Tim Halberstadt from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Germany studying a Diploma in Business at USC Sunshine Coast

IMG-20200220-WA0030G’day everyone! My name is Tim Halberstadt, I am from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Sankt Augustin, Germany and was able to achieve the Business Diploma at USC during my stay in Australia.

I initially heard about USC from a friend who spent a year in Australia. Luckily, the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is a partner university of my home institution, and thus, the application process was less complex. After I chose USC as my preferred place of study, I had to hand in a motivation letter, as well as an application form. I didn’t have to contact USC directly, instead, all the communication was fulfilled through intermediaries at my university, which made the whole process easier. Furthermore, my university did a good job at informing me about possible scholarships. After my application was accepted, I needed to choose a professor as my contact person at home and the courses that interested me the most.

Since I wanted to achieve the Diploma of Business, all the courses I was able to choose were business-related. To deepen my knowledge in finance, I chose “Business Finance” as my first course. As a second course, I selected “The World of Tourism, Leisure and Events” to gain insight into the tourism branch, which is not taught at my home university. Thirdly, I chose “Consumer Behaviour”, since I have always been interested in the consumer’s psyche, and lastly “Igniting Entrepreneurial Talent”, because starting my own company is something I have been thinking about for a while now. In general, I have a good impression of all the courses I was able to attend during my stay. While I feel like Germany is more conservative to a certain degree, the Australian way of teaching felt fresh and innovative. A good example is the ability to attend courses online, blackboard with its helpful features like the discussion board, or regular Kahoot sessions during lectures. In general, organising felt more convenient. Especially after the COVID-19 breakout, being able to continue studies online, as well as being able to perform online exams became a beneficial aspect. In general, it was a huge upside that the needed infrastructure was already in place to study online at USC.

Luckily, before borders closed and restrictions were put in place, I was nevertheless able to experience exciting trips in Australia. First, shortly after my arrival in Australia, I spent a couple of days in Sydney and was able to discover it’s various beaches, the blue mountains surrounding Sydney and the city itself. In the blue mountains, I could see the immediate impact of the Australian bush fires with my own eyes and experience how fast nature is able to recover. Secondly, I spent a weekend at Byron Bay which is a small, lovely town on the western shore. At Byron Bay, I joined a walk to the town’s lighthouse and was able to try surfing for the first, but definitely not the last time. Lastly, I was able to travel to Fraser Island for a three -day camping trip. On the island, we were able to freely move with a Pick-Up truck we rented before our trip. The trip to Fraser Island was one of the most exciting things I have ever done in my life. The experiences ranged from close encounters with various animals like Dingos and lizards, swimming in one of the islands heavenly lakes, to experiencing what freedom feels like while driving a car at the beach. To put it in a nutshell, I highly recommend all the trips I have undergone to anyone who is slightly interested, especially a trip to Fraser Island.

After restrictions were put in place and uncertainty concerning COVID-19 began to spread, it became a lot harder to travel and after a lot of thinking I decided to return to Germany earlier than originally intended. Even though I had to return, I was able to finish my semester abroad online from Germany, which is kind of ironic. Luckily, COVID-19 and the shift in time didn’t turn out as problematic as I was expecting. USC made learning abroad possible since most of the lessons were recorded and the professors were kind and understanding.

All in all, even though I was a victim of bad timing, I nevertheless enjoyed my short stay in Australia and would highly encourage everyone to engage in a similar adventure.

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