Chelsea Keister from Shippensburg University in the US studying abroad at USC Sunshine Coast

AU zoo roosMy name is Chelsea Keister and I am studying Biology at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania (USA). I made the decision to take a semester away from home to go down under at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), and it was the best decision of my life. My university at home offered me a variety of options to choose from when I decided I wanted to study abroad, and right away I knew that Australia was where I wanted to spend my semester. From there, I enrolled directly to USC and my home university helped me with that process whenever I needed it.

I found that my courses here at USC were a lot more relaxed than the courses I had at home. For my science courses at home, I can expect to have four exams throughout the semester along with lab work and other smaller assignments and quizzes. Here, however, most of my courses consisted of one project and a final exam which gave me so much more time to explore.

Before I came to Australia, I made a list of all the places I wanted to see in Australia as well as the other countries I wanted to visit while I was here. Unfortunately, I was unable to do everything I wanted to do because of the corona virus, but that just forced me to dive deeper into the Sunshine Coast and discover all of the amazing things the area had to offer. My favourite things about the Sunshine Coast include:

  1. kangaroosNoosa National Park: This was my absolute favourite place on the Sunshine Coast, and one of my favourite places I have ever been to. The views here are phenomenal and there is so much wildlife to see every single time you go here—I even saw a wild koala! I was lucky enough to skydive over Noosa, and it’s even prettier from the sky which I didn’t think was possible.
  2. The Australia Zoo: I heard so many amazing things about the Australia Zoo before coming here, but my expectations were blown out of the water. Every day I spent at the zoo was a good day, whether I did an animal encounter with a rhino, cheetah or giraffe, watched a croc show at the Crocoseum, or just hung out with the kangaroos at Roo Heaven it was always the best time.
  3. Glass House Mountains: I climbed Mount Ngungun and while it was a pretty tiring hike, the view from the top made it all worth it.
  4. Tim Tams: I don’t think anyone who hasn’t tried one will truly understand how good they are. I am obsessed.
  5. The wildlife: The Sunshine Coast has so many amazing different species of wildlife. I spent so much time taking pictures of all the different animals and I will cherish them forever.

While my time here in Australia is finishing up, I am planning last minute trips to the Whitsundays and Sydney, but the Sunshine Coast will forever hold a special place in my heart.  My experience studying at USC is unforgettable and I am so blessed that I was able to experience this beautiful country.

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