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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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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Stephanie Jessiman from Rider University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

5Australia has marked the start of my new life. This may sound a little cheesy, but this is coming from someone who has never left her home country by herself, let alone leaving her state by herself. My name is Stephanie, and I am from New Jersey, where you don’t really have to leave the state to find anything you need.

Upon reading myself to leave for the planned 5 month semester abroad, my home institution eased any and of all my worries, no matter how drastically preposterous they were. Once I arrived in Australia, I immediately met so many great people from all corners of the world, everyone was so kind and so friendly. I guess because all of us were thinking and feeling the same way. I would definitely say the first 6 weeks at the University were some of the best, not to say the second half was not as good, corona hit the world pretty badly. USC was very quick to respond to the issues on hand and tried to help each and every single one of its students. I do not think I would be able to make it through the semester if I were still at my home state to be honest. Australia has so many incredible views, beautiful hikes, luscious beaches, that when the stress of everything got too much to handle, a simple mind getaway was not too far to reach.

Towards the end of the semester, my friends and I were fortunate enough to go away on a road trip up to Cairns, and I honestly think that is the most fun I have ever had in my whole entire life. The people that we went with kept us laughing, the food we were eating kept our bellies full, and the places we went to, created some of the best memories that I will always remember. Australia has been a beautiful gift that I will hold on to as long as I live.

– Stephanie Jessiman

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Chelsea Keister from Shippensburg University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

AU zoo roosMy name is Chelsea Keister and I am studying Biology at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania (USA). I made the decision to take a semester away from home to go down under at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), and it was the best decision of my life. My university at home offered me a variety of options to choose from when I decided I wanted to study abroad, and right away I knew that Australia was where I wanted to spend my semester. From there, I enrolled directly to USC and my home university helped me with that process whenever I needed it.

I found that my courses here at USC were a lot more relaxed than the courses I had at home. For my science courses at home, I can expect to have four exams throughout the semester along with lab work and other smaller assignments and quizzes. Here, however, most of my courses consisted of one project and a final exam which gave me so much more time to explore.

Before I came to Australia, I made a list of all the places I wanted to see in Australia as well as the other countries I wanted to visit while I was here. Unfortunately, I was unable to do everything I wanted to do because of the corona virus, but that just forced me to dive deeper into the Sunshine Coast and discover all of the amazing things the area had to offer. My favourite things about the Sunshine Coast include:

  1. kangaroosNoosa National Park: This was my absolute favourite place on the Sunshine Coast, and one of my favourite places I have ever been to. The views here are phenomenal and there is so much wildlife to see every single time you go here—I even saw a wild koala! I was lucky enough to skydive over Noosa, and it’s even prettier from the sky which I didn’t think was possible.
  2. The Australia Zoo: I heard so many amazing things about the Australia Zoo before coming here, but my expectations were blown out of the water. Every day I spent at the zoo was a good day, whether I did an animal encounter with a rhino, cheetah or giraffe, watched a croc show at the Crocoseum, or just hung out with the kangaroos at Roo Heaven it was always the best time.
  3. Glass House Mountains: I climbed Mount Ngungun and while it was a pretty tiring hike, the view from the top made it all worth it.
  4. Tim Tams: I don’t think anyone who hasn’t tried one will truly understand how good they are. I am obsessed.
  5. The wildlife: The Sunshine Coast has so many amazing different species of wildlife. I spent so much time taking pictures of all the different animals and I will cherish them forever.

While my time here in Australia is finishing up, I am planning last minute trips to the Whitsundays and Sydney, but the Sunshine Coast will forever hold a special place in my heart.  My experience studying at USC is unforgettable and I am so blessed that I was able to experience this beautiful country.

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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 Sophie Alvsaker studying overseas at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY

78238715_534863160400043_6457880394967547904_n.v1My name is Sophie Alvsaker, and I studied Bachelor of social science (psychology)/ Bachelor of Criminal Justice at Canisius College, Buffalo, NY for 1 semester.

Studying overseas is an incredible experience, it forces you out of your comfort zone and into a culture of new attitudes, values and beliefs. It’s a huge opportunity for personal growth and development but most importantly. it’s so much fun.

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to travel for an extended period of time, but didn’t want to change my degree, so I combined the two 😊. I think the reason it’s been such a great experience is because you don’t just spend time in a new place, you’re completely immersed in it and so you learn so much about the area in a way you couldn’t through travelling alone.

Compared to USC Sunshine Coast, the education at Canisius College is relatively similar, the classes are small and the teachers are really helpful. I think if you’ve seen any American college movies you’ll be well equipped for what to expect at Canisius. Fraternity parties are comically similar to the films, as are the sports games and residence halls.

Buffalo is right next to Niagara Falls, only a few hours from Toronto and a bus ride from New York City. There’s also a lot of national parks in the area and places to ski or snowboard. Because I was here from August to December, I got to experience the end of summer, fall and the start of winter- I’d definitely recommend doing the same as the season changes are beautiful.

