Gurleen Kaur studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) at USC

My name is Gurleen Kaur and I am from India. My program of study is the Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). I chose to study at USC because the university welcomes students from all around the world and has a lot of diversity, which makes it a likely option for every person to be accepted in a diverse environment.

Studying at USC

Studying at USC has been a fun and delightful experience. I enjoyed my course of study thoroughly. All the staff and teachers were supportive, and I made a few friends as well which have become a part of my life. USC helped me understand the career I want to pursue through my degree. It showed me the way of doing so, and the course structure was simple and divided into parts from basic to more experienced knowledge. My overall impression of the program is great as it has given me an experience of a lifetime.

Living in Australia

Living in Australia has been a good experience for me overall. I learned from each day living here by myself. I can cherish the memories that I made throughout these three years, and I have been living in a share house since I came here. I have had to travel to USC through bus and I will never forget those days of travelling with airpods in my ears and listening music on my way to study. Attending classes is a mandatory thing (for some courses) in order to pass with good marks, so that would be my tip for future students.

Animal Conservation, Biodiversity and Human Interactions: Bachelor of Animal Ecology

With USC’s Animal Ecology program, you get to study animals and discover how they relate to each other and their environment.

Do you want to learn about how animals are impacted by the environment and human interaction and what we can do to protect their future? In this program, you get to develop your analytical and research skills to better understand how to conserve and manage animals. USC’s Bachelor of Animal Ecology program will build your knowledge of animal conservation, biodiversity and animal behaviour.

What will you learn during this degree?

In this program, hands-on experience starts in your first year with fieldwork to North Stradbroke Island and your local region. During the program, you’ll work with leading researchers on field trips and in the laboratory, thus delivering work-ready graduates who are able to blend concepts gleaned from the global literature with personal experience of a diversity of regional habitats and fauna.

In your final year you can also further develop your research skills in a specialised area by undertaking a guided research project in Animal Ecology, working as an intern animal ecologist as part of your studies, or taking advantage of opportunities to travel abroad.

As an animal ecologist, your career paths include natural resource and environmental protection agencies, private environmental consultancies and research institutes. Many animal ecologists also pursue opportunities outside the science and health sectors in business, finance, education and sales.

What are some of the career opportunities after finishing your studies at USC?

Career opportunities will be available across a range of areas both in Australia and internationally, including:

  • animal ecology specialists in private environmental consulting researchers
  • research assistants and managers in Government and non-governmental agencies
  • rangers and managers in wildlife management and conservation organisations
  • practitioners in environmental monitoring and management
  • collectors and curators in museums
  • environmental educators
  • specialist ecotourism guides; and
  • researchers and lecturers at universities

Find out more about the Bachelor of Animal Ecology program by reading the testimonials from our international students:

Nathalie Lundin: Third Year Bachelor of Business (Marketing) student at USC Sunshine Coast

Read Nathalie’s first blog here which was published in November 2019, when she had just commenced her 2nd year of study.

Hello, this is Nathalie Lundin! I’m from Stockholm, Sweden and moved to the Sunshine Coast to study a 3-year Bachelor of Business (Marketing) degree, and later added a minor in Fashion Studies. I knew I wanted to study abroad all my life but never really thought of Australia. A random day in January 2018, It came to me, of course I should study in Australia?! I had a look around the internet and fell in love with USC at first glance. Sunshine Coast sounded extremely appealing and after viewing some pictures I made my decision: I was going to Australia.

About USC

Studying Business at USC has been absolutely amazing, I’ve learned so much, gotten to know amazing people at a beautiful campus, all while feeling like I’m on vacation. I can study on the beach, take a hike when I need a break or enjoy my coffee by the pool. The campus also has a really good atmosphere, meeting students within and outside of my own field. The tutors and lecturers has been very helpful. Even during COVID-19, the online materials helped us get through easily.  I’ve learned so much about the business field, gotten a huge perspective and gained knowledge for a solid base to start my career in business. I feel confident in the marketing field, and I’m now also confident in exactly what I want to do.

