My name is Sarah, I am 24 years old, and I’ve just completed my semester abroad with an integrated double degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast, in cooperation with my home university in Heilbronn, Germany. Together with two fellow students from Germany, I lived in Australia for four months. To sum up my experience in Australia; you will only regret the trips you did not do.
My journey began in Germany with a stopover in Dubai, flying to Brisbane as the final destination. Brisbane is about an hour away with car from Sippy Downs, but it can also be easily reached by train from Landsborough. The public transportation card, which is called a ‘Go Card’, is provided by the public transport system of Queensland and makes it easy for you to top-up money onto your card and use the bus transportation at any time of the day. Since we only spent one semester Australia, we did not buy a car, but occasionally we rented a car for short trips, or when we had visits from Germany. A little hint here: to be on the safe side, get an international driver’s license beforehand!
Before the semester started, we have already looked for accommodation near the campus. We used www.flatmates.com.au to search for an apartment and had enormous luck in finding a beautiful house. The three of us lived in this house with a middle-aged Australian. Since he works the whole day and the house offered enough space with a pool and a tennis court, he was glad that we provided some life back into the house. We especially liked the experience of living together with a ‘local’ person. Not only that, but you get to know the ‘barbie’ (BBQ) culture and speak with a local accent! The location of our accommodation also offered us the possibility to get to the university or the student accommodation complexes (which are located right next to the university with just a 5 minute walk). At the student accommodation (Varsity & UniCentral) you can hang out with your fellow students, do sports together, or simply just enjoy your time by the pool.
Let’s talk about fun facts:
By no means, your fun and free time will not be neglected during your stay at USC! Especially during Orientation-week, at the beginning of your semester, it prepares you well for the time here at USC – so don’t miss out! For those who like to go out at night, you can take free shuttle buses from the student accommodations to Mooloolaba on Thursdays (about 15min drive), and on the weekend, the nightlife in Ocean Street located in Maroochydore should not be missed out on!
Furthermore, during the semester there was no shortage of travelling. Australia offers exciting nature, breathtaking beaches, and especially an excellent infrastructure which enhances the possibilities to travel around. Obviously, everything needs be coordinated with your class schedules and your assignments, but if you stay organised, you can easily travel within the semester. Since the Sunshine Coast is beautifully located between Cairns and Brisbane, you can travel the entire east coast of Australia within two to three weeks with stops. Below Brisbane, there are also beautiful corners to see, such as Gold Coast and Byron Bay! We often went somewhere for weekend trips and now, including our big road trip that we went on in June.
The USC campus is absolutely inviting you to spend time there, due to its nature, kangaroos and modernity. It is a great location to study! The study system is different than in Germany, since you sometimes have to take exams and may have more ‘paperwork’. In the classes that we took, we had a total of 10 reports/essays and two exams, but they help you to improve your academic English.
My whole stay in Australia was more than fantastic, and I will remember that experience for my life time. Especially the Australian culture is very positive, and many friends will accompany me in the future. So, in the end, all that remains is to say: Australia – I will miss you!