The do’s and don’ts of student adventure time!

Guess what… university is out for the year! We made it! Guys and girls… we did it! Can you believe it? We now have months to relax and enjoy whatever we want to do. We are as free as a bird!

Now, I can imagine quite a few of you adventurous and fun-loving students are going to be heading out of here now that your tertiary education journey for the year is over. Let the travel and self-discovery journey begin!

adventure time - student travel


  • Mention you are a student as often as possible! People often love to help out students when they’re travelling, because they know what it’s like trying to see the world on a student budget.
  • Keep a notepad with you and take it everywhere so you can write down things you like or things you want to know more about.
  • Try to book everything in advance. Once you’re in Europe, a good last-minute travel option is!
  • Keep your student ID on you at all times. It will serve you as well as your passport.
  • Prepare some fun university stories to tell your hosts or the local barista. By sharing your experiences you’re likely to make new friends and maybe even get shouted a coffee!
  • Take lots of photos 


  • Take your textbooks everywhere you go unless you have to.
  • Book your flights last-minute as there may be hidden fees.
  • Get lured into buying cheap ‘local products’ you think you’ll be able to resell. Do some research and use your head. You are a university student after all! When you get home, customs may not clear those great bamboo chairs you bought for $20 that the seller promised you’d be able to resell for $200.
  • Be so attached to your tour guidebook that you miss experiencing the places you travel to for yourself. You are a student, so explore and learn everything you can about the places you visit based on your own experiences.

The most important thing I have learned about travelling the world as a student is that there are a lot of incredible people out there and most of them are kind-hearted. Many of them WANT to help us struggling students, especially in places like Germany where higher education is FREE. Use your head, be smart and think before you do anything, but it can be OK to trust the people you meet.

When you get home after travelling, remember to share your adventures with others so that you inspire them to go on their own. My mission in life is to be able to tell my stories to my grandchildren and to tell them that my adventures helped others to go on their own.

clock  - uni student travel

If you don’t want to make the commitment of starting your own travel blog or website, there is a website dedicated to helping people share their lives, adventures and stories from stranger shores (

With that, I think I can leave you brilliant people. I wish you the best of luck with your travels and will hopefully see you next year for the next round of study. Who knows, by then you guys might have a few travel tips to teach me!

We only have a limited amount of time on this earth, so let’s make it as amazing, magnificent, magical and awesome as it can be.

Live it. Write it. Inspire – José R. Bishop.

How to travel on a student budget

Hola amigos!

Bienvenidos to another installment from the travelling student. Are all of you as excited as me that we only have 1 month left of university this semester? How incredible is that… I just feel like dancing!

Ok, fine, I won’t dance…

Now is probably the time all of you intelligent and adventurous people are gearing up to travel on your summer breaks. When I talk about my life as a travelling student people often get confused and say ‘but students are poor, how could they possibly travel?’ Travelling doesn’t have to be as expensive as everyone thinks. Of course, you can pay the $4000+ premiums to get an all inclusive ‘Euro Trip’, but I don’t really consider that travelling. If you’re keen to do some real travelling on a student budget, then follow me!

Before a trip I break down my expenses into 3 categories to ensure I don’t go burning a hole in my bank account.

1. Flights
Flights are mostly standardised, but if you pick it right, spend time checking the dates and play the waiting game, you may be able to snag a $850 return ticket from BNE to CDG (Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris) like I did. However, this is very much a luck/timing/preparation thing. Also, don’t leave booking your tickets until you have only one week before your departure, as your flight could end up being double the standard price (depending on the distance you are travelling).


2. Accommodation
This depends a lot on when and where you are travelling to, but as a student you can find great rates for accommodation with youth hostels, couch surfing or even try your luck with a work away, where you do jobs in order to pay for bed and board. (Follow up story of mine in a Castle in South of France to come.)


3. Activities and living expenses (day-to-day)
Once again, if you are visiting a small town in western Ecuador you wont have much need for this, but if you are bopping about London town you will definitely need a larger wallet.

