

 

 

 

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A place you must visit whilst studying at USC Sunshine Coast? Noosa National Park, only 35 min away from the University! @marcgrazz

 

 

 

 

 

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Surfing is a popular sport here in Australia and the Sunshine Coast is a prime spot in itself. This amazing sunrise photo was captured by @emilie_lie and @johanmarkusm whilst out paddling

 

 

 

 

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@ali_hannah2 enjoying her semester break on horseback – we would not say no to that!

 

 

 

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A very popular trip amongst our international students involves 4W driving up Fraser Island. Looks like @eggrem and his friends had a great time!

 

 

 

 

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@thomas.p.photography’s took some really spectacular photos of the stars, and our kangaroos here on campus. Not to mention, the two kangaroos playing at Cape Hillsborough

Tom Skinner from Manhattanville College in the US: What you should experience whilst studying in Australia!

IMG_0053Hey! My name is Tom Skinner and I am from South London, England and have been studying abroad here at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) from my university I attend in NY, Manhattanville College.

I want to share with you my experiences and what I would suggest doing when here in Australia.

Travel, Travel, Travel!

Weather you do this during the semester with weekends away, during the mid-semester break or after you finish; Make the most of being in this beautiful countries and near so many other Asians countries, that normally you would be so far away from. I am doing my travelling after I finish this semester, where I will travel to Sydney and Melbourne. Before finishing my time abroad, I will be meeting my friend Pablo (from my college in NY) in Bali for 10 days. I have spoken to so many people who have been to Bail and if there’s anywhere you should save your money to visit, Bali is the place!

IMG_0154I also took a weekend trip to the Gold Coast with a big group of people. The more people made it cheaper for a really nice AirBnB and we made the most of the amazing weather by spending time at Surfers paradise, a night out at the bars, followed by our first ever AFL game the following day!

Make the most out of days out too! Being on the Sunshine Coast, there are so many awesome days out you can do. From something simple as going to sunbathe at Mooloolaba Beach for the day, or going to Noosa to explore or learn to surf, you can also make a visit to Australia Zoo. Australia Zoo is of the most famous zoos in Australia due to it being the home zoo of wildlife legend Steve Irwin. The zoo had some amazing animals and shows. With opportunities to hold koalas, snakes, and even watch the famous Croc show!

Take every opportunity and speak to everyone!

C2087333-2353-4D41-BC61-4F34C3957964Everyone is in the same boat as you, so when you come out here, just speak to as many people as you can to learn as much as you can about the Uni, area etc. There’s always someone that can help you or that you can help. I have made so many amazing friends for life by speaking to everyone I can. I also got very lucky that I ended up sitting next to people on the flight into Brisbane that would become some of my best friends here. Weather you end up living at Uni Central or Varsity, everyone is so nice and there is a good mix of international students who are new like yourself or have been in your position, in addition to Australians who are always willing to help.

IMG_0034Make sure that you take every opportunity to try new things and go to new places! You never know when you will get a chance to do something like this again, so the best advice I can give is to take risks, have fun, and do as much as you can with the time you have out here.

– Tom Skinner @tom_skinner10

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

 

 

 

Sabrina Birkhofer from Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society in Germany studying a Master of International Business (Double Degree) at USC Sunshine Coast

20190721_202156Hi, my name is Sabrina Birkhofer and I am from the University of Business and Society Ludwigshafen in Germany, where I am studying a Master of International Marketing Management. Because of the recent cooperation of my home university with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) I spent my last semester in Australia studying a Double Degree Program in International Business.

The campus is located on a beautiful nature reserve where you can often find kangaroos relaxing on the grass. The staff is really friendly and always willing to support you with your studies. Besides, USC offers a modern campus and teaching facilities such as the big library. I would highly recommend participating on the orientation week before the semester starts as it helps a lot to settle down on campus and get useful information about your studies. To afford the tuition fees and get some financial support, it is advisable to apply for scholarships before coming to Australia (for German students e.g. the DAAD offers different opportunities). Moreover, two of the student accommodations, Unicentral and Varsity, are located very close to the USC campus, but there are also many other possibilities for private accommodations close to the beach.

I really enjoyed the varied sports that were offered through USC Sport and joined the USC Badminton team, where we represented USC during the one-week midterm break at the Unisport Games down in Gold Coast. It was a great experience to compete against other Australian Universities and get to know many people from all over Australia.

