My name is Gurleen Kaur and I am from India. My program of study is the Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). I chose to study at USC because the university welcomes students from all around the world and has a lot of diversity, which makes it a likely option for every person to be accepted in a diverse environment.
Studying at USC
Studying at USC has been a fun and delightful experience. I enjoyed my course of study thoroughly. All the staff and teachers were supportive, and I made a few friends as well which have become a part of my life. USC helped me understand the career I want to pursue through my degree. It showed me the way of doing so, and the course structure was simple and divided into parts from basic to more experienced knowledge. My overall impression of the program is great as it has given me an experience of a lifetime.
Living in Australia
Living in Australia has been a good experience for me overall. I learned from each day living here by myself. I can cherish the memories that I made throughout these three years, and I have been living in a share house since I came here. I have had to travel to USC through bus and I will never forget those days of travelling with airpods in my ears and listening music on my way to study. Attending classes is a mandatory thing (for some courses) in order to pass with good marks, so that would be my tip for future students.
With USC’s Animal Ecology program, you get to study animals and discover how they relate to each other and their environment.
Do you want to learn about how animals are impacted by the environment and human interaction and what we can do to protect their future? In this program, you get to develop your analytical and research skills to better understand how to conserve and manage animals. USC’s Bachelor of Animal Ecology program will build your knowledge of animal conservation, biodiversity and animal behaviour.
What will you learn during this degree?
In this program, hands-on experience starts in your first year with fieldwork to North Stradbroke Island and your local region. During the program, you’ll work with leading researchers on field trips and in the laboratory, thus delivering work-ready graduates who are able to blend concepts gleaned from the global literature with personal experience of a diversity of regional habitats and fauna.
In your final year you can also further develop your research skills in a specialised area by undertaking a guided research project in Animal Ecology, working as an intern animal ecologist as part of your studies, or taking advantage of opportunities to travel abroad.
As an animal ecologist, your career paths include natural resource and environmental protection agencies, private environmental consultancies and research institutes. Many animal ecologists also pursue opportunities outside the science and health sectors in business, finance, education and sales.
What are some of the career opportunities after finishing your studies at USC?
Career opportunities will be available across a range of areas both in Australia and internationally, including:
animal ecology specialists in private environmental consulting researchers
research assistants and managers in Government and non-governmental agencies
rangers and managers in wildlife management and conservation organisations
practitioners in environmental monitoring and management
collectors and curators in museums
specialist ecotourism guides; and
researchers and lecturers at universities
Find out more about the Bachelor of Animal Ecology program by reading the testimonials from our international students:
Read Nathalie’s first blog here which was published in November 2019, when she had just commenced her 2nd year of study.
Hello, this is Nathalie Lundin! I’m from Stockholm, Sweden and moved to the Sunshine Coast to study a 3-year Bachelor of Business (Marketing) degree, and later added a minor in Fashion Studies. I knew I wanted to study abroad all my life but never really thought of Australia. A random day in January 2018, It came to me, of course I should study in Australia?! I had a look around the internet and fell in love with USC at first glance. Sunshine Coast sounded extremely appealing and after viewing some pictures I made my decision: I was going to Australia.
Studying Business at USC has been absolutely amazing, I’ve learned so much, gotten to know amazing people at a beautiful campus, all while feeling like I’m on vacation. I can study on the beach, take a hike when I need a break or enjoy my coffee by the pool. The campus also has a really good atmosphere, meeting students within and outside of my own field. The tutors and lecturers has been very helpful. Even during COVID-19, the online materials helped us get through easily. I’ve learned so much about the business field, gotten a huge perspective and gained knowledge for a solid base to start my career in business. I feel confident in the marketing field, and I’m now also confident in exactly what I want to do.
Before coming here I knew I wanted to get in to the business field but nothing more than that. Now, I know I love to create content, I’m good at analysing fashion and business trends and I have the qualifications I need to get a foot inside the industry. I know my strengths, weaknesses, and how to keep developing as a future fashion marketer. The course structure has been very helpful, starting off with first years courses that really introduced me to the basics within business and writing reports. In the end, I knew exactly how to write a report, I can reference ideas across different courses, and I understand the connections between different fields in business. All courses has been a piece of the whole puzzle which I can now feel is coming together.
Living on the Sunshine Coast
Australia has been better than I ever expected and I’ve gotten to see many places, lived close to the beach, and simply went from grey and cold Sweden to summer all year round. My Instagram followers from back home has been jealous to say the least. During my first year I lived at Varsity Student Accommodation which was the best start ever! I came here not knowing a single soul but after just a few days in, I knew I had found the right place. I chose to live closer to the volleyball courts at Varsity and I’ve gained friends and memories for life. I’ve experienced crazy, funny, and very interesting moments for sure.
