Nicole Ruhl from the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer in Germany studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

01Hello everybody,

My name is Nicole Ruhl. I am from Weyhe in Germany and I’m currently studying a Diploma in Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). My home university, the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, is a partner university of USC. Back home I am studying International Business Administration.

Studying at USC

I chose a total of 4 business related courses for the Diploma Program. There were three to five examinations/assignments per course during the semester. This is different from what I am used to at my home university. There, I usually only had one big written exam at the end of the semester and in some cases, there was an additional exam in the form of a presentation. What is also different, is the high proportion of international students at USC. In many of the courses I enrolled in, the cooperation with them was promoted. As a result, an intercultural exchange took place.

Due to the outbreak of the corona virus, I unfortunately had to return to my home country earlier than planned. However, through the efforts of the USC staff, I was able to complete my last exams online, from home. Difficulties arose from the eight-hour time difference. I was not always able to attend the online lectures live, but all of these were recorded so that I could catch up at another suitable time.

Everyday life and leisure activities

I had a lot of leisure time that I used in a variety of ways. The Sunshine Coast has a lot to offer in terms of landscape: from large sandy beaches to dense rainforests. Places nearby that could be reached easily by car or by bus were, for example, Mooloolaba (beach, shopping), Maroochydore (Sunshine Plaza: large shopping centre), Noosa (National Park), the Glass House Mountains (place to hike), the Kondalilla Falls (walking track, National Park) and more. The big city of Brisbane could be reached by bus or train.

I visited many of these places with the Student Guild. This non-for-profit organisation plans trips and events for new students. One could book tickets for all events online in advance. These trips were a great opportunity to meet new people and at the same time explore some of the most beautiful places of the Sunshine Coast.

During orientation week, the students could register in various clubs. Examples are the Business Club, the Basketball Club, the Engineering Club, the Quidditch League, USC Activate etc. There were so many different clubs that actually every individual was able to find a suitable one and connect with people sharing the same interests.

What I also participated in, was the USCi Brand Ambassador Program for international students. This was about sharing the experiences of studying abroad at the USC, for example on social media platforms. In addition to this, all members were invited regularly to take place in workshops and events.

Furthermore, there are short trips that might be interesting for students, regardless of the university. For example, I went to Byron Bay with the Adventure Dudes (a company that organizes and accompanies short trips) on a weekend with other people at my age. It was possible to book many different alternative activities, including kayaking with dolphins, snorkelling with turtles and sharks, surfing lessons and skydiving. I decided to do snorkelling and skydiving. I would like to recommend the latter, especially for the very reasonable price in Byron Bay.

However, there were also plenty of opportunities outside of these organizations to get involved with. One could go swimming, play tennis or volleyball in the student accommodations next to the university (UniCentral and Varsity) or do sports at the USC stadium and gym, have a barbecue, go to the beach, or just take a walk across the university grounds and watch kangaroos and ibises.

Conclusion

All in one, studying at the USC was a great experience. I learned a lot both – professionally and personally. I have met many people from all over the world and had time to explore many beautiful places in Australia. I would recommend a semester abroad or an entire course of study at the USC to everyone. The university offers a great deal of support in a wide variety of areas and it always cares about the well-being of its students.

Jasmin Sillah from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Germany: 3 things you should stop doing whilst studying in Australia!

img_6110.jpgHi! My name is Jasmin, and I’m currently enrolled in the Double Degree Program at the the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) School of Business. I will complete two semesters in Sippy Downs which will provide me with enough credits to go back to Germany next year to write my bachelor thesis in business psychology at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. Thus, I’ll have two bachelor’s degrees shortly after the end of my stay in Australia. Speaking of which, I’ll provide you with 3 helpful tips that can make your time abroad even better, if you stop doing those things!

3 things you should stop doing when you want to enjoy your stay in Australia!

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1. Stop looking at your phone 24/7

This might be one of the hardest ones, especially for our generation! Of course, don’t forget to take lots of pictures and videos from the beautiful sceneries, beaches and animals in Australia, these are beautiful memories to look back on and cry your eyes out about when you are back home. Nevertheless, leaving your phone in your bag once in a while can help you to fully enjoy the marvellous moments you are experiencing overseas without distractions. I promise the best memories are stored in your head forever!