One tip I’d give to people planning to study abroad in the US is to come for fall semester, that way you get to experience the change in seasons, as well as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and all the Christmas markets.

–  Sophie Alvsaker

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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

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

International Ceremony of Completion – Semester 2, 2019

On Monday, USC International held the Ceremony of Completion for Semester 2 2019 for  our international students. This ceremony was is held for our international students every semester for those who have completed an award program here at USC Sunshine Coast. Check out some photos from this special day!

CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES OF 2019!

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Olivia O’Neil from Goucher College in the US studying a Diploma in General Studies at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_0314Hi there! I’m Olivia O’Neil and I’m from New York City in the United States of America! I got to Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland and here at USC Sunshine Coast, I’m studying a Diploma in General Studies for 1 semester.

For years I’ve dreamed about coming to Australia, and when the opportunity to study abroad at USC presented itself, I knew I had to take full advantage!

IMG_6671Being from New York City, and not really being around wildlife at all, made coming to USC and Australia in general a wild transition for me. I mean, walking to a lecture and see a kangaroo hopping around is still mind blowing to me. I could just go for a walk and never get bored of the scenery and all of the beautiful nature.

Something that had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, was to go to the Australia Zoo, so the second I found out about the Student Guild trip, I was thrilled! The kangaroo feeding was so amazing, and the crocodile show was so captivating! I mean, to be able to feed and pat kangaroos is crazy!

IMG_9324One of the first day trips I took when I arrived was a hike to the summit of Mount Ngungun with some friends. Mount Ngungun is 253 meters high and was so gorgeous at the top! I could see so far out at farms and the surrounding Glasshouse Mountains.

My main takeaway from studying at USC is to always put yourself out there and try new things. Now, that may sound pretty generic, or cheesy, but it’s honestly so true. You need to just take a leap of faith and have as many new experiences as you can. At the end of the day, it’s your experiences that shape you as a person, so you need to do things that excite you and let yourself be free! Before I came to Australia, I had just been to the United States and Canada, which are very cool, but flying across the globe and going to a new institution, in a completely new country and not knowing another soul, really forced me to put myself out there and meet new people. This was totally scary when I first arrived, but now, I’m so glad I did it and feel like I’ve grown so much as a person.

IMG_4773– Olivia O’neil

 

Alexis Vernon from Rider University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

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Hi guys! My name is Lexi Vernon and I am from Rider University, located in New Jersey in the United States. I am studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Semester 2 where I am majoring in marketing and sports management.

Studying abroad has always been something I have always wanted to do, as I have always had a passion for traveling and exploring other cultures. Prior to coming to the Sunshine Coast, I was extremely nervous. You always hear stories about how going abroad changes your life and I wasn’t sure if I would have the same experience. However, being in

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Australia has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have learned so much about myself and conquered my fears. From being the girl who couldn’t go up a flight of stairs because of how afraid of heights I am, to jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet skydiving in Byron Bay, I am forever for how much I have grown as a person in my short time here in Australia.

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The lifestyle here is so calming and peaceful. The friendly faces and “No worries” attitudes helped calmed my nerves when I first got here. Throughout my time here I took full advantage and tried to see as much as possible. One of my favorite places I have visited in my time here was the Great Barrier Reef! Over the Mid-semester break, I went snorkeling in Cairns, then took a boat trip to Whitsunday. Whitehaven beach, which is ranked second of the best beaches in the world, is absolutely stunning. The swirling sands and clear blue waters were breathtaking. I highly recommend going to visit as it was so incredible. One of my favorite activities since being here has been watching the sunset. Mooloolaba

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beach, which is located about 15 minutes from campus is one of the best places to watch the sunset. We even have BBQs there with some friends and watch the sunset and it is such a fun activity!

Getting around Australia is very easy. From taking the bus to Noosa, the train to Brisbane, and even a plane to Cairns. You will always find a way to get to your next favorite location. Coming here the number one thing on my bucket list, and probably everyone who travels to Australia was to hold a koala. I got the opportunity to do so at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane and also at the Australia Zoo. From pretty views, delicious eats, to fun times with friends I am forever grateful for my experience here in Australia. I will always cherish my time here and everything I have gotten to explore and experience.

Francesca Iannacone from Elon University in the US studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetHi! My name is Francesca Iannacone, and I am a New Yorker who studies Psychology at Elon University in North Carolina. I am currently studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC Sunshine Coast).

