Tom Skinner from Manhattanville College in the US: What you should experience whilst studying in Australia!

IMG_0053Hey! My name is Tom Skinner and I am from South London, England and have been studying abroad here at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) from my university I attend in NY, Manhattanville College.

I want to share with you my experiences and what I would suggest doing when here in Australia.

Travel, Travel, Travel!

Weather you do this during the semester with weekends away, during the mid-semester break or after you finish; Make the most of being in this beautiful countries and near so many other Asians countries, that normally you would be so far away from. I am doing my travelling after I finish this semester, where I will travel to Sydney and Melbourne. Before finishing my time abroad, I will be meeting my friend Pablo (from my college in NY) in Bali for 10 days. I have spoken to so many people who have been to Bail and if there’s anywhere you should save your money to visit, Bali is the place!

IMG_0154I also took a weekend trip to the Gold Coast with a big group of people. The more people made it cheaper for a really nice AirBnB and we made the most of the amazing weather by spending time at Surfers paradise, a night out at the bars, followed by our first ever AFL game the following day!

Make the most out of days out too! Being on the Sunshine Coast, there are so many awesome days out you can do. From something simple as going to sunbathe at Mooloolaba Beach for the day, or going to Noosa to explore or learn to surf, you can also make a visit to Australia Zoo. Australia Zoo is of the most famous zoos in Australia due to it being the home zoo of wildlife legend Steve Irwin. The zoo had some amazing animals and shows. With opportunities to hold koalas, snakes, and even watch the famous Croc show!

Take every opportunity and speak to everyone!

C2087333-2353-4D41-BC61-4F34C3957964Everyone is in the same boat as you, so when you come out here, just speak to as many people as you can to learn as much as you can about the Uni, area etc. There’s always someone that can help you or that you can help. I have made so many amazing friends for life by speaking to everyone I can. I also got very lucky that I ended up sitting next to people on the flight into Brisbane that would become some of my best friends here. Weather you end up living at Uni Central or Varsity, everyone is so nice and there is a good mix of international students who are new like yourself or have been in your position, in addition to Australians who are always willing to help.

IMG_0034Make sure that you take every opportunity to try new things and go to new places! You never know when you will get a chance to do something like this again, so the best advice I can give is to take risks, have fun, and do as much as you can with the time you have out here.

– Tom Skinner @tom_skinner10

Helene Skaane Osmundsen from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) studying at USC Sunshine Coast

Favourite course during my study abroad semester

one-of-the-few-photos-i-have-of-myself-e1571794093409.jpgMy name is Helene, and I am currently studying a bachelor’s degree of Nature Based Tourism and Nature Guiding at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL Sogndal). I have always wanted to study abroad, but the last time I had the opportunity I didn’t dare to take the chance. I was too scared of missing out on everything that might happen back home while being away, and also of being too shy to get to know new people. Ever since then I’ve had this feeling of “what if”, so when I finally got the opportunity to study abroad in Australia during one semester of my degree, I instantly knew I had to take it. This is a decision I definitely do not regret.

As an outdoor enthusiastic person, it came natural for me to choose some of the Outdoor Environmental Study courses that the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) has to offer during their Semester 2. One of these being “Learning in Australian Landscapes”, or more commonly referred to as OES104. This class turned out to become my favourite subject during my semester at USC and here are a couple of the reasons why;

Biking on Fraser

Field trips!

I mean, who doesn’t like going on adventures as parts of their learning experience? During the semester we’ve gone on four different excursions. We’ve had two day trips, where one was a climbing & abseiling trip, while the other one focused on kayaking. In addition to these, we’ve also spent some time overnight camping. The first overnight trip was separated into a day of hiking and a day of kayaking, and the last trip was a three days trip to Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world.

Great focus on international students

I think more than 90% of the students in this class were internationals, and because of that most of us were in the same boat. We didn’t know too many people when the semester started, and having this in common made it easy to interact with one another. dingo-on-fraser.jpgI’ve spent a lot of time outside of uni with a group of people from this class, and a few of us are also doing a month-long road trip together as soon as our final assignment has been delivered!

In addition to the main points mentioned above, the course also consists of interesting topics such as, how the Australian landscape has been formed, what makes Australian flora and fauna both unique and vulnerable or ecological succession. The teachers have been really friendly and I’m so glad that I got to have this course as a part of my education.

– Helene Skaane Osmundsen @heleneskaane

 

 

 

Anna from the University of Eastern Finland: Living at Varsity

Image result for varsity apartments
Varsity Apartments

I live at Varsity Apartments close to the campus. I was positively surprised when I first arrived there. I had a few doubts about student accommodation and living in a shared Apartment complex, which I hadn’t experienced before, but the apartments are nice and I especially like that I have my own room and bathroom. I feel welcome by my new flatmates who are all Australians. They are really helpful when I have any problems.

Now I have been living at Varsity for two months and I have made some really good friends there. Sometimes we cook together at some of our apartments, walk to Chancellor Park to do some grocery shopping, spend an evening talking and having some good wine or go to the gym to do some exercise. It is a great place to meet new people. Of course there are a few downsides as well; for example it can be a bit noisy sometimes (Thursday parties!). Even though I am not so much into parties, it hasn’t been a problem for me.

Overall I am happy I chose to live in a student accommodation. Otherwise I wouldn’t have met some of the amazing people from all over the world.