2. Stop speaking your native language

IMG_3651I bet we all wrote roughly the same sentence in our motivational letter: ‘I want to study abroad to improve my English communication skills’. Then do so! It is extremely easy to get carried away with a native group of students at USC as there are so many people with so many different backgrounds and you’ll find someone from your home country for sure. But this is something that hinders you a lot to experience the real Australia and not only the tourist version of it. Don’t be shy and start talking to people from other countries and especially to Australians! For sure, they will embrace it a lot, and you’ll get to know their culture from a whole new perspective.

3. Stop being too rigid about plans

IMG_6001I’m German, so I know about what I’m talking about right now. We love planning months ahead, making checklists, calculating every cent we pay and every minute we spend. Letting go of some of this control-behaviour can open up doors that were closed before. Live your life, be spontaneous and embrace change! Not everything will go according to plan and these moments are great opportunities to go with the flow and do what feels right. You won’t regret it!

– Jasmin Sillah @jasminsillah

Do you want to know more about studying at USC? Click here and enquire now!

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Sairah Benz Alonzo from the Philippines (AMS BridgeBlue) studying a Master of Business Administration at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG_0731Beep beep! *Benz Alonzo about to park!* 

Hey there – I’m Sairah Benz Alonzo. Feel free to call me Benz (yes, just like the car Mercedes-Benz). I accomplished my bachelor’s degree in University of Asia and the Pacific, Philippines. Currently, I’m taking up my master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

Healthy Habits When Visiting the Sunshine Coast Beaches

I’m surprised on how accessible it is for anyone in this state to head down to the nearest coastline. Approximately by 10-20 mins, I could find myself lost in the breeze of Sunshine Coast beaches. Later on, I’ve learned new practices which I like to apply when facing the waves of the ocean. Allow me to share these with you!

Find Peace

Discovering the hush and solitude of what the beach can offer us – silence. Silence, along with the lullaby of waves, brings in peace. If you want more of this, Sunshine Coast is the place to be.

Breathe in, breathe out… Take a deep breath for 5 mins (or up to you!). In a moment, you’ll surprisingly find yourself blending with the serenity of the waves. If it helps, think of short affirmations when breathing in (I breathe in peace) and breathing out (I breathe out confidence). This way, it is purposeful + clearer calm-seeking thoughts.

Seek Aspirations

From time to time, it’s helpful to take a pause and look far at the ocean. Begin with thinking of what you’d like to achieve in life then take note of them. Once you’ve collected your aspirations, it’s pretty cool to treat the beach as your audience. Speak out loud that truth inside yourself! What you’ll face will never judge you but listen intently.

Visualise dreams  

After repeating those dreams, start visualising the “HOW” little by little. I myself, visualise how my week will go: as small as waking up early for attending USC classes -> focusing in lectures -> working out in between breaks -> doing some self-study in another field of work -> plus so on and so forth. Practice that creativity in your imagination. Which by the way, Sunshine Coast has the best background music for this.

Sweat them off

For starters, I love to walk along the shoreline of the beach. While walking, I was able to observe how certain locals incorporate different sets of physical lifestyle: running, yoga, sports, and other fun activeness! And I reckon, anyone can do this! As Tony Robbins claim “motion creates emotion”. Truly, I’m pretty much inspired by the locals here.

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Read Read Read

When in Sunshine Coast, it is always ‘beach reading season’. Pack one book in your bag. Find a great spot and enjoy your time alone reading. Reading by the beach allows us to relax at the same time explore in between pages.

Write them down

The sea won’t be throwing shade on whatever thoughts you’ll be writing down. What’s important is, we lead our actions through mindfulness. Take your notebook/journal out and begin writing down your stories. You’ll be amazed on how long-term pens and papers can affect your life.

P.S. This article is inspired by the Miracle Mornings of Hal Elrod. I highly recommend this book for everyone to read.

–  Sairah Benz Alonzo @sairahalonzo

Do you want to know more about studying at USC? Click here and enquire now!

 

 

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

 

Andre from the University of Applied Sciences Munich in Germany studying at USC Sunshine Coast

20150814_111016.jpgHi! My name is Andre, I’m 24 and from Munich.

I chose the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) as I always wanted to study in an English speaking environment outside of Europe. So far my experience at USC has been very enriching, you meet a lot of different people from various countries every day and the staff are very helpful and friendly. Uni life at USC differs a lot from what I know from Germany, for example students are challenged throughout the semester with assignments and presentations which all influence their end result, instead of having just one exam at the end of the semester.

I think a year of studying at USC and completing my studies with a double degree will help me to start an international career in the future.