One way I have been able to slice my expenses down is by:

  1. Using my student card as much as possible (people understand what it’s like) and
  2. Cooking at home. This is a lot cheaper than going out to restaurants for every meal.
  3. By offering to wash dishes in a restaurant in exchange for cooking lessons or use of the kitchen, you can learn how to make a special delicacy from each place you visit. I have done this, and I now know how to make Pain au Chocolat, Baguette and marvelous patisserie products.


STA student travel
Finally, there is one service that really helped me on my journey as a student. I recently flew Paris to Brisbane for three quarters of the price on Emirates thanks to STA travel.


Not only do they provide cheaper flights and great customer service, but you can get an ‘International Student Identity Card’ which has served as an ID for me all around the world.

Moreover, on a global scale it offers over 42,000 discounts in 125 countries and 40% off international airfares from their website. Locally, STA offers exclusive deals for their members, along with 20% off 2500 restaurants and cafes within Australia. With your STA discount, you can also get $11 movie tickets, discounts on software and a FREE ISIConnect travel sim card. The list goes on, but I’m sure we all have study to get back to…

I can already picture us sitting on the bouncy chair of an Emirates/Qantas flight to an exciting destination in a month’s time.

Adios for now, and happy studying!

We got this.

How I study while travelling the world

Kaixo zer moduz? (Hi, how are you?) It’s the zany circus writer again, this time writing from a deck chair in a maze of hundred-foot bamboo, drinking a ‘Chai of the Tiger’ after packing for my birthday of travelling escapades this weekend.

Happy birthday to me…

Jose's birthdayStudying while travelling, how is it done?
The majority of people in this world believe travelling and productivity don’t go together. Mes amis, I am living proof that they can blend as well as Ben & Jerry’s and watching The Notebook! Unfortunately, as I value your wellbeing, I must tell you that (like eating a liter of B&J ice cream), it is not easy. But it can be done!

Being a successful travelling student is about making the decision to do the preparation and work. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

Choose the right university
Choosing the right university is important in any case, however, it is of paramount importance when studying en voyage. It’s vital to choose a uni that provides you with great online support and flexibility, such as USQ, because you will be on the move.


Choose the right travel buddies
Nobody likes travelling with a bad group of people, so ensure you travel with people you enjoy spending time with but who will also respect you and let you study when you need to. You do not want to have to choose between their friendship and your study goals. Furthermore, you do not want your prior engagements to be a burden on the group; if you travel alone, this doesn’t apply.

Plan, plan, plan!
Make sure that when you leave to go travelling you pack all your necessary textbooks and stationery; you don’t want to have to orchestrate the shipping of a hundred-dollar textbook overseas! More often than not, it won’t arrive in time for that assignment… or at all. Also, make sure that if you need to access online services for your study, your accommodation has reliable internet access.

Doesn’t that view just enthuse the student mind?

Doesn’t that view just enthuse the student mind?

Be realistic and set goals
Before embarking on what could quite possibly be the greatest adventure of your life, make sure to ask yourself, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ If you do, schedule out how much time you will set for study and how much time you will have for exploring your destination. Be realistic. Moreover, set out your goals for each study block. There is no point in sitting down to study for 5 hours and only getting through 2 pages because all you can think about is the local Marrakesh markets outside!

Mo-ti-va-tion time, come on!
Zig Ziglar once said, ‘People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily’. Apart from organisation, motivation would be the most important aspect to ensure you successfully complete your goal of studying while you travel. Thus, you should bring lots of motivational tools. My personal favourite motivational tool is to make a deal with myself, such as: ‘you can go exploring for 5 hours if you complete Module 3’.

Jose basque

Enjoy your time on stranger shores!
Finally, it is really important that when you are touring and exploring places, you enjoy it! You are so lucky to be one of the few people who can travel and learn!

As you can see, studying while travelling is in many ways similar to other student’s lives, you just have to amplify your organisation.

So go and travel the plethora of stunning and exciting places on this earth, while getting a top-notch education. As I always like to say ‘I got a PhD in travel life, without ever stepping in a lecture hall’.