I want to share some helpful tips I have for anyone who is considering studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast for a semester or longer;

  1. Be flexible in your normal routine: If you are studying abroad at USC or have never attended university before get ready to switch up your normal routine. The really cool part about studying in a new environment is all the new people and places you are exposed to. Mentally prepare for spending your time in new ways. Personally, I use journaling and exercise to give myself structured time to gear up for and reflect on the new ways my time and energy is being spent.
  2. Leave your phone at home: I recently dropped my phone in the water while I was untying a boat from a dock in Mooloolaba and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I fortunately had an insurance policy on the phone so I have been able to truly enjoy this past week without a phone. I did not fully realise how my phone removes me from the present moment until I let myself have a few days without it. If this intimidates you, remember that you are not alone in that feeling, but know that it could be just the thing you need to get the most out of your Australia experience while studying at USC. I have started emailing my family and friends when I need to reach them. I honestly may never go back to using my phone the way I used to (also known as scrolling through Instagram and Snapchatting every free moment I have)
  3. NMC2ja37T7KZjTBPV+7aegGive yourself the chance to meet new people: Whether you are coming with a friend to USC or not, I suggest opening up to the idea of making new friends. Personally, I came to USC with my best friend who I also live with, but we make conscious decisions to branch off and make new friends both together and separately. It is easy to stay in your comfort zone, but is it satisfying? If the answer is no, then use that as motivation to start meeting new people who can help expand your social circle.
  4. Take advantage of the outdoors: This morning I realised I have had almost every single one of my meals at USC outside. I live in the student housing and will always have meals I make at home on my porch. The Sunshine Coast has beautiful weather year round and I try to soak it up as much as I can. I have found that spending my time outside has helped improve my mood overall. Being in good spirits while at school is vital to your studies and will help make classes less burdensome and more enjoyable.
  5. K+GFdZ2JS7agb%+sBTDrOwOpen up weekends for travel: I scheduled my classes so that my weekend begins on Thursday. Everyone has different options when it comes to class times, but I highly recommend creating space in your schedule to take long weekend trips. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Byron Bay, and soon Bali. None of these trips would have been possible if I had classes every day of the week. You are at USC to study and as a study abroad student, consider travel as a part of your education. I have learned so much on my excursions outside of the Sunshine Coast both about myself and Australia. I encourage everyone to have these experiences.

USC is a truly inspiring place to study and I hope these tips help any reader optimise their experience while here!

– Francesca Iannacone

Marisa Talerico from Towson University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_0956Coming into studying abroad I was nervous, but mostly excited. I’ve been wanting to travel to Australia since I was a kid and I finally got my chance. Looking back on all my experiences, I wouldn’t have wanted to study anywhere else besides the Sunshine Coast. I really fit into and enjoy the lifestyle which is very laidback, friendly, and the beach and being outside is a large part of the community here. In the Sunshine Coast there is a large sense of community with local businesses, markets, and festivals which I was happy to participate in. This really helped allowed me to feel like another valued, included member of the community. I could easily call the Sunshine Coast my home for the short four and a half months I got to live here.

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I also was able to easily adjust into uni life here at the University of the Sunshine Coast. The campus is teeming with diversity due to its mix of international students and Australian students. You definitely get to learn about different cultures from Europe to Asia, as well as Australia, and get to meet people from all walks of life which is something I don’t get to experience too much back home. My teachers were extremely helpful and available to their students due to the small class sizes which was a welcome change from my university back home. Everyone in my classes were friendly and were just as excited to meet an American as I was to meet Australians. One of the biggest culture shocks was learning that I was the one with an accent.

CFB4EABC-57F6-450B-8006-E6C14B0A6514One of my biggest concerns coming here was wondering if I was going to be able to make friends. After one day of living at Varsity Apartments, I no longer had this concern. Everyone at Varsity is friendly and willing to make friends, and everyone here just wants to have a good time. When random people you don’t know walk up to you and just start having a conversation with you, you know that there won’t be a lack of friends here. Those people usually end up becoming some of your closest friends. Varsity is its own little community within the large community of the Sunshine Coast and is just as diverse as the USC campus. With the pool, volleyball competitions, and the parties you feel like you’re living in a low-budget country club for uni students, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I think that studying abroad is one of the best ways to really see and experience Australia. Being here for an extended period of time made it easy to travel and see so much of such a beautiful country. I was able to travel from Cairns all the way to down to Sydney. I got to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, walk up the steps of the Sydney Opera House, lay out on the most gorgeous beaches in the world, and go on breathtaking hikes along the coast, up mountains and the through the rainforests. Studying abroad was the most positive experience of my life thus far, and if someone asked me if I would do it all over again, I would say yes in a heartbeat.

USC student Victor Hultman studying overseas at Elon University in the US

1-1.jpgTo summarise my stay at Elon University in North Carolina it was, to say the least, a great time. Although most of my stay was on campus due to the requirement of being in class for almost all the classes (3 skips allowed/class) Elon offers a lot to do. As almost all students reside on campus, it is really easy to meet new people and events are always hosted close by so there is really no need to worry about transportation. 

The time I left campus for a longer period was for spring break when we took a road trip down to Key West, Florida. We stopped in Hilton Head, South Carolina as well. Twelve other guys made the trip memorable and one of the best experiences of my stay. Other trips included Eno Quarry, Asheville and Burlington.

5 (1)Meeting new people was without a doubt the best part and Elon students and faculty were surprisingly welcoming and inviting, there was never a dull moment and easy to fill the time. The only troublesome thing was the ability to get around outside campus without a car as sidewalks are rare and everyone drives. But since most students at Elon own a car, it is easy to ask them for a ride.