I’m so happy I didn’t miss out on this! I’ve been in Melbourne, Sydney, and a lot in Brisbane, I’ve skydived in Noosa, visited many different beaches, mountains and lookouts! Australia has so much to offer and I recommend to see as much as you can. Just living 10 minutes from Buderim Waterfalls and Australia Zoo feels too good to be true! Here is everything you feel like, everything from adventures like go-card, tree top climbing and hiking, to a calm day at the beach or a nice cocktail at the local beach bars.
Tip to future students wanting to study abroad?
My tip is to go by the saying of NIKE; Just do it! You will never regret an adventure, and if it’s not for you, nothing forces you to stay either. Take this opportunity if you can. I will cherish these three years forever, and I know I would have regretted it my whole life if I would have ended up not doing it!
In the course of my Master studies in business at Heilbronn University Graduate School, I had the unique opportunity to take part in the double degree Master program in International Business at USC. In order to receive the double degree I had to complete four courses at the University of the Sunshine Coast which I selected in cooperation with the international coordinators of both universities prior to my arrival in Australia. The USC offered a great variety of courses to choose from.
Shortly after my arrival in Australia, I had the chance to attend the orientation week organised by the university and familiarise myself with the facilities of the USC campus in Sippy Downs and the surrounding area through guided campus tours and a free hop-on-hop-off bus. Socialising activities such as a free Australian BBQ at the uni have also been part of the interesting orientation.
The highly modern USC campus is characterized by its kangaroos visiting the campus in the early mornings and in the evenings and attract the attention of the excited students every day anew. Many fancy cafès and small food stalls (e.g. sushi) extend the already great offer of the USC brasserie. The university is home to many sport clubs and the student association. I recommend to join the activities offered by them such as trips to the zoo or a festival and the famous netflix and pizza nights.
The USC is located at the beautiful Sunshine Coast. By catching a bus from USC station I could easily get to the beach and enjoy the sunny days. The location is also ideal for trips to Noosa’s national park and the wild koala’s and to Brisbane which can be reached within one hour. I would also recommend a trip to the tourism spots Fraser Island and Byron Bay.
To put in a nutshell, I can highly recommend the double degree program since the interactive courses give you a different insight into the field of business than the university in Germany. Additionally, the location of the university is perfect with regard to language improvement and trips around this beautiful country.
Kai Meier from the HMKW University of Applied Science in Berlin
My amazing semester abroad at USC
And there it was, I was finally leaving Germany and once again I was on my way to Australia. After I finished my last day at university in Berlin on a Friday, I jumped onto the next plane and arrived perfectly on time for Orientation Week. It was super easy to meet new people, a lot of them were Germans of course. Quickly I had a bunch of people surrounding me and I found my new room in a shared house with 11 internationals and Aussie people. The time went fast. On weekends, we were mostly hanging out at the Varsity Students Accommodation having a beer or two in the Helm or at Ocean St in Maroochydore or just chilling at the beach in Mooloolaba. To meet more people, I decided to go on two weekend trips. One tour went to Moreton Island, which is about a 1,5 hrs away and another tour to Spot X a Surf Camp, which is a few hours’ drive down south. Both were unique experiences which I can really recommend. The semester passed by quickly and soon I had semester break which I used to visit some friends in Bali. Others travelled along the East Coast or to Melbourne. The last weeks of my 13 weeks of studying were quite intense. Since I did not have any final exams in any of my four subjects, I had to spend a few nights in the library trying to get all the reports and assignments done as good as possible. Luckily, I was not the only one, so we had some fun times and good memories in the end.
Way to fast the time had come to say goodbye again to all the people I met. One good thing about having so many Europeans here is, that the chance is higher to see them again. Even when my time at the Sunshine Coast was over in June, I still had ten weeks of travelling and fun ahead. First, four friends from USC and I went down to Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise for a week. Afterwards I made my way up to Cairns stopping at Fraser Island, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, Townsville and Magnetic Island. I also did a Skydive at Mission Beach and walked through the world’s oldest rain forest at Cape Tribulation (Daintree Rainforest) before I flew to Bali again. From where I took one more month to go around Bali and Jawar ending my journey in Jakarta.
Now, being back in Berlin, I am looking forward to new adventures waiting for me. But I will never forget all the new impression, the things I learned, the people I met. This truly is learning for life!
To be honest, seeing that USC had kangaroos on its campus was one of the main drivers for choosing the Uni. Another reason was that the Uni is called ‘University of the Sunshine Coast’, who wouldn’t want to live at a place called Sunshine Coast? Being able to do a Double Degree at a University, which is close to a number great places to travel, made the decision easy.