4 Days before my birthday

4 Days before my birthday

Travel survival guide: Your map to enjoying the semester break!

We are almost halfway through semester, which means that the midyear break is fast approaching.  If you want something to look forward to once the hard slog is on hold, start planning your travels now!

Whether it’s a weekend away somewhere nearby or an overseas jaunt, these travel tips will help make sure that you’re prepared for the rest and relaxation or chaos and adrenaline-fuelled adventures you are dreaming of.

1.     Do your research (even if you like surprises)

When going somewhere new, it’s always a good idea to find out a little something before you go to ensure you stay safe and healthy and, for those who don’t like surprises, have a few ideas of what to see and do.  As a minimum, check to see if there are any health or safety risks if you plan to travel overseas – and take action now to prevent them.  You might also want to check that there aren’t any major events happening during your planned stay. If you’re like me and prefer not to pre-book, this makes it rather difficult to find a place to stay on arrival. Trust me, I’ve been caught out more than once!  It’s kind of like approaching an assignment – while it is possible to wing it, you’re more likely to do well if you know the basics before you get started!

packing essentials

2.     Pack light (but have something for all types of weather)

There’s nothing worse than lugging a heavy backpack or suitcase on vacation, only to realise that you don’t use half the stuff you brought with you and need other things, which you left behind. Do you really need 4 pairs of high heels if you’re going to the beach for the weekend? Probably not, but make sure you pack one pair just in case you decide to go out somewhere more formal for dinner or dancing. And make sure you bring something warm – when the weather gets bad, even the seaside can become freezing in summer!  And don’t forget a pair of jeans: you can dress them up or down depending on your shoes, top and accessories. It’s kind of like preparing for an exam. You can’t prepare for absolutely everything, but by ensuring you have a broad understanding and focusing on core concepts, you are more likely to succeed.

rainy day

3.     Expect the unexpected (and hope that they’re only positive)

We all know how good it feels to finally be on vacation after a seemingly never-ending semester. You’re no longer on a deadline… you feel on top of the world! Nothing can get in the way of a great vacation… but just in case, make sure you take out travel health insurance, particularly if you’re heading overseas. In some countries, you won’t be treated unless you can prove that you have the money to pay beforehand and it can be very, very expensive. It’s like that last-minute cramming you do before you walk into the exam room – you might not need it but you will be so thankful you put the extra effort in to swot if you do.

4.     Go with the flow (unless of course it’s free flow all night!)

So you get to the airport and find that your flight has been delayed, or you check the forecast and that bright, sunny beach you were dreaming of is currently being pummelled with rain. Fret not, for vacations aren’t the time for precise plans anyway. Chances are that there’s some great free stuff to check out at the airport (movies, gardens, even slides for adults!) and reading a book from the dry sanctuary of your beach bungalow is still a more relaxing and tranquil experience than you would have if you were at home. Think of it like tackling the ups and downs of uni. You might not always take the path you had planned or get the grade that you strived for, but you gain that all-important knowledge and understanding in the end.. and it is this that sets you free!

keep calm and plan your holiday

I wish you all a triumphant march to the end of semester.  Study hard, but don’t forget to take a break and plan a rewarding vacation to look forward to!

Pinterest isn’t just for girls! How guys are using Pinterest and our top 5 recommendations

Pinterest is a social media platform that has been popular with the ladies for a while now, but did you know that guys are out in force using Pinterest as well?

Pinterest is a great way of collating ideas, recipes and inspiration. It is quick and easy to find content, you can organise your finds any way you want, and they are good to look at too!

6 of the most common things guys are doing on Pinterest are:

  1. Drooling over delicious snacks and meals (and learning how to impress their date with their cooking skills!) #realmencook

brain food

  1. Getting tips for completing home DIY projects

dorm room inspiration

  1. Designing the perfect man cave

study spaces

  1. Dreaming of faraway adventures and planning their next holiday

study abroad

  1. Sharing their achievements with friends #checkitout #goodonyamate

future leaders

  1. Laughing at memes and other silly things


Want more? Here are our top 5 recommendations of things for guys to look at on Pinterest!