20191202_182107As the workload at the USC can be intense some times with assignments to write during the semester, it can be smart to plan some time before or after the semester to travel the country. Therefore, I decided already in the beginning of the semester to plan some weeks of travel after my final assignments and visit the the bigger Australian cities like Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. During weekends, the beautiful beaches in Mooloolaba and Maroochydore provide a great opportunity to recharge the batteries. Lastly, weekend trips to the Glasshouse Mountains and climbing Mount Coolum were a great experience where you can enjoy amazing views.

Here are some insider tips when you consider studying at the Sunshine Coast:

  1. Don‘t miss the amazing Australian food: Try banana bread and the Bundaberg ginger beer!
  2. Go to a place where you can hold a koala and stroke kangaroos (my best experience was the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane)
  3. Visit Fraser Island and make a stopover at awesome Noosa Beach and Rainbow beach
  4. Try surfing
  5. Travel from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road and visit the Twelve Apostles, go to the Outback and visit Uluru (if you are brave sleep in a swag and enjoy the impressive starry sky), go to Perth and for one day to Rottnest Island, where you can visit the Quokkas (cutest animals i‘ve ever seen)

All in all, it was a great semester at the Sunshine Coast with lots of new experiences and kind new people and friends. For the future students- make the most of the time there and don’t forget to travel as much as you can in this beautiful country!

20191118_125417

 

Lillian DeMarco from Rider University: 15 Tips to Make Your Study Abroad Experience at USC Sunshine Coast 100%

32DF702E-CE2E-4934-8033-AD9320B6382FHi, my name is Lillian DeMarco and I’ve been studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Semester 2, 2019 from Rider University in New Jersey, USA

There’s so many reasons why someone would choose to study abroad in Australia – the beaches, mountains, environment, diverse wildlife, laid back lifestyle, high standard of living, and great breadth of international food. But, no matter how great a place is, sometimes you need some guidance to be able to get the BEST experience, especially during your stay in Australia. Here is some advice I would give to anyone studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast for the first time:

How to make your Australian experience 100%:

*(This blog article is based on one students experience and every student has to consider their own circumstances)

1. The sooner into your degree you can study abroad, the better.

    • If you’re coming to USC as a study abroad students through a University like Rider, this is a beneficial tip because you will be able to find transferable classes more easily early on, than if you have to take upper level courses. If you can, try taking introductory level or elective courses (100 coded courses) when you’re studying abroad so you can dedicate more time to exploring and having fun!

2. Arrive earlier than necessary.

    1. img_5441.jpegUSC recommend all international students to arrive 3-4 days before Orientation week, which leaves you with a couple of days to acclimatize yourself. However, I suggest arriving earlier (as long as the housing accommodation allows you to), which will give you more time to move in, meet a few people, and get accustomed to the environment before you make your way to the university.

3. Exchange currency at the proper place.

      • DO NOT exchange your currency/cash at the airport, as they are the most expensive place to do that. For example, at the time I came, the market rate was 1.38 AUD for every 1.00 USD that I exchanged, but the rate I ended up receiving from the airport’s kiosk was only 1.17 AUD for every 1.00 USD (a total ripoff, in my opinion). I suggest going to the Sunshine Plaza or Kawana Shopping World, the closest shopping centres, and exchanging your currency at a place there. They offer rates that are more comparable to the market rate, which will likely be better.

4. Things to do/buy right away.

    • DSC01787_OriginalWhen you’re at the Sunshine Plaza or Kawana Shopping World, you need to open up a bank account, activate a cell phone service, and buy sunscreen. I suggest opening up a zero fee Suncorp bank account because they cater to students, and you are able to close it online relatively easily after you leave Australia.
    • For the phone service, Telstra is your best bet when it comes to coverage quality and overall value. Depending on the amount of money you want to spend, you can either buy a cheap prepaid phone and SIM card, or if your device is already unlocked, feel free to just buy the prepaid SIM card and top up monthly when you need more data.
    • And as for sunscreen, depending on when you arrive, it will be either be summer (Semester 1) or winter (Semester 2). Plan accordingly. If it’s summer, buy Cancer Council 50+ Ultra SPF sunscreen RIGHT away, as you can get blisters within minutes in the Australian sun. If it’s winter, definitely buy some face lotion with sunscreen in it and get 30+ SPF for the rest of your body, but there’s not as much pressure to put it on all the time.
    • You’re going to need to provide your own bed, bath, cleaning, and housing necessities (depending on where you decide to stay e.g. Varsity or UniCentral). Buy based on budget and what you need, but your best stores to go to for housing items are Big W, Kmart, and Target.