Before coming here I knew I wanted to get in to the business field but nothing more than that. Now, I know I love to create content, I’m good at analysing fashion and business trends and I have the qualifications I need to get a foot inside the industry. I know my strengths, weaknesses, and how to keep developing as a future fashion marketer.  The course structure has been very helpful, starting off with first years courses that really introduced me to the basics within business and writing reports. In the end, I knew exactly how to write a report, I can reference ideas across different courses, and I understand the connections between different fields in business. All courses has been a piece of the whole puzzle which I can now feel is coming together. 

Living on the Sunshine Coast

Australia has been better than I ever expected and I’ve gotten to see many places, lived close to the beach, and simply went from grey and cold Sweden to summer all year round. My Instagram followers from back home has been jealous to say the least.  During my first year I lived at Varsity Student Accommodation which was the best start ever! I came here not knowing a single soul but after just a few days in, I knew I had found the right place. I chose to live closer to the volleyball courts at Varsity and I’ve gained friends and memories for life. I’ve experienced crazy, funny, and very interesting moments for sure.

I’m so happy I didn’t miss out on this!  I’ve been in Melbourne, Sydney, and a lot in Brisbane, I’ve skydived in Noosa, visited many different beaches, mountains and lookouts! Australia has so much to offer and I recommend to see as much as you can. Just living 10 minutes from Buderim Waterfalls and Australia Zoo feels too good to be true! Here is everything you feel like, everything from adventures like go-card, tree top climbing and hiking, to a calm day at the beach or a nice cocktail at the local beach bars. 

Tip to future students wanting to study abroad?

My tip is to go by the saying of NIKE; Just do it! You will never regret an adventure, and if it’s not for you, nothing forces you to stay either. Take this opportunity if you can. I will cherish these three years forever, and I know I would have regretted it my whole life if I would have ended up not doing it!

Help Create Healthier Lives: Bachelor of Health Science

Do you want to help shape the future of health?

In USC’s Bachelor of Health Science degree, you’ll learn about the current and future health issues facing communities, both locally and globally. You’ll also develop the practical skills you need to improve population health and wellbeing through your choice of one of five extended majors, including;

In this program you will gain a strong foundation in health science, in addition to understanding the current and future health needs of the community which you live in. You will develop the problem-solving skills you need to help tackle health issues, and not to mention gain workplace experience in your area of specialisation.

What are some of the career opportunities after finishing your studies at USC?

After completing your studies at USC, the Bachelor of Health Science can open up many doors in terms of possible career pathways, including but not limited to working as a/in:

  • Health promotion officer
  • Environmental health officer
  • Clinical prosthetist and/or orthotist
  • Health policy development
  • Project development and management
  • Health communication specialist
  • Technician

Find out more about the Bachelor of Health Science program by reading the international student testimonial from Noelle Ollerton:

Kristine Brevik Kvalnes from Norway studying a Bachelor in Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management) at USC Sunshine Coast

My name is Kristine and I am from Norway. I just started my third year in the Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management) degree. I applied to USC through Kilroy which made thing a lot easier. They can help you with pretty much anything. I had wanted to go back to Queensland since 2015 when I went to Australia for the first time, doing volunteer work with animals in Port Douglas. USC was the first university that caught my eye and I applied pretty much straight away.

Studying at USC has been great so far. All of my teachers are very helpful and want me to do well. USC has many international student so everyone is very understanding when it comes to different cultures and people not having English as their first language and all of that.

The Environment is very welcoming. It’s very easy to make friends. I moved here all by myself and that was no problem. What I like with my degree is that there is so many courses to choose from. I specifically liked the sustainable tourism courses. Not all universities focus on sustainability as much as USC and I really like that.

I have spent a lot of time travelling since I moved here. Travelling a lot was pretty much my biggest goal when I moved here. I’ve pretty much been all over Queensland. I’ve been to Victoria and New South Whales. I’ve also been to New Zealand and several countries in South east Asia. I had planned to do more but unfortunately as many others I had to postpone my plans because of Covid19.