  1. Learn how to bulk up with great exercise tips and fitness motivationals


  1. Discover tips to help you study like a pro and ace those exams #yougotthis


  1. Find out how to make your paycheck go further with budgeting tips #studentbudget 

    student budget

  2. Progress your career to the next level with career advice and tips on how to #getthatjob and
  3. Reduce stress by looking at cute baby animals (this may sound girly, but try it!) #toocute


What do you like using Pinterest for?

For more inspiration and tips, follow us at

Happy Pinning! #usq


About me: my application to acceptance

Hello, Bonjour, Hola, привет,

Fellow USQ students and future ones (do it!), I am so pleased to be writing on this blog. My name is Jose. I am a proud USQ student, with a bit of a strange story.

Jose in Paris in USQ onesie

A little while back my family got a call, packed up our house (which was a church), and well… quite literally ‘ran away with the circus’.

For the past 10 years, my family and I have been travelling the seven seas with CIRQUE DU SOLEIL. This dramatic, eccentric mix of circus arts, street performance, world-class acrobatics and rib-crushing comedy travelling company has become my home.

As you can imagine, this lifestyle is not an easy one and changing cities (sometimes even countries) every few weeks has posed a few problems. One of these problems was figuring out how to go to uni, in case someday I decide I want to stop this nomadic lifestyle. As doubtful as this may be, I still want to further my education.

Jose in front of a circus tent

This is why when I received my acceptance letter from the University of Southern Queensland (yes I did a little dance) to study a Bachelor of Business & Bachelor of Commerce EXTERNALLY, I was overjoyed at the realisation that I could continue my insane lifestyle at the same time.

Jose with surf boards

Since then, I have powered through my first semester with ease. This is in part due to the incredible support team at USQ, which have helped me every step of the way, from ordering my textbooks, downloading lectures, to organising how to sit one of my exams in Paris.

USQ has also shown a great deal of support for me to continue my training as an acrobat, providing me entry into the Elite Athlete Program. I am so pleased that now I don’t have to choose between training and study… I can do both!

Jose in Paris - acrobatics

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at USQ for enabling me to open the door to a new path in my life.

No matter who you are I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy your time at USQ and I know they will assist you at every step. Remember: knowledge is power!



From the circus boy, who is now also a proud USQ student.

Jet-set your way to study success!

For regular readers of my blogs posts, I’m sure that my wanderlust comes as no surprise.  Everything I do can usually be related to the adventure, excitement and cultural experiences of international travel and my university study is no different.  Traveling has, in fact, set me up to be a successful student.

tokyo skyline

Let me explain…

When I travel, I often find myself immersed in cultures that I’m unfamiliar with.  I’m also often surrounded by people speaking a language that I have limited or no knowledge of.  Needless to say, the experience can be both exciting and daunting at the same time.  It’s kind of the way you feel as a student sometimes.  You know, you’re so excited at the beginning of semester as you log into StudyDesk, only to find lectures and readings that don’t make immediate sense to you.  They’re loaded with technical and discipline-specific words that you’re unfamiliar with and you feel a little out of your depth.  For all intents and purposes, the readings and course notes could be written in a foreign language with the amount of sense that they make to you on that first day.  But just as I find in the foreign countries I travel within, it slowly becomes clearer and you learn more and more each day.  In the end, you’re left wondering how it could have ever felt foreign to you because you now speak in that ‘foreign’ language yourself and it all feels like second nature.


So now you know what I mean about travel setting me up for study success, right?  Those skills I’ve learned from years of travel are highly relevant and have prepared me to be the best student I can be.  The similarities between study success and travel don’t end there though.  My international jaunts have also taught me how to fight through my tiredness and pull an ‘all-nighter’ when I have to.  You know, you arrive in another country that’s many hours behind the time zone you just came from, meaning that you won’t get sleep until nightfall in your new location – many hours later than what it is in the time zone your body clock is working on.  That ‘all-nighter’ (or more typically, ‘half-nighter’) is a skill I’ve had to utilise a few times when fighting the clock to smash out assignment amazingness.