The Sunshine Coast:
The Sunshine Coast is close to well-known places like ‘Fraser Island’, ‘The Great Barrier Reef’, and Brisbane. But that’s not all there is to see, you can go sun bathing or surfing at one of more than twenty beaches at the coast, hiking in many different national parks, climbing the ‘Glass House Mountains’, or visit the famous Australia Zoo that was opened by the Irwin family (you might know them from Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter). Or you spend a morning at the artisan ‘Eumundi Market’, or go up for a swim in Noosa’s Fairy Pools. There is so much to see and do around the University, that it is very unlikely to ever get bored, whether you are an adrenalin junkie or just want to relax.
Right at the beginning, I joined the ‘USC Activates’ who organise trips around the Sunshine Coast for the cost of what you would spend going by yourself, you practically get the guide for free. With the club, I saw some amazing waterfalls and had some fun evenings at the beach and movie nights. But more important, I made some really good friends (locals and internationals) at the USC Activates, and we organised some private trips with a bunch of people too.
Was it a good decision to study at USC?
Definitely!! Apart from all the travelling, I have learned more than in Germany. The way they teach you is like being back at school, but it is so much more efficient (at last for me), and given the fact that in some courses you can pass even before the final exam gives you more time to relax at the pool during study week.
After studying for two years at my hometown university in Stralsund, Germany, I decided to finish my last year of uni at USC which I consider to be one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.
I arrived on the Sunshine Coast in the middle of the Australian winter which is comparable to our German summer. The beaches, friendly locals and laid back lifestyle made me fall in love with this place immediately.
The university is beautifully located and has great learning facilities to offer students the best possible education. During my studies, I got to experience the 3D virtual reality facilities which are unique worldwide for university students to use. Furthermore, I got to go on a field trip to Fraser Island to deepen my knowledge about sustainable tourism.
I always felt supported by my lecturers and tutors to succeed in my courses as well as in my professional career after university. Vikki Schaffer, my course coordinator for Leisure, Tourism and Event Management, helped me get in touch with a marketing firm in Munich where I’ll start an internship this year.
Besides the great learning experience and support, I also got to travel Australia during my semester break passing Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and Tasmania. It was the most amazing road trip and I would encourage everyone to travel this beautiful country if you get the chance.
I can safely say that studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast exceeded all my expectations. Out of all the places I’ve visited in Australia, I consider the Sunshine Coast the most beautiful region to live and study at. The time I’ve spent here passed too quickly and looking back I would’ve loved to do my whole degree at USC. However, I consider this is a ‘see you later’ and not a goodbye as my plan is to come back and hopefully make the Sunshine Coast my new home.
This is Labolina and Lars’ adventure, a story about two people from Dalarna, Sweden and how we met by chance at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland, Australia.
In 2014 we were two strangers, but we both had a spontaneous idea to study overseas, and since we wanted to begin as soon as possible we both enlisted the help of Kilroy Education. Their friendly and professional staff helped us get ready for the adventure, not knowing that our paths would cross only a few weeks later, and that this meeting would develop into a great friendship which in turn would foster academic and professional success.
Back in 2014 we left two different worlds behind. I was busy completing high school when my dad one night mentioned that he knew someone who had studied overseas on the Sunshine Coast, in Australia. All I thought I knew about Australia at the time was that Sydney was the capital (I was wrong), and that everyone spoke like the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin (I was not completely wrong about that). So, the thought of moving to the other side of the world, to a country that I knew almost nothing about, seemed both thrillingly challenging and completely out of my comfort zone. As I have always been interested in learning how the human body works, I applied to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Later in my degree I fell in love with Microbiology, learning about microorganisms, infectious diseases and what we can do to treat them. Throughout my degree, I had the opportunity to participate in theoretical lessons, practical laboratory experiments, and two special research projects, focusing on the things I wanted to learn more about. These factors definitely contributed to my learning experience, if there was something I would improve with the Microbiology program it would be the amount of laboratory time!
In contrast, Lars decided to leave his marketing career for a more person-centred profession, and since Lars was eager to explore other cultures, he knew his journey would begin overseas. Once Kilroy helped Lars find the Bachelor of Counselling program at USC, he was hooked. While Lars did not mind learning about theories, I could tell his favourite part of his degree was the many practical exercises such as demonstrating acquired counselling skills. Lars, himself, once told me that his favourite aspect of his degree was the balanced course structure, which is divided between theoretical discussions, practical exercises, and personal reflections.
Although, how do you gently tell your friends and family that you are moving overseas for at least three years? I remember Lars telling me he was out walking with his brother one day, when he out of nowhere said “Bro, you know the expression ‘I might have a screw loose?’, well I think my bolts are gone, the screws are nowhere to be found, and the whole structure is about to fall apart… I have decided to move to the Sunshine Coast for four years!”. I am not sure, but there might be some truth in Lars’ comment, as it was definitely a thrilling time, and it was at times difficult to comprehend what my university application would actually mean.