Queensland is diffidently not the worst place to be stuck because of a global pandemic. There are tons of beaches to explore. You can go to Brisbane or the Gold Coast. You can go on a road trip up to Cairns where you can find Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, Daintree rainforest and so many other amazing places.

If I could do it all again I would have packed with me way less things when I left home. USC is close to both Sunshine plaza and Kawana Shopping World so there is really no need to bring to much. I would also had packed with me more warm sweaters and less bikinis, haha. When you have lived in Australia for a while you get surprisingly used to the climate. Suddenly you don’t find 20 degrees very warm anymore and you start wearing more clothes.

Student accommodations are a great way to get to know people. I lived at UniCentral for my first year than I moved to a private place. That is what works best and what most people do I think. During Covid19 I moved closer to the beach since classes was moved online and there was a lot less to do in Sippy downs at the time.

Jeena Weber Langstaff from Goucher College in the US studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

Hey guys, my name is Jeena Weber Langstaff. I am studying to get Bachelor of Art degree from Goucher College located in Baltimore Maryland in the USA. My major is business management with a concentration of international business and minors in Spanish and psychology.

I first heard about the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) from my college. Goucher College has a partnership with USC. In the beginning of September and October with a lot of help from the Assistant Director of Global Education, Mark Bladel, multiple forms were submitted at a timely fashion. Firstly, was choosing the place in which I wanted to study. I have always wanted to go to Australia, since my father grew up in Papua New Guinea and went to school in Brisbane for 13 years. I knew I wanted to study in Australia, and I wanted a school that could help with both my business major and my psychology minor. I then had to fill out applications on timing of leaving, what courses to take, and getting the approval on every end from my major and from USC. Then I had to apply for an Australian visa. After that, time went by quickly, and before I knew it, I had finished a long flight and had arrived in Australia!

The teaching style in Australia is very different from that of Goucher College. We would call it a reverse classroom teaching style in which the students learn the material on their own and then do workshops and group work in class. Goucher also does not have a second one-hour class for doing the workshop or for the discussion. As well as, we do not have one subject only once a week. Goucher has each subject in one class over multiple times during the week, and the learning is taught and done by the professor. All group projects are done outside of class and are expected to find times to meet on their own.

After I had to return early from USC, I had time on my hands to start new things. I learned how to cook a few meals. I have gotten really into making Rice Kimchi Bowls, it is my favourite dish to make. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes having a blend of rice with both spicy, vegetables and different tastes coming together to compliment one another.

I created my own blog website. One day, I wanted to find a way to express the way I feel, so I created a blog website about adulthood. If you’re interest in it, you can check it out through my instagram jeena_life777. I wanted to explore the ways to navigate and maneuver oneself from childhood to adulthood. To write about what that means and what it looks like from my own personal experience. I’ve created different topics for my blog, and plan to explore them all. Currently, I’ve been introducing the various topics, and hopefully soon, I can start writing each week different things that I am passionate about and have affected me personally.

As well as, to further enhance my understanding of business, I have been part of a Rhode Island organization that helps refugees plant themselves and get rooted into Providence by hiring them and giving them support with the resources they need. This organization is called Beautiful Day, and they sell granola in all different flavors, and additionally fair-trade coffee and granola bars. Due to COVID, it has been a remote internship, however I really enjoyed working with them, and understanding better how small businesses work.

Currently, I have restarted school. It is my first week. I am still figuring out how my schedule will be like, being all online again. As well as, starting to plan and create online programs for the Garam Gophers Bollywood Fusion Team and the South Asian Student Association (SASA). I wish everyone best of luck and to stay safe this year during the challenges life brings our way.

Peace, Love and Staying Safe,

Jeena

Tim Halberstadt from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Germany studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG-20200220-WA0030G’day everyone! My name is Tim Halberstadt, I am from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Sankt Augustin, Germany and was able to achieve the Business Diploma at USC during my stay in Australia.