5. Plan out your time.

    • For the best use of your time, especially if you’re only staying a semester, do lots of weekend trips (Adelaide, Sydney, Fraser Island, Tangalooma, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Byron Bay, to name a few). You’re going to want to explore more of the country, so leave some time after the semester to go to Uluru (Ayers Rock), spend more time in the cities, take a bus up the East Coast, and travel to the West Coast, Bali, Fiji, and New Zealand.

6. Get a travel agent.

    • 56C1793E-AD2E-4AEB-87C9-28D32AEDF70F_OriginalIf you plan on going to a lot of places during and after the semester, GET YOURSELF A TRAVEL AGENT! They will save you SO much time and even some money when you book through them as opposed to you booking everything as a sole customer.
    • For example, I rented a car for the mid-semester break. By booking through a travel agent, I ended up getting a free upgrade, being able to put a deposit down instead of paying all at once, and saving money on unnecessary charges by buying the correct insurance for my needs based on their advice.
    • Planning takes forever to do on your own, which is why I recommend Peter Pans Adventure Travel. They’re based in Noosa, which is 40 minutes away from the University, but a representative will come to you if you do not have a car. It’s super convenient and saved me a LOT of stress throughout the semester.

7. If you can, buy a car or share one with a fellow student!

    • If you can afford it, get a cheap car (less than $2,000), or split a better one with some other international students, if possible! Either way, you won’t regret it. I really wish I got a car the first week I was here, because a car makes seeing everything you want to see a lot easier to achieve. When I rented a car for the mid-semester break, it showed me how beneficial having a car in Australia really is.

8. If you can’t get a car, get student rates on public transportation.

    • No one told me about this until it was too late, but if you are eligible, you can change your “program” to a “Diploma of General Studies” within the first four weeks of classes before the census date (20 March 2020), which makes you eligible for concession (student) rates on public transportation. Don’t worry, this won’t change the courses you’re already taking. Student rates will save you a lot of money, over 50%! For example, to get to the Sunshine Plaza, it usually costs about $3.31, but with your student card, it’ll only be about $1.66. Over time, especially if you don’t end up buying a car, the student rates are worth it!

9. Attend Orientation Week 17-21 Feb (International Orientation Day – 16 Feb 2020)

    • Orientation week is the week before classes commence. Depending on your program, there will be activities and seminars for you to attend several days between Monday – Friday. This week is especially helpful if you’re a first year university student. After the sessions, there are ample opportunities to meet new people, as many people tend to socialize at the student housing that whole week! It’s a week I highly suggest being present for.

10. Get involved at USC.

    • Join clubs and organizations as if this were your home university. It’s a great way to meet new people and enhance your skills. And you never know what kind of professional connections you can make!
    • I joined Toastmasters International and took the 5 week intensive Speechcrafters course, became a USC International Brand Ambassador (you get to go on cool trips with other international students while having an enhanced presence on social media), and was a photographer for the Sexual Violence Awareness Month throughout October. Get out there!

11. Explore the nearby towns.

    • Whether you have a car or public transportation, I recommend exploring the Sunshine Coast. A simple Google search will show you all the many places you could go. There are plenty of places conducive to all day trips or just for a few hours, with something for everyone.

12. Get a job.

    • E7653255-D592-4095-8E66-7E1A5A058875I’d definitely get a job if you’re here for longer than a semester, or at least apply for a few. The daily living and travel expenses in Australia can get to be pretty expensive, especially if you don’t have any money flowing in. Part time jobs usually require less than 20 hours of your time per week, which is manageable as a student AND they pay well (some between $20-30 an hour!).
    • Honestly, if you’re only here a semester, don’t worry about getting a job. You’ll find that it’s just too much to manage, and when several years go by after you return home, you’ll wish you spent the maximum time exploring and adventuring instead of worrying about working. If you’re really short on money, try to limit the amount of times you go out to eat at restaurants, and focus on spending your time doing free or low-cost activities like hiking or going to the beach.

13. Go out of your comfort zone.

    • There will DEFINITELY be things in Australia that you will want to do, but your feeling of fear might hold you back. DON’T let it hold you back! Some scary things yet life changing things that you might want to do are skydiving, ziplining, surfing, touching a cheetah, parasailing, cliff jumping, scuba diving, snorkeling, and mountain climbing. You WON’T regret putting in the effort to live your best life, trust me!

