15 Feb 2022
The recent re-opening of Queensland’s borders was welcome news for University of the Sunshine Coast international students who had been unable to return to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among those returning this week is American Matthew Mills, who is excited to continue his PhD research that aims to improve the way that coral reefs are surveyed and monitored.
“I completed field work in Guam in early 2020 and was supposed to return to USC in July that year but could not get back for a year and a half,” Mr Mills said.
"It is finally hitting me now that I will actually be returning, and I am looking forward to it.”
While in Guam awaiting the border reopening, Mr Mills continued his investigations into a type of red algae and collected data to generate 3D models of local reefs to determine their structure, complexity, and other factors.
“The health of tropical reef systems is declining worldwide. The results of this study could present a method of monitoring that is both faster and able to cover significantly more reef area compared to traditional survey method,” he said.
On arrival in Queensland, Mr Mills plans to find a car and a place to live, and then explore the state. He expects to stay on the Sunshine Coast for about a year while he completes his PhD, supervised by Dr Javier Leon and Associate Professor Andrew Olds.
Head of International at USC Alex Elibank Murray said the Queensland border opening allows for the return of current students waiting offshore as well as the opportunity for new international students’ applications for study at USC from Semester 1, 2022, with the official starting date Monday 28 February.
“This is great timing, not just for international students to return, but for others overseas to consider studying in Queensland,” she said.
“It’s an excellent outcome for international students and for our campus communities, where the students live and work.
“And for research students like Matthew, it means they can continue helping to solve real world challenges.”
Ms Elibank Murray said USC was ready to provide extra support for international students during the application and enrolment process, and to help them settle into their local communities and the semester ahead.
USC has more information available for international students on its website.