I initially heard about USC from a friend who spent a year in Australia. Luckily, the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is a partner university of my home institution, and thus, the application process was less complex. After I chose USC as my preferred place of study, I had to hand in a motivation letter, as well as an application form. I didn’t have to contact USC directly, instead, all the communication was fulfilled through intermediaries at my university, which made the whole process easier. Furthermore, my university did a good job at informing me about possible scholarships. After my application was accepted, I needed to choose a professor as my contact person at home and the courses that interested me the most.

Since I wanted to achieve the Diploma of Business, all the courses I was able to choose were business-related. To deepen my knowledge in finance, I chose “Business Finance” as my first course. As a second course, I selected “The World of Tourism, Leisure and Events” to gain insight into the tourism branch, which is not taught at my home university. Thirdly, I chose “Consumer Behaviour”, since I have always been interested in the consumer’s psyche, and lastly “Igniting Entrepreneurial Talent”, because starting my own company is something I have been thinking about for a while now. In general, I have a good impression of all the courses I was able to attend during my stay. While I feel like Germany is more conservative to a certain degree, the Australian way of teaching felt fresh and innovative. A good example is the ability to attend courses online, blackboard with its helpful features like the discussion board, or regular Kahoot sessions during lectures. In general, organising felt more convenient. Especially after the COVID-19 breakout, being able to continue studies online, as well as being able to perform online exams became a beneficial aspect. In general, it was a huge upside that the needed infrastructure was already in place to study online at USC.

Luckily, before borders closed and restrictions were put in place, I was nevertheless able to experience exciting trips in Australia. First, shortly after my arrival in Australia, I spent a couple of days in Sydney and was able to discover it’s various beaches, the blue mountains surrounding Sydney and the city itself. In the blue mountains, I could see the immediate impact of the Australian bush fires with my own eyes and experience how fast nature is able to recover. Secondly, I spent a weekend at Byron Bay which is a small, lovely town on the western shore. At Byron Bay, I joined a walk to the town’s lighthouse and was able to try surfing for the first, but definitely not the last time. Lastly, I was able to travel to Fraser Island for a three -day camping trip. On the island, we were able to freely move with a Pick-Up truck we rented before our trip. The trip to Fraser Island was one of the most exciting things I have ever done in my life. The experiences ranged from close encounters with various animals like Dingos and lizards, swimming in one of the islands heavenly lakes, to experiencing what freedom feels like while driving a car at the beach. To put it in a nutshell, I highly recommend all the trips I have undergone to anyone who is slightly interested, especially a trip to Fraser Island.

After restrictions were put in place and uncertainty concerning COVID-19 began to spread, it became a lot harder to travel and after a lot of thinking I decided to return to Germany earlier than originally intended. Even though I had to return, I was able to finish my semester abroad online from Germany, which is kind of ironic. Luckily, COVID-19 and the shift in time didn’t turn out as problematic as I was expecting. USC made learning abroad possible since most of the lessons were recorded and the professors were kind and understanding.

All in all, even though I was a victim of bad timing, I nevertheless enjoyed my short stay in Australia and would highly encourage everyone to engage in a similar adventure.

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Amanda Zablonski from SUNY Fredonia in the US studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

Amanda ZablonskiIMG_9076

Studying a Diploma in General Studies

From SUNY Fredonia in Fredonia, New York, US

My school at Fredonia made the application process extremely easy to complete. The international office was available for any questions I had and also gave great tips for my semester abroad. Mrs. Willis was fantastic and even held a great informational pre-departure lunch with parents and other students.

Studying at USC was very different than studying back home. The main difference was only having lecture one day a week at USC compared to 2 or 3 back home. I actually really enjoyed the format at USC and found it to be an easy adjustment. Studying abroad in Australia was a great decision for me because I enjoyed the weather and being able to study and complete assignments outside all over campus. It was a nice change to the snow and freezing temperatures back at home.