In the first half of July 2014 we both began our separate journeys to Australia, interestingly enough we both chose to travel the 24+ hour journey with Emirates Airline. I remember Labolina telling me once that when she got into her waiting cab at Brisbane Airport around midnight, she clearly thought her driver sounded like Hugh Jackman. She thought that her knowledge about Australia was astonishing. I have never met any Hugh Jackman sound-a-likes, but when I arrived I was well aware of the ‘dangerous threat’ from Drop Bears!
Before we knew it, we were Bachelor students, enrolled in our separate courses at USC, which is a university far, far away from home. To say that the following three years was an adventure would be an understatement, particularly for me. Not only because I was moving overseas, but also because I, as a person with sight impairment, was changing the familiarity of Sweden for an area, culture, and environment I could not see. I remember Labolina and I talking about how nerve wracking the first few weeks were, as we suddenly were sharing a lecture theatre with a few hundred other students. The thing that made us most nervous though, was not knowing if we could actually overcome the challenges that laid ahead.
I mean, moving across the world, doing a university degree in another language, is a pretty big challenge to take on, right? What we loved about USC though, was that it often felt like a tight-knit community. Throughout our degrees, whenever we had questions or wanted advice from teachers, they would be there to answer them. Whenever we wanted to learn more, our teachers would provide us with the opportunity to do so, and whenever we struggled to get our words across because of the language-barrier, our classmates would patiently listen and help. Some of my teachers well and truly acted as my mentors, and I loved being able to sit down over a coffee and discuss the world of microbiology with them.
I think it is rare to find a university with the same person-centred philosophy as USC. For example, USC always had an individualistic approach to Lars’ learning experience. This was evident in his first meeting with Disability Services, in which Matt (Disability Advisor) sat down and calmly asked “Lars, what help do you need from us?”. This was the start of a positive, solution-focused cooperation between the university and Lars, which made it possible for him to study on the same terms as everyone else.
While we both agree on that it was a challenge to learn how to speak and write academically in English, we were never too worried as we would have had to learn the same thing in Swedish. This is because the ‘academic language’ is ‘a bit special’, so simply knowing a language is no guarantee that you will have it easy academically. Surprisingly, it only took a couple of weeks before we could walk into a lecture theatre with the feeling: “Hey, this feels natural”.
In my experience, it was not just the university that had a person-centred and supportive attitude, but also organisations such as Guide Dogs Queensland. They have, among other things, helped me learn how to navigate the unfamiliar areas of the Sunshine Coast using busses and trains. This have contributed to my ability to live independently, and have allowed me to gather knowledge and experiences on my own terms. I was therefore able to travel around, meet new people, and try some of Australia’s excellent breakfasts! While most of the people I have met have been warm and friendly, Australia’s Mermaids had a stone-cold manor, no matter which ‘pick-up lines’ I tried (chuckles).
However, thankfully Labolina was a more warm-hearted person, with whom I regularly met up with for a traditional Swedish Fika. Fika is deeply embedded in Swedish culture, and can be described as taking a break from the daily stresses in life. This short break allows people to appreciate the good things in life, either alone, or with company, and is usually enjoyed with a tea/coffee and something small to eat. The fact that we Swedes have a special word for this should be an indication of how important this lifestyle is.
Labolina and I enjoyed our first Fika within the first few weeks of our stay in Australia. This quickly became a tradition, and usually we met up once a week to discuss the ups and downs during each semester. We agree that this break from the university life made the whole experience less scary, since we had a familiar routine that reminded us of home. We both took on our academics as the biggest challenge of them all, so even though we were studying completely different degrees we could cheer each other on as we worked our hardest to improve with each semester.
This could not only be seen in our steadily increasing grade point averages, but also in the successes we had outside of our studies. For instance, I remember a modest Labolina pondering whether or not to apply for an esteemed Undergraduate research summer program at Monash University in Melbourne. With the support of her friends, family, and teachers Labolina submitted her application, and just a few months later she arrived at the Monash Research Laboratory. One of my own great accomplishments was my invitation to ‘The Golden Key International Honour Society’, which is reserved for the top 15 percent of students. Fuelled by this success I also managed to secure a position in the USC Golden Key Executive Team, and was later that year awarded the prestigious Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship.
While USC is a smaller university, we believe that it was USCs person-centred and friendly atmosphere that allowed us to grow and flourish. We think this inclusive and flexible environment is difficult to find at other universities, so if you are looking for a university where you are a person and not a number, we would recommend University of the Sunshine Coast.