Uni student thinking

I’ve met a lot of different people in my many years as a travel junkie and I think it would be safe to say that no two people have been exactly the same.  Whether or not an individual appears to be better or worse off than me, the constant is that I can learn something from each and every one of them.  It’s our uniqueness that sets us apart and that same uniqueness that provides an opportunity for learning.  I’ve found the exact same with my study.  Each and every student I’ve ‘met’ and studied with (all online) has helped me to learn and progress in my study.  The collaborative effort and encouragement has been invaluable and set me up for the success that I’ve achieved thus far.

So you see, being a successful student doesn’t mean you have to sit behind your computer, buried behind a wall of textbooks day in, day out.  You can get out there and travel the world knowing that your experiences will set you up to be an awesome student too.  Happy travels!

Your degree can take you anywhere: travelling and studying!

Summer Reading

When thinking of university study, most of us tend to picture students sitting in lecture theatres and listening to lecturers impart their knowledge. We might also visualise the tutorials that follow, perhaps study sessions in the campus library and then the almost obligatory meet-ups at the campus bar. But with USQ, it’s different. Sure, you can study in this more traditional mode if you want, but you’ve also got the choice of travelling the world and taking your study with you. Does it sound too good to be true? Maybe it does but you really can do it! USQ’s online programs allow students to study from anywhere in the world – be it Rome or Paris, the Maldives or Seychelles, Istanbul or Muscat… the list could go on. I am one of those students and yes, some of these are places that I’ve found myself enjoying while completing my degree!


I am currently enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning and am based in Istanbul, Turkey. Although far from Australia, I have everything I need to be successful on this learning journey – computer and internet access and a good dose of motivation (though admittedly there have been times when I didn’t have all 3 at the same time!). Using my student ID and password, I have access to pre-recorded lectures which I listen to at any time of the day or night, online forums where I discuss course content (and sometimes a few other bits and bobs) with my peers and teaching staff, and online library access which links me with thousands of quality books and research journals. I am a bit too far from the USQ campus bar I must admit but there’s a pretty good one just down the road from my apartment which is almost the same!

During the first 6 weeks of this semester, I have taken my study with me on many travels which has seen me in the Netherlands, France and out and about in Turkey. I will soon be on my way to Australia where I look forward to completing some of the practical components of my particular degree. I truly am taking my degree everywhere!


For those of you who have been thinking about studying but worried about fitting everything in around work, kids, travel, Margarita Mondays or whatever else it is that fills your schedule, ponder no more. Studying online gives you the flexibility to go anywhere, any time. You can break up your weekly study into manageable chunks that fit in with your personal schedule, body clock or mental peaks. So what’s stopping you?! Get online and enrol today – you’ll be glad you did!

Studying by distance from another country: 6 tips for studying on the go!

keep_calm_and_study_on_unique_poster_print_design-rde9f2dd6cde6449a9e5d9316c17a5834_wv4_8byvr_512I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I live overseas so am studying by distance.  It’s not always easy, as I’m sure you can imagine, so I thought I’d put together some of my key tips for a successful semester of studying on the go.  While I’ve written them with special thought for those living abroad or who travel a lot like I do, I’m sure we can all benefit so have a read and let me know what you think by leaving a comment at the end!


#1 – Become paperless

Not only will you save the environment and money by not printing things out, you will be much more mobile, which means you can studying anywhere, anytime, as long as you take your laptop with you.  Better still, set yourself up with an online storage cloud.  You can set it up so that your work is synced to your cloud automatically, so you don’t even need to remember to do anything extra.  You’ll then be able to access all of your files from any computer across the globe as long as you have an internet connection (Note: USQ offers online storage space via UDrive though it won’t sync automatically like clouds do).

#2 – Know where to find resources before you need them

Don’t wait until the week before your assignment is due to find out where the task sheet is and how to search online for quality resources.  Check out the various USQ tutorials now and save yourself time and stress later on.  With international time differences it can be difficult to contact support staff (or other students) in real time for help, so it’s important to plan ahead.