My tip for future students studying abroad would to jump right into things when you get there. I found myself very nervous and anxious when I first arrived but made friends and booked little weekend and day trips within the first couple days. Most of them were through Student Guild which were all very nice. I’m so fortunate that I jumped right in and started to explore right away. My time in Australia was cut short due to Covid-19 and although I left 12 weeks earlier than I planned, I am so fortunate to have experienced what I did. In my short time, I tried many new foods, visited beautiful places, and met many new people. If I didn’t jump right in when I got there, I’m not sure I would’ve seen half the things I did in the short time. Life can throw totally unexpected things your way, so jump in as quick as you can because these experiences will change your life no matter how short or long. I hope to one day return to Australia and continue my adventure but for now I reminisce on the beautiful landscape, friendly people, and unforgettable memories.

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

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

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

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

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

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Jesse Weippert from DHBW Mosbach studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

a9862114-a0fe-4fe9-b9ab-e07947b2a827Cheers mates,

My name is Jesse Weippert, I am from Germany and I was studying a Diploma in Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) for one semester. Probably not the best time to come over to Australia due to COVID-19, nevertheless it was a great experience studying overseas and an enjoyable lock-down as well.

Back in Germany I am studying a dual system, which includes an iteration of studying three months and working three months. Within three years, I will finish my degree and will have a high chance of retaining at the company I am currently working for. Part of this dual system is a semester abroad, which was supported from my company. The decision-making process of applying at USC was easy, since Australia has always attracted me very much and I wanted to improve my English. The application process was easy doing as well. The biggest hurdle was the payment of the semester fees, which, however, were financially supported by my company and for which I received a discount from my university. So, I only had to fill out the application form, show my academic transcript and show my English B2 level. By completing these forms, I got a lot of support from my home university and USC. The last step was then to select my courses for the semester. In order to complete a diploma, four courses are required, which I have arranged in consultation with my course director at my home university. However, I have to note here that I would have had to take more courses during my regular semester at home, so I have to retake exams after my semester abroad.

img_7698I arrived in Australia end of January prior to governments restrictions. I started doing a road trip at the west coast of Australia for four weeks, which I can highly recommend. After my road trip I headed to the Sunshine Coast to start the semester. At the beginning of the semester I had many plans to use my long weekends every week, and I wanted to see as much of Australia as possible. Due to my choice of courses I had no lectures from Friday to Monday evening, which would have been perfect for weekend trips. So, the first weeks before the lock-down, I was in Noosa, Byron Bay and Sydney. In retrospect, it must be said that the time in the lock-down was probably nowhere in the world faster than in Australia on the Sunshine Coast. The beach in Mooloolaba was still passable despite the lock-down, so I used the free time for surfing. I learned to dive and the connection within the student accommodation in Varsity became stronger. You got to know many new people, even if a large part flew back to their home countries at the beginning of the crisis.

All in all, I had a great time at the USC and I am proud to be a part of the USCi Brand Ambassador program.

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Marta Cholewa from Grand Valley State University in the US studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_0108Hello! My name is Marta Cholewa and at USC I studied General Studies but at my home university, I major in Exercise Science. My home university is Grand Valley State University which is near Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I am originally from Palatine, Illinois which is close to Chicago. I have been wanting to study abroad ever since I heard all my sister’s study abroad experiences and travel stories.

The decision to study at USC was an easy one because I knew I always wanted to go to Australia and I did not have to stress about not knowing the language. Grand Valley State University helped me throughout my process as there was so many people to talk to if I had questions or concerns. I did a lot of the planning myself since I am a big planner, but I was able to get all my questions answered about my specific country and school by talking to a previous student who studied at USC. There were plenty of meetings to attend that gave advice about safety, adapting to culture, education, and travelling. My school definitely helped me feel prepared for my journey.