These past three years have been an incredible journey for us both, and thinking back on the Mooloolaba coast line is starting to feel like a long-lost dream already. We have had our own paths and challenges, but our friendship have been there to help us forward. It is, however, time for Labolina’s journey to change, as she is now starting her Master’s degree in Infectious Biology at Uppsala University. Lars will stay at USC to finish the last year of his counselling degree, before it is time for him to change his focus towards his passion, namely the field of sex and disability. Even though half a world separates us now, we will definitely stay in contact, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we will reunite over a traditional Swedish Fika!
Hola amigos, it has been two weeks after returning from my exchange at University Pablo De Olavide (UPO) in Seville and to be honest I am having serious withdrawals… Seville is the capital city off Andalucía, which is a southern province in Spain. It is arguably the best place to eat and the birthplace off flamenco, which captivated me every time. That alone was enough to have me hooked, but if you’re not convinced, let me tell you a little bit more.
I started my exchange in Seville at the end of January 2017; it was wintertime, a little bit colder then our winters here on the Sunshine Coast. A week before I arrived I had no idea where I was going to live so I opted to stay with a host family for the first week until I found my feet. The host family was a great experience, despite the fact they didn’t speak a word of English and I not a word of Spanish, we still managed to communicate with hand gestures and thank god for Google translate. It was a great insight to see how some of the Spanish live, I met their family and friends, ate their Iberian ham and chickpea soup and told stories of each others lives (through Google translate and pictures). They did offer for me to stay for the whole semester, which is what a lot of my friends from the exchange program did. However for me as a nutrition student, coco pops for breakfast and potato chips with dinner was not going to cut it, I needed my own space, in particular my own kitchen. Although some of my friends had great experiences with their host families, allowing them with opportunities to practice their Spanish and have authentic Spanish experiences. A lot of the students found the strict eating times and family rules a little bit hard, especially if they had already lived out of home.
I spent a week in between classes searching for apartments, and eventually I found the one that would be my home. It was great and the people I lived with even better. I had one German roomie, one French, one Italian and the Sevilliano drop in, who proved to be the best Spanish family I could ask for. In winter we would huddle together in our lounge room and drink beer and red wine while eating Selu’s (my Sevilliano friend) home made croquettes and singing along to ‘Despacito’ while someone played the guitar. Come summer when it was very hot, I would sit on the roof top and watch the sun go down over the city, watching birds flying around the countless amounts of churches in every street, listening to the church bells ring or someone playing flamenco guitar in the distance.
I grew to love this city, and the tapas bar on every corner, the live flamenco until early hours, the beautiful monuments all around the city and the beautiful parks and peaceful river. But most of all I loved the people, that’s what really made the biggest impression, Sevillianos are very friendly people despite the fact that they speak ridiculously fast (don’t count on understanding them even if you can speak Spanish), they siesta during the day and come out at night filling up all the tiny cobbled stone streets with there laughter, music and ridiculously good fashion. But not only the Spanish were great, besides my roommates, I made lots of friends from all around the world that made my time in Seville so special.
However take this as a friendly warning, but my exchange program at UPO, is separate from the normal Erasmus students, meaning that 90% of my classmates were American and the other 10% Canadian. Don’t get me wrong, I love Americans, my classmates were great people, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like without my Canadian friend Dylan. But don’t expect to get cultured in a class full of 19 year old Americans where a lot of the programs are tailored around the American students. And don’t expect to make Spanish friends unless you can speak Spanish or you put in a big effort with extra curricular activities. Class discussions were often related back to American culture and university life, I’m not going to lie but sometimes I felt like I was a little left out of the sorority club.
That being said I enjoyed my classes they were interesting and my lecturers were great people who really enjoyed teaching and sharing with us information about Spanish life. I highly recommend the Spanish language course, even though at the beginning I was nervous to speak, by the end of semester I was looking forward to class and managing to maintain simple conversations in Spanish. This was so beneficial as not many Sevillianos speak English and it allowed me to communicate to a certain extent in Spanish. The other great thing about the exchange program was that there were no classes on Fridays, which meant that every weekend was a long weekend. Given Spain’s great location in Europe and Ryanairs cheap airfares, it gave me the opportunity to travel on weekends. I started off visiting different parts of Spain I had not previously been to, relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Canary Islands or hiking around hidden villages in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Eventually I was exploring other countries like Portugal, Morocco, England, Scotland, Hungary and Denmark.
A highlight of my time in Seville would have to be the ‘Feria de Abril’, a week long festival where the whole city comes alive, including your Spanish neighbours great, great grandmother. The men dress smartly and the women dress up in the traditional flamenco dress. They parade around the city on horse and carriage making their way to the festival venue which never closes, people are literally there 24/7. It is here where there are hundreds of tents filled with Spanish people, eating, drinking, smoking, dancing, singing and parading around on horseback and carriage. I had so much fun and a huge wake up call that this city never sleeps, regardless of your circumstances.