#3 – Connect with other students

We all know that studying by distance can be an isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Connect with others in your course through StudyDesk and set up informal study groups (using email or Skype, for example) for support.  While family and friends can be a great support, it’s always nice to connect with someone else who’s also up at 2am trying to get their assignment finished before exhaustion sets in and the rest of the household is awake!

#4 – Develop a routine – but be flexible

It’s easier to get your brain into gear when you’re working to a familiar schedule but as you know, life happens and we can’t always stick to the schedule so it’s important to be flexible.  If you find yourself with a spare half hour before you need to head out for Friday drinks, use it to your advantage.  You probably don’t want to start a task that will require deep thought and a lot of time, but you can do shorter tasks like preparing for tutorials or listening to shorter lectures.  You’ll be thankful that you already did it later in the week when your momentum is slowing.

#5 – Break tasks down into smaller chunks

There’s nothing more daunting than having a 10,000,000,000 word super long essay to write so break it up into more manageable pieces (e.g. read a relevant research article; write an essay plan, develop an introduction).  Don’t forget to celebrate your achievement at the end of each chunk – but leave the weekend long wine appreciation celebration until all of the task has been completed!

#6 – Stop procrastinating!

We all do it.  But for some of us (me included) it can eat up a lot of our time.  Be aware of this and avoid spending all of your time preparing to get your stuff done – start your stuff now.  As in right now – GO!


A balancing act: Studying, travelling, living!


There’s no denying that university study can take up a lot of your time and leave you trying to make that difficult decision between a beer at the pub with your mates or reading that textbook chapter that you should have done yesterday.  In fact, if I were to add up the amount of time I’ve spent pondering such difficult decisions (for me it is travel versus study!) I’d probably be very surprised!  But I am a traveller and if I kept my feet firmly on the ground every time I had an assignment that was due, or a quiz to study for, I would be missing out on enjoying the other part of my life.  There definitely is a lot of work that goes into being a successful student, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy life as well!


I live overseas (in Istanbul, Turkey) and often find myself distracted by new places in the city to explore that I’ve only just heard about or cheap airfares to a destination I’ve already been dreaming about!  I’m also distracted when the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, or The Mentalist is released.  And then there was the rare type of snow (thundersnow – yes, it is a real thing!) that recently fell on this beautiful city – I just had to go out and play in that!  Having previously tried to ignore such wonderful distractions, I found that I was becoming a bore (in my own words of course – my friends were too kind to tell me this!) and was heading towards burnout.  And that’s why I made the decision to live a little too.  I am a person after all and being a student is only one part of me – I am a Grey’s Anatomy fan (to name but one tv show!) and traveller extraordinaire as well!


There was a time last semester when I was trying to write an assignment and getting nowhere.  I just couldn’t get ‘in the zone’ and the hours were slowly (very slowly!) ticking away.  I was drowning in persistence, but progress was non-existent.  Eventually I had had enough and decided to watch an episode of one of my favourite tv shows.  I watched two episodes in fact.  And you know what?  Right after that I was transported into ‘the zone’ and I was able to write a fairly decent draft of that assignment.  It was this experience that made me realise that I had been denying myself so many of the usual relaxing times, these other things which make up ‘me’ as a person and it had affected my ability to study.  All I needed was a little fun and relaxation and I was back to being a productive student again.


But what does that mean for you, you might wonder?  Well, next time something fun comes along, don’t immediately deny yourself the occasion simply because you are a student.  Live in the moment – give yourself the gift of enjoying the other parts of your life alongside your study.  Of course you can’t do this every single time – you need to find the right balance after all.  But you can choose wisely: if you feel like going to the cinema, choose a shorter movie; if you want to go to a restaurant for dinner, choose one with fast service (and don’t order a whole bottle of wine!); if you want to take a trip abroad, choose a nearby destination to save time travelling… or do as I do and take your textbooks with you and study on the plane!


There are plenty of ways to enjoy your life while also being a dedicated and successful student and it’s really important to find the right balance.  I’d love to hear your stories and tips on the balancing act of being a student and nurturing the others parts of your life!