All the classes I took fulfilled my general education requirements, and it was really interesting to see how differently they teach subjects that I have taken in high school. The most fascinating class I took and the class I learned the most in was the History of Australia, which consisted of engaging discussions and it opened my eyes to a lot of the topics the country faced that I did not know about. The most creative class I took was Topics of Design. I am not the most artistic person, but that class allowed to get out of my comfort zone just enough to have fun with what I was doing. It was also an opportunity to learn about the popular designs, brands, and advertisements in Australia what may not be well-known in the states. The most thought-provoking class I took was An English Tradition. Not only is English difficult for me in general but trying to write a paper in ways that are very different than how I was taught to write is difficult. Nonetheless, I learned some new ideas and read some great material by new authors.

The most entertaining class I took was Coastal and Marine Ecology because my professor was an engaging individual who liked to crack jokes and tell us about his experiences. This class I took randomly because I thought it would interest me and I was right. Classes are much more hands-on and interpersonal than back at home. The professors genuinely try to get to know you and are very engaging in group work. The building itself made me feel like I was at an outdoor mall and the kangaroos hopping around are something I never got tired of seeing. I was also fortunate enough to travel before school and before quarantine and have seen very beautiful, memorable places. I was able to travel to the north of Australia near Cairns. My friend and I rented a car, which was a thrilling experience getting used to driving on the other side of the road and getting used to new rules, while we drove around the Atherton Tablelands and ended up at the Daintree Rainforest. I have seen stunning waterfalls, cute animals, and even had the chance to snorkel and scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef.

After school started, I was still able to visit the Steve Irwin Zoo and the Gold Coast where I tried surfing. If I had to pick a favourite spot, I would choose the Daintree Rainforest area because I loved the jungle feeling, after I got used to the giant spiders of course. The moment I will never forget is looking up at the stars on the beach because it was the most amazing thing I saw. I could see the whole milky way and it was because the rain forest area has very few lights and service in general, so I was able to live away from my phone. An amazing experience that was cut too short. I strongly recommend and urge everyone to take a trip to Australia because it is a beautiful country filled with amazing nature, people, food, culture, and animals. Hopefully I have the chance to go back one day.

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Bekira Rabinowitz from Canisius College in the US studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

6Hello! My name is Bekira Rabinowitz and I’m a senior at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York studying Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation. Even before I started my college journey, I knew I wanted to study abroad in Australia. This semester I was finally able to live that dream at the University of the Sunshine Coast!

One of the main reasons I was drawn to Australia was their wonderful, endemic wildlife! I have always had a passion for animals and would love to work with them after I finish my degree. I have worked and travelled from different zoos and animal sanctuaries all across the United States and familiarized myself with animals from all over the world. Now, I was given the chance to see some of these animals in their natural habitat and I was not disappointed!

I live in Chicago and we were in the middle of winter before I left for my journey down under. I had a bit of trouble adjusting from snow to summer, but the adjustment period was faster than I expected! On my first day arriving in Australia, I heard the call of the kooky kookaburra welcoming me into my new home for the next five months. I was overwhelmed with the beautiful palm trees and bottlebrushes, as well as the water dragons everywhere! I instantly felt relaxed as the ocean breeze rushed past.

I felt even more comfortable when I arrived at my accommodation and was invited to the pool on my first day. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly and I met some of my best friends on that first day! I quickly became familiar with the campus and surrounding areas. Almost every single time I was on campus, I was greeted by the fuzzy faces of eastern grey kangaroos and their joeys, the colourful parade of the rainbow lorikeets, and so many other beautiful birds! It was overwhelming how many magnificent creatures I could see in my own backyard.

I was ecstatic at the prospect of seeing even more Australian animals, so I set my sights on the Australia Zoo! It was so easy to get around the Sunshine Coast with the help of my go card and the helpful locals. The zoo went above and beyond my expectations with their extensive animal collection as well as staff that was abundantly passionate about what they do. I got to see dingoes, saltwater crocodiles, and Tasmanian devils, but the real connection came when I was able to meet some Australian animals! I got to meet koalas, echidnas, cockatoos, red and grey kangaroos, wallabies, and even some pythons! It was by far one of the best experiences I’ve had.