Living in Seville is cheap compared to other places in Europe and especially Australia. You will find yourself whinging about prices of wine in different countries after living there. I chose to pay a little bit extra in rent so that I could live in the old Jewish quarter basically in the centre of the city. It was so worth it, I was a 2 minute walk from everything I needed and a 10 minute walk from basically everything else. And if I really needed to get somewhere further I rode the city bikes or caught the metro, its really simple.
If you are interested in culture, food, music, dance, hiking, exploring and basically anything else that’s fun I highly recommend doing this exchange program. Don’t expect to get much sleep but do expect to make amazing memories that you will never regret or forget… Me encanta Sevilla (I love Seville)!
Going to Australia for a semester was one of the best decisions I could have made for my time in college. Right from the beginning I was having eye opening experiences, connecting with people, and growing as a person. The people are down to earth and friendly, and I was being welcomed to Australia for months by everyone I met. Between that and the relaxed attitude so many Aussies seem to share, I felt right at home from the get-go.
The University of the Sunshine Coast blew me away with the quality of its classes and teachers. My professors were all actively involved in their fields, and knew not just what they were teaching, but how to effectively teach it. Every question I had was quickly and confidently answered. The classes were also inclusive of a broad range of material, and were clearly stemming from the professor’s understandings, as opposed to being taught out of a text book. What I learned here I know I can take anywhere. Needless to say, the academics go above and beyond.
A university isn’t just professors and classrooms, and I took full advantage of what else there was to offer. The library is modern and terrific for studying, there are tons of activities and events put on by the university and the student guild, and a boat load of really great student groups. There was something for everyone, whether you be outdoorsy, or if real quidditch sounds like fun to you. The groups are run by students for students, and a great way to make connections.
I really took advantage of the outdoor group on campus, USC Activate. I made friends through it that I will be visiting and who plan to visit me. We went on audacious hikes, explored Queensland’s coast, and climbed the cores of old volcanoes. The bonds we made were so strong we ended up making our own trips, and went more places by ourselves than we ended up going through Activate. There were local Aussies, and also a strong showing of international students as well. We ended up getting people from a plethora of different countries and backgrounds. While I have connections in Australia now that I’ll be returning to in the future, I also have them in other countries I’ve never been to.
I went to Brisbane and Sydney, and I can say they have some cool corners to discover, but most of my effort was in seeing the landscape these cities are built around. There are so many beautiful and unique places in Australia, filled with an ecology found nowhere else. Coming to Australia to study ecosystem sciences, I learned just as much outside of the classroom as in it. It was enlightening in regards to what was Australian, but also gave me perspective on what I found at home as well. And the Aussies love getting out into “the bush”. Or anything that get’s them active. From bushwalking, to surfing, to rock climbing, they do it all and dragged me along. Take them up on any offer to go outside.
My trip to Australia was invaluable. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. For anyone considering going, go. If you’re interested, realize you don’t know the half of it, and the half you do know already has you ready to go. Think what it will be like once you discover the other half in Australia.
In my Bachelor degree, I did an exchange semester in Salzburg, Austria, and I had such a good time with some lovely people and Austria`s beautiful surroundings. That was the moment when I decided to do a Master’s degree; the whole degree in another country and having again an incredible time. StudySmart, a NPO in Switzerland, helped me to make this dream come true by organising all the necessary paperwork. When I checked the option University of the Sunshine Coast, I instantly knew that’s the place to be. The name, the beautiful pictures and of course the Master’s subjects convinced me.
When I started at USC I did some additional seminars to get familiar with the Uni specifically expectations regarding academic writing and referencing. These courses were really helpful, especially when you’ve just started. Moreover, the lecturer, librarians and Uni personnel from the drop-in sessions are all very kind and happy to give you additional support if you get stuck or want to have a professional proof-read before you hand-in your task. Regarding the tasks, I must say that during the semester you are very busy with in general three tasks per subject, which is probably different compared to your home University. But once you get used to it and you don’t have to worry about a final big exam and use your energy for something else. How about having fun!?
Yeah there is a lot of fun! Once you get in contact with so many new absolutely fantastic people around the student accommodations and USC you will have an amazing time for example the parties. And if you maybe once in a while drink a little bit too much, you can just relax at the pool or the beautiful beaches on the following day. Furthermore, study-breaks and optimal chosen class times offer you to do day trips and make your friends back home jealous by posting photos from your once in a lifetime experiences in this most beautiful country!
I always had the goal to spend a semester as an Exchange student somewhere around the globe. It was one of my requirements to the University to have a various offer on exchange programs. So, it came that I got the opportunity to do my exchange in a wonderful country called Australia!
