How to travel without taking a gap year - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Parent Lounge Update

How to travel without taking a gap year

18 Jun 2018

Taking a gap year to travel is a growing trend among many school leavers. But while experiencing a different place and culture can be a great learning experience for any young person, it doesn’t necessarily have to stop your child from starting university. There is a way your child can travel and complete uni at the same time through USC’s Study Overseas Program.

What is Study Overseas?

USC has over 70 partner institutions internationally which enables students who are 18 years or older to complete either a short-term study visit (for work-integrated learning activities such as workplace learning, special research projects, internships, professional placements, study tours, and language immersion) or for a semester of study. To be eligible to travel for a semester of study, students will need to have completed at least one year (8 courses) of study at USC before they apply, however this may not apply for students wanting to apply for short term study. Students also need to check that their chosen degree offers the Study Overseas option (this information is listed on the ‘What will I study?’ for each USC program web page).

What financial help is available?

Setting off on a gap year can take a bit of saving and planning financially. However, if your child chooses to complete some of their uni study overseas, there may be financial help available.

There are grants and scholarships (such as the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan initiative and Endeavour Mobility grants) which can help fund travel and in-country living costs for students who are studying overseas. In addition, students may be eligible to apply to Centrelink to continue to receive payments while they are overseas.

In addition, OS-HELP is a Commonwealth Government loan program that provides financial assistance to eligible students wishing to undertake part of their Commonwealth Supported program overseas. This loan is provided interest free but may be subject to indexing. In 2018, the maximum students can borrow for a six-month study period is:

  • A$6,665 for study in non-Asian countries
  • A$7,998 for study in Asian countries
What is it like to study overseas?

USC Environmental Science student, Dave Clancy recently returned from spending six months in the very picturesque Sogndal, Norway where he studied Outdoor Education and Nordic Friluftsliv (A Norwegian term for an outdoor way of life). Dave said it was an unforgettable experience.

“Deciding to uproot from where you live and move to the other side of the world for six months brings on a number of emotions – it’s exciting and daunting at the same time,” Dave said. “I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I made friends and became comfortable in my new home.”

Dave says he especially enjoyed the hands-on approach of his overseas course.

“The educational approach here places a high value on authentic/real life experiences and I certainly encountered plenty of them – hiking countless kilometres through mountains, forests and roads; picking way too many wild blueberries and raspberries; sea kayaking around the islands in western Norway; making friends with stray sheep and goats; walking and climbing in and on glaciers; seeing the Northern Lights, and endless hours of fishing and general campsite activities,” Dave said.

Now home and on-track to complete his degree at USC at the end of the year, Dave says he hopes other students will consider studying abroad.

“All in all, studying overseas is an absolutely incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone – it is a great way to satisfy the travel bug whilst studying,” Dave said.

You can read more from Dave and further stories from students who have been on exchange at USC at the Student Life blog.

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