I didn’t know much about Hilo before coming here, but it didn’t take long to fall in love with it. The culture shock began on campus, where strangers said hello to me left and right and a friendly cleaning lady asked me to call her “Aunty.”
Five weeks later the various aspects of the laidback nature of the locals still never cease to surprise. As an exchange student for one semester, the thought of leaving in 13 weeks saddens me greatly: I can no longer imagine falling asleep without the soothing acapella of coqui frogs: or looking up at the sky back home where I’ve never seen a single shooting star; or seeing rainbows after a long warm rainfall.
What I love the most about UH Hilo are all the chances we get to explore Hawaii and Hawaiian culture on the weekends. The Outdoor EdVenture Trips like Paddle Boarding or going to Hapuna Beach are always something to look forward to during the week and they are never a letdown.
One of my favorite trips so far was a volunteering trip to the Kohala Mountains where we helped rid the rainforest of non-native ginger plants – we saw a beautiful view from the high mountain; we had a bumpy ride in a four-wheel drive through a herd of cows; we saw parts of the rainforest that not every local gets to seel and we helped native Hawaiian rainforest species by sickling away overgrown ginger plants which was oddly satisfying and relaxing.
I know that my time here will be amazing and I will go on many more trips, Hawaii can make even the most dormant of people embrace the spirit of carpe diem.
This was originally published: http://uhh.abroadoffice.net/res/saoffice_static_pages/3056/s-October%202012.pdf