Directly after I visited my first lesson in the Orientation Week, I could feel it would be an awesome time at Uni. As usual the start of the semester is a bit overwhelming, by organising and adopt yourself in a new university, especially when you are alone in a country which is located 16500km away from your home. Anyway, that is a fact which makes the whole thing much more interesting and adventurous. It doesn’t really take much till I met new people which were in the exact same situation as I was.
University of Sunshine Coast
Once you spent a couple of weeks in Australia, you start getting into the culture of the Aussies. Therefore, the thing I noticed, is that the Aussies have an easy-going behaviour which I really appreciate, whereas back in Switzerland a lot of things appear much tougher. This attitude reflects also to the University. As I started my biggest fear was to keep up with the language during the semester and especially for the exams. This fear was gone as soon I did the first assignment tasks. Compared to Switzerland where your grades depend all on one big final exam, at USC the courses are divided into 3 different tasks. Each of them contributes to the final grade. Within some courses you could even reach a Pass-Grade (set by 50%) by doing the first 2 Tasks. Consequently, as soon I got my first Grades, I could focus on exploring this amazing Country.
My best experience during the Exchange was to explore the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I don’t even know where to start. Since I’ve never been in Australia before I didn’t really know what to expect about, except that every little creature could possibly kill me, regarding the most venomous animals live here. Well Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island, hundreds of Waterfalls, amazing surf spots, rainforests, outback deserts and endless beaches everywhere are only a bunch of things to explore. The fact that you can spend some time at the beach with swimming, surfing or simply getting a nice tan, and it reaches temperatures of 25°-30° in the WINTER, it’s reason enough to go to Australia (compared to Switzerland). Summarised I don’t want to spoil too much, I just want to say I was never as enchanted by a country like Australia!
I am now 3 days out of my semester abroad in an apartment in New York, reflecting on what has been an unforgettable adventure. My overseas study experience began and finished in California, at California State University, Monterey Bay.
I arrived in San Francisco on the 10th of January 2017. As the semester didn’t begin till the 20th of January, I spent a week at a hostel and spent the days exploring the beautiful city. In my short stay at the hostel I quickly met some captivating people from Austria, France, Singapore and New Zealand.
I arrived at CSUMB on the 17th, where I was checked in and received some very handy household items that the previous exchange students had donated. At first, I was a bit lonely in my dorm, missing the excitement and socialness of the hostel. But within the next few days, I soon realised that living on campus would be full of just as much excitement and much more! Meeting people I was bombarded with all the same questions regarding sharks, spiders and kangaroos. Everyone was incredibly excited when I showed them photos of USC, surrounded by kangaroos.
As the weeks went by the homework piled on, friendships developed and weekends were jammed packed. Surrounding the university, we explored Carmel Beach, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Big Sur, Santa Cruz and Pinnacles National Park. I found the study load quite heavy here, with copious amounts of homework in comparison to Australia, so during the week I spent a lot of time in the library. At lunch and dinner, we were all brought together at the dining commons. Although I found myself uninterested in eating at the same place every day, I am glad I could spend these times at the DC (of course we shortened it) because it became the place of many bonding moments and laughs. The sense of community here was honest and real.
I was lucky enough to create a class timetable where every weekend was a 4-day weekend for me, and I took full advantage of them with many road trips! A very cheap and old minivan that I purchased took me to LA, Coachella, Santa Barbara, Portland, Seattle, Lake Tahoe and even to Vancouver, Canada!
One of the main reasons I selected CSUMB as my first choice was because of their Scuba Diving classes. I was able to enrol in the Master Diver class as I had obtained my license in Australia a few years before. Monterey Bay is known for its amazing kelp forests and of course…the cold. I was beyond nervous as I prepared for my first cold water dive because I was feeling completely out of my comfort zone wearing 2 thick wet suits, a hood, thick gloves and extra weights than usual to offset the extra wetsuit buoyancy. Although I had great difficulty diving in a cold climate with vast amounts of surge and low visibility, I am incredibly grateful for this experience at CSUMB because these conditions have given me a great deal of experience and made me a stronger scuba diver. I am also very grateful to the teachers and instructors in this class who never gave up on the Australian who struggled in the cold water and with those annoying wetsuits!
Spring break was one of the highlights of the trip! An 8-seater Chevy Tahoe took us on a wild road trip from California to Nevada, Utah and Arizona, seeing Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and the Grand Canyon. Although the trip consisted of many unexpected turns and almost everything didn’t go to plan, I wouldn’t change a thing!
While there were a few downs during the semester like missing passports and broken down cars, the ups most certainly outweigh them. I didn’t anticipate the last day to be as hard as it was and for so many people to impact on my time in so many ways, large or small. I have made so many friendships that I will cherish for life and now have couches to sleep on all over the world!
My time on exchange at Masaryk University – Czech Republic has been an incredible life-changing experience so far. I have met so many amazing people from all different parts of the world. I have had to adapt to a new climate, new language and new culture.
