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.

New Project

Samantha Zagurski from SUNY Fredonia in the US studying at USC Sunshine Coast

2My name is Samantha Zagurski I am from West Leyden, New York. I study International Public Relations at SUNY Fredonia College. I was given the opportunity to become an International student for one semester here at USC Sunshine Coast for my third year of uni (college).

I never wanted to study abroad somewhere close to home, so naturally I went all across the world. I have always wanted to travel to Australia since I was a little kid, now I am finally living my dream and I am loving every minute of it. Do not get me wrong, the 31 hour plane ride and travelling all the way across the world was a little nerve racking, but it has all been more than worth the long journey. Sunshine Coast has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and I can vouch for that! In addition, the relaxed atmosphere on the Sunny Coast is unlike anywhere else in the world.

5Top 5 Places I have visited so far in Australia:

  1. Mooloolaba Beach
  2. Noosa Heads (Especially the Fairy Pools)
  3. Hinterland Park
  4. Australia Zoo
  5. Eumundi Markets


Top 5 Tips for studying at USC:

  1. 4Make sure you save money because you WILL spend more than you think. You do not want to be limited to what you are able to experience based on money. Social activities can become pricey, so start saving!
  2. 1Come open minded: you are going to meet people from all around the world, not just Australia. I now have friends from all over just because of studying here at USC and I am forever thankful.
  3. Likely, you will be living with other people either at UniCentral or Varsity. This is a great way for you to make friends as well. Do not lock yourself in your room, hangout in the living room and do not be afraid to go outside your comfort zone.
  4. 6Make sure you carve out time in all of the excitement for rest. You can easily get sick or tired from not resting enough, especially when exploring another country, talking from my own personal experience. It feels almost like a rite of passage for international students.
  5. If you get the chance to visit other places in Australia, do so! Take advantage of not only being in Australia, but being on this side of the world. Countries like New Zealand and Indonesia are only a single plane ride away.

3There is lots of time for you to travel, so take advantage of it! I only have classes three days a week, so that means I have four-day weekends every week. It gives me lots of time to stay caught up on my world, along with being able to travel. During mid-semester break, I am going to New Zealand for 11 days. There will not be another time in my life that I will be this close to New Zealand and I am so excited! I am going to Queenstown, located on the South Island with my friend from Germany. Studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life, and if you get the opportunity, take it!

–  Samantha Zagurski



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

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

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

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

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

Ever seen Easy A?

Walmart is the best place ever!

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

And squirrels are EVERYWHERE!

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

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

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

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

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

Ashleigh in New York!

My experience so far studying abroad through the Study Overseas program has been indescribable, but I will try to paint a picture. After a 36-hour journey, I arrived at Buffalo international airport around 9pm, my fatigue slowly turning back into a bubbling excitement. I had finally made my dreams come true, I was now in America! I waited in line to collect my bags, and waited, and waited, and then I realised I was the last one standing around the luggage collection. My bags had not been put on the plane from my previous connecting flight. This is a perfect example of the student travel experience; something is nearly always bound to go wrong or will be out of your control. But I am grateful for incidents like this, travelling across the world alone has given me so much more experience, interesting stories to tell friends, and has made me a more generally confident and independent person.

It was snowing outside the airport, and I had never seen proper snow before. I took one step outside and then quickly ran back in. Another thing you cannot prepare for; winter in Buffalo. Absolutely freezing! Think negative 20 degrees Celsius freezing! The cold doesn’t stop you from wanting to dive head first into a pile of fresh clean snow though. Once my taxi arrived, I was finally safe and sound in my motel room for my first night in Buffalo, without any pyjamas, toiletries or winter clothing which were in my lost luggage!

The next morning, I was greeted by Katrina and Mary from the State University of New York (SUNY Fredonia) International students office, and they were so welcoming and friendly, and reassured me my bags would be delivered to the university for me. With such a warm greeting I felt instantly cared for and almost ‘at home’. I was introduced to other international students from Korea, Brazil and Russia, and am now really good friends with the Russian exchange student, Maria. The SUNY Fredonia Global Student Ambassadors were so helpful and friendly during my first week at college; I’ve stayed friends with all of them as well.

I’m now halfway through my semester of studying Journalism at SUNY Fredonia, and once you get past the cold and snow, it really is an amazing university with so many student-orientated activities and groups to be a part of. The culture here is certainly different from the Sunshine Coast, but it’s exciting to experience something completely new. Everyone has been so interested to hear about Australia and the major culture differences, especially my teachers! If you would like to read more about my experiences studying abroad, and helpful travel tips, please visit my blog:

And for those of you wondering, yes, my bags did eventually turn up!