Lisa Wawrzinek from the University of Applied Sciences Heilbronn in Germany studying a Master of International Business at USC Sunshine Coast

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Hey! I’m Lisa and I study Business Management at the Heilbronn University Graduate School (HUGS) for my Masters.

For one semester, I am at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Australia for my double degree in International Business Management. However, I am now going to stay longer to finish my master thesis here in Australia.

My road trip experience from the Sunny Coast to Sydney:

My friends and I decided to do a ten days’ trip to Sydney. Five days of driving down, and four days consisted of enjoying Sydney and with one day driving back to the Sunshine Coast.

Surfers Paradise/ Miami:

Our trip started with a highly extensive shopping trip to the Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre on the Gold Coast. Nice brands like Victoria’s Secret, UGG and Calvin Kleins were very cheap. After the shopping escalation, we drove to Miami next to Surfers paradise. In Miami, one of the most impressed views can be seen from the skyline of Surfers paradise (insider tip).

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Brekkie in Byron

Byron Bay:

I love Byron Bay! During our first night there, wea decided to stay at the backpackers hostel which is a really nice hostel to stay at while exploring Byron. Byron is very beautiful and has a special vibe of feeling free and enjoying life to the fullest. Actually, the city is well known of as there are many tourists here and a popular surfing destination. This was our second time at Byron, and we decided to do the light house walk and went to every public beach. We searched for a lonely beach, which we found between rocks and after long hike, which was magic.

Yamba:

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Angourie Beach

Our second night of our road trip was in Yamba. It is a small fishing townm, and at first, we were disappointed of Yamba. However, after walking around and seeing the calm and beauty of the nature at Yamba and Angourie Beach, it was absolutely stunning.

In Angourie, we went to the green and blue nature pools. I don’t recommend it as there were a lot of tourists there when we came, but there might be days to visit this place when it’s less crowded.

Coffs Harbour:

After Yamba, we drove down to Coffs Harbour. The city is known as the “banana town”. We decided to do our first stop to take a photo at the “Big Banana”, located in a fun park for children (can’t be overlooked). From there, went to the Forest Sky Pier, which is a plattform up in the mountains with an amazing view overlooking the city. If you drive to the platform, you have to stop at the self-service farmers food stalls to buy fresh avocados and bananas! Next to the pier, there are many options to do a rainforest track, keep an eye out for leeches!

Port Macquarie:

The fourth night was at Port Macquarie. We visited the Koala Rescue Hospital, which I recommend! In Port Macquarie, there are also many koala statues in the city.

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Enjoying Newcastle!

Newcastle:

The last stop before Sydney was Newcastle. We did the short memorial walk close to the beach. In addition, we also had a relaxing day at the beach. One of my friends is passionate about surfing and Newcastle has some amazing surf spots.

Sydney:

My favorite city is Sydney! Sydney’s city district is never the same but each quarter is its own little town with their own story.

Short overview of our activities and my recommendations:

  1. Bondi beach:

Beautiful beach and amazing waves, but it is a tourist sight. The pool at Icebergs it is amazing for pictures, but the entry is about 6.50$ per person.

  1. CBD

This is a shopping paradise and a nice city district. Tip: download the app Groupon for cheaper breakfast at amazing spots!

  1. Harbour Bridge and The opera

A must visit!

  1. Botanic garden

A very beautiful and calm place to be!

  1. Woolloomooloo Bay

Beautiful city district. We lived at the Asylum Hostel. I recommend the hostel, it was super clean, nice kitchen and smaller than others.

  1. Ferry to Manly

At Circular Quay, there are many private and public ferries everywhere: use the public ones (1,20$ a day!) to get to to Many in about 30min. You will have an amazing view of Sydney, the opera and the skyline. In saying that, we were a bit disappointed of our trip to Manly because tit was a very busy day, however this again depends on the day you decide to go (Weekends are normally the busiest).

  1. Chinatown

Download the App Liven (Dining Rewards App) for free vouchers/cheap prices! There are heaps of nice boutiques for shopping, and the chinese garden is beautiful to relax by. You can also buy weird things, like kangaroo lucky balls (!).

– Lisa Wawrzinek @lisawawrzinek

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USC student Teddi Barker studying overseas at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN)

Snow angel GeiloHi guys!

My name is Teddi and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Creative Writing at USC, Sippy Downs. These past 5 months I have been studying abroad at USN (Bakkenteigen) in Borre, Norway.

Bakkenteigen receives a number of internationals each semester, the majority being Spanish. As the only Australian, the most asked question of me became ‘Why would you come to Norway?’

I had a few reasons, and my answer changed with each person to ask. However, the most honest answer was that I made the obligatory promise everyone makes to their international friends to visit once they returned home. Sooner than anyone expected though, I made good on my promise. Of course, there were other reasons, such as wanting to experience another culture and its history, but the next major reason revolved around the one thing on my bucket list: I wanted to see snow.

There were a handful of truly memorable moments. First, a drive to Sweden to ‘buy groceries’, AKA, a standard trip Norwegians make to buy cheap alcohol and stock up on lollies. Driving to other countries isn’t such a casual occurrence in Australia. Another was seeing snow for the first time. As anyone from south-east Queensland will tell you, we don’t see much snow here, and as someone whose family avoids the cold, I didn’t have many opportunities to experience the snowfall in Australia. I was definitely surprised to find out that snow is wet and well, cold.

There were many other firsts too, such as watching leaves change colour and fall in autumn, and then cross-country skiing in winter; discovering that with sleet and cold weather comes ice and slippery surfaces, and realising as I watched children fall over, get up and continue running from my spot on the ground that perhaps I wasn’t cut out for what cold weather brought after all.

I had the opportunity to do so much during my semester in Norway – travelling in Europe is so cheap! – and even though I didn’t get around to seeing everything I wanted to, I’m grateful for the time between my studies that allowed for me to explore. I was able to see not just the parts of Norway my friends lived in, but also Verdens Ende (the world’s end), the mountain Gaustatoppen, and other countries too, such as Sweden, Italy, Poland and The Netherlands too.

At Bakkenteigen, whilst the courses and material are different, the study itself is not that dissimilar to USC. With my particular course however, the tutors tried to make things easier for the students by making each assessment piece a group project as there are generally not many native English speakers in the class.

A few tips for those looking to study in Norway:

  • Make sure your courses are given in English, and in saying this;
  • Communication isn’t an issue. Most Norwegians are quite modest about their English when they have no reason to be, and they’re always happy to help, if only you ask.
  • Go out of your way to introduce yourself and make friends. Some may come off cold and standoffish, but really all it takes is for you to make the first move (or a little bit of alcohol).
  • Double check that your luggage is being sent straight through to your destination and that your travel insurance covers lost or damaged luggage.
  • Invest in vitamin D tablets. And;
  • Travel whenever possible!