I arrived part-way through winter… and to my utter excitement the streets were filled with snow, white forests and fields. I have never seen snow before so for me this beautiful sight was something so incredible. However, I was soon met with the bitter reality of a European winter… it was cold, very cold. I got used to not being able to feel my nose, after coming from 36-degree heat and the ocean it took a while. I made snowmen, went ice skating and spent a lot of time admiring the outside from my bedroom window.
From the first week I have met so many amazing people. My roommate is Greek and I gave up trying to learn Greek after realising I couldn’t even pronounce ‘thank you’. Each week the International Students Club puts on events such as board games nights, quiz nights, parties and country presentations where students can share their cultures. Brno is an amazing student city and everything is at your fingertips (and a short walk away). Also a litre of beer is on average $2 at any bar, and the beer is GOOD. And now that the weather is warmer the beer gardens have opened so after a tiring day of study you can sit in the city square and drink a $2 beer. Although the cuisine consists of a lot of bread, fried things and meat. But you can go to any restaurant and only pay $5 for meal. I admit it will be hard coming back to Australia and having to hand over $20 for a meal.
Brno is perfectly situated in the middle of Europe which has made travelling very easy and cheap. I have been able to travel nearly every weekend to surrounding countries such as Austria, Poland, Germany and Slovakia.
The University is really wonderful too, I have been able to study subjects I am interested in and be taught by teachers who are highly experienced in their individual areas. And to my benefit, I am normally the only native English speaker so I have become a walking dictionary for most of the students. It has been so incredible to witness all these students from all different countries having to study in a second or even third language.
My most memorable moment so far would have to be Easter in a small Czech village called Sakvice. In small Czech villages they have a tradition where they take these rainbow whip like things and go around to each house in the village and whip the women to bring good luck and fertility, the men are then rewarded with food, beer and liquor at each house. Some friends and I were lucky enough to be able to walk around with a group of Czech boys in the village to witness the tradition in action. It was a day filled with many laughs, food and Czech folk songs.
That one semester at the University of Sunshine Coast was one of the best of my studies so far! Class was a bit challenging at first because of the different style of teaching. In Switzerland everything depends on the grade you get on the exams at the end of a semester while at the USC you can improve your grade with tasks during the semester. My biggest fear was about having to write reports in Academic English, but the University offers workshops and the lecturers are very supportive too. The USC has such a beautiful campus, what I really loved since we don’t have one at my home university (University of Applied Science Chur, Switzerland). The kangaroos were a big plus too.
A semester abroad is an opportunity for everyone, but especially for me, as a tourism student. Not only do you get a different point of view, you also develop on a personal level. The Sunshine Coast is just a perfect place. There is so much to see in the area and bigger cities aren’t too far away too. Another big advantage was that I could enjoy my leisure time with surfing, BBQ’s, mountain climbing, exploring the rainforest and petting kangaroos and at the same time I learned a lot about the tourism industry in Australia.
I am half way through my study overseas semester at the University of Applied Sciences Kufstein and so far, it has been epic.
When I got here, everything was covered in the thick layer of snow. Before university started, I worked for 2 months as ski instructor at the ski resort is 20 minutes from the university. At the start, I had to wear 5 jumpers and a thick jacket so I wouldn’t freeze, but I slowly got use to the weather. Living in the mountains is amazing. Now the snow is slowly disappearing and I spent most of my free days hiking. Last weekend, I went rock climbing with some locals in the Alps. It was an awesome adventure. We got a little lost on the way up and had to walk through lots of snow but eventually we did find the crag and spent the rest of the day climbing surrounded by an amazing view.
We are here with around 100 exchange students from all over the world. It is great hanging out with people from all different cultures. The university itself is quite small, just like the city Kufstein. Everything is in walking distance and you often run into somebody you know. The people I have met so far are all very friendly, including all the staff at the university. Studying here is quite different compared to USC, since you have a different schedule with different classes every week. Some weeks you are busy and other weeks you have time to travel around.
The university offers a sports program. You can do things from self-defence to mountain biking. I spent my Wednesday nights at the indoor rock climbing gym with a group of local students. Besides sport activities, they organise other things as well. For example, last week I learned how to bake Apfelstrüdel and Knödel. Austrian food is quite delicious.
Austria is in the middle of Europe, so it’s perfect for trips to Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. I have been on some weekends trips to Switzerland and Slovenia and did a longer road trip through Italy. I have been travelling around with friends I have met here but also visited lots of friends who I met in Australia when they were there on their exchange semester. It’s so cool catching up with people in the other side of the world and get to see where they live.
I have only 2 months left. Time has gone so fast and before I know I’ll be in the airplane back to the Sunshine Coast. But before it’s over, there will be many more epic and unforgettable adventures.