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.
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.