Even though the semester was not what I had expected, in terms of the world pandemic, I was still able to enjoy my semester and learn so much! I was able to appreciate all that the Sunshine Coast had to offer and I know someday I’ll be back. This whole experience assured me that I am on the right path in life and for that I am extremely grateful. If you are wondering about taking the leap and journeying across the world, do it! It will be an unforgettable time!

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Alice Carlqvist from Kilroy Sweden studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries: 10 Favourite Cafés on the Coast

Optional 6My name is Alice and I’m from Sweden. I’ve been at USC for 2.5 years, studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries, with a major in Creative Writing and minor in Visual Communication. These past years have been incredibly fun and adventurous.

Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to explore Australia from. So far, I’ve been to Cairns, Airlie Beach, Fraser Island, Sydney, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, around New Zealand and many more places. I’ve tried surfing, sky diving, scuba diving, snorkelling, done the Tough Mudder race, and this winter, I might even have a go at the water jet pack.

Other than travelling, one of my greatest passions is food. The Sunshine Coast has no shortage of great cafés and restaurants. Here are some of my favourite cafés on the coast:

  1. The Nines: the perfect place to brunch, there’s something for everyone on this menu. Be sure to try one of the freak shakes, they are insane!
  2. The Velo Project: beautiful, sustainable and incredibly yummy food and coffee.
  3. Ninth Street: the perfect place to get extreme waffles and pancakes.
  4. Acai Brothers: the best acai bowls on the coast.
  5. Decisions: a mixture of healthy and unhealthy food – that’s why they are called Decisions. The menu has gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, so there is something for everyone here.
  6. Lil Canteen: the menu is continually updated and incredibly trendy.
  7. Elliot’s Fine Food Bistro: fantastic coffee and filling food.
  8. Milk and Beans Coffee House: cosy and close to the beach. Great burgers.
  9. Glass Coffee House & Wine Bar: atmospheric interior with a killer menu.
  10. Tome: cakes, rolls and cupcakes so pretty you don’t want to actually eat them.

Hot tip: if you follow these places on Instagram, they often post discounts and deals.

Hope this helps you navigate your stay at the coast. If you want to get more tips you can follow me on Instagram @fridaychild. Thanks for reading!

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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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Cassandra Kull from Canisius College in the US studying a Diploma in Outdoor Environmental Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_9228Cassandra Kull studying a Diploma in Outdoor Environmental Studies, from New York, USA.

How was the application process?

The majority of my application process was completed with help from my home institution (Canisius College). There is a lot of paperwork that needs to be completed before you are able to go abroad, but it was broken down into steps that made it more manageable. It is crucial that you stay on top of the due dates for visas, health paperwork, rooming forms, course forms etc, this will make the process less stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your home uni and get in touch with others that are planning on going abroad. It was nice to have other students to help work through the visa process and make sure you don’t fall behind in the process as a whole.

How is studying at USC different from back home?

I did the Diploma in Outdoor Environmental Studies program so all of my courses were required and picked for me. This is a great program for those looking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors of Australia and get hands on experience. Studying at USC was very different from my home uni, as USC allowed me to get out of the classroom and learn about the environment while I was in the environment. It was refreshing to take courses that you are not just trapped in a classroom staring at a monitor learning about what you will be doing in the future. Instead, USC immerses you in the experience and teaches you the practical skills required to be successful in your field. The universities in the USA concentrate more on learning the material and testing on it, focusing more on test scores rather than gaining exposure to real world experiences. USC teaches you the theory in the classroom and then takes the extra step to reinforce your learning with hands-on experience.

I ended up going back to the US so I never went on any post isolation trips. However,  before the coronavirus hit, I was able to go to the Australia Zoo- which I highly recommend. As well as Buderim falls, which was amazing and close enough to campus to take public transportation. The Sunshine Plaza was amazing for shopping and any of the
surrounding beaches are to die for.

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