14. Try a social media detox.

    • While I wasn’t able to do this during the semester because of my responsibilities at my home university and connections with my boyfriend and best friends at home, I definitely recommend taking a break from or limiting social media and screen time at least for a few days during your time in Australia. It can be very mentally beneficial to relax and not worry about what other people are doing, because it’s so hard NOT to compare yourself when you browse social media! Take the time and live in the moment to best enjoy YOUR experiences. Own your time!

15. End your lease on time.

    • Students that live in the accommodations near campus usually end their leases a few weeks after the semester ends. If you know you’re traveling, (which you will be) end the lease as SOON as possible! Don’t make the mistake of extending it, thinking you’ll be around to hang out and have somewhere to put your stuff that you won’t take with you on your post-semester adventures! (Hint: you will be traveling, and you won’t need your room.) Do this in an effort to avoid paying for weeks you might not even be around to enjoy having your own room, anyways.

Thanks for reading, and I hope these tips help make your stay in Australia as an international student that much more exciting!

– Lillian DeMarco @lil_dem  & @Ildphotos

 

Michaelah Reynolds from Montclair State University in the US studying at USC Sunshine Coast

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 7.29.29 pmHello, my name is Michaelah Reynolds and I am from Montclair State University in the US. This semester, I’ve been doing a Study Abroad semester here at USC Sunshine Coast. During the 6 months that I’ve been here, I’ve been studying Communication subjects.

My study abroad experience has been one of the most amazing things I could have ever done. Being a bit of a shy person, this helps you grow as a person and step way out of your comfort zone. You will learn so much about yourself in the first two months, leaving you feeling more confident and independent towards the end. My advice for other students wanting to study abroad is, just do it, and don’t be scared. If your friends don’t want to go abroad alone, they should know that everyone is looking for friends, and you will find so many new friends the first week of Orientation. Go up to random people ask to be there friend – trust me, it works! Furthermore, when your mom wants to teach you how to cook at home before you go abroad, take her advice so you can feel at home when your cooking overseas. If you’re shy, I can assure you that after studying abroad, that shyness will go away and you will learn so much about yourself in the few months that you spent here. 

Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 7.29.45 pmA few places that I’ve explored during my studying abroad experience is Byron Bay. This place is a must go, and you just have to make time to explore it, and try to travel there more than once. Also, a place that is absolutely one of my favourite places is the beach up at Noosa Heads. I’ve been going to this beach almost every weekend and by far the best beach I’ve ever seen.

I think the thing I will miss the most is the people. The people here are so positive and so supporting, as everyone has the same mindset in terms of how much they want to travel and see the world. I will miss the weather, as this “Australian winter weather” is like a summer day in comparison to the states. I will miss going on a new adventure every weekend because there is just so much to see and it just keeps on getting better. It’s hard to say how much I will miss this place, but being away from US, I know that I would like to call Australia home one day. In addition, there are so many things to do on the Sunny Coast. The beaches are the best thing to do on the weekends as there are soo many of them. Wake up and see the sunset, and stay at the beach until sunset, you won’t regret – it’s amazing. Lastly, the hiking is also amazing as there is always somewhere to go if you like the outdoors. I will miss this place with my whole heart but I know it won’t be long till I come back.

– Michaelah Reynolds @mic.reynolds

Hein van Eeden from South Africa studying a Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Recreation & Outdoor Environmental Science at USC Sunshine Coast

SydneyHi, I am Hein van Eeden from South Africa. I started my Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies on the 22nd of February 2019 and will finish my degree at the end of 2022.

I have been at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) for 7 months and have had so many positive experiences. USC staff and students on campus are always there to help. The quality of education that I have received at USC up until now is certainly of the highest standard. I have been exposed to many different cultures around campus as USC is a renowned University for students all over the world. The University offers many sports, both competitive and social for those who just want to enjoy the activity. The University is built on a nature reserve spanning 100 hectares, with many different species of animals that can be spotted around campus. There are many different cafés and eateries on campus, each one offering a different experience.

Public transport is easily accessible from the USC campus and makes it easy to explore astonishing places on offer on the Sunshine Coast. One of my favourite places, Mooloolaba has some of the best beaches and a great nightlife, and certainly a great place to watch the sunset. The internationally renowned, Noosa, is 40 minutes north of campus. It has beautiful scenic places and amazing wildlife. There are many surf competitions all year round which makes Noosa the place to be. Interstate travel makes it easy to explore the diversity of the vast country and to experience the different scenery, communities, and cultures. Travelling in Australia never has a dull moment because the locals are friendly, and they are always keen to share their knowledge on the area.

My experience at USC has certainly been enjoyable and I would encourage students to study at USC as they will not regret it.

– Hein Van Eeden @heinve