Kahele to share Hawaiian culture with Japan

Hakuoh International Study Tour recipient and Windward student Elena Kahele

Hakuoh International Study Tour recipient and Windward student Elena Kahele

With only seven slots available for the Hakuoh University International Study Tour, WCC’s own Elena Kahele was selected for the nine-day summer home stay program in Oyama City, Japan.

Kahele will be participating in the program from June 5 to June 14. While there, she will be learning about Japanese culture while also sharing her own cultural background, which is Hawaiian.

Kahele learned about the program from WCC geography professor Toshi Ikagawa, who visited her history class to tell students about different study abroad opportunities.

“I dance hula and my group has always gone (to Japan) to perform,” said Kahele. “I myself haven’t been there before, so I thought it’d be a good opportunity.”

The UH community college system (UHCC) and Hakuoh University will be working together to subsidize expenses for the participating students. UHCC will pay for $500 of the airfare and Hakuoh University will pay for all of the lodgings and most of the meals.

Students are expected to pay for their own personal expenses, such as their passport and gifts.

“Have they had this before? If they did, I wouldn’t have waited until my (third) year (at Windward) to go,” said Kahele.

To apply for this program, students are expected to be enrolled full-time at a UH community college and are required to have completed at least one semester. Applicants must be Hawai‘i residents and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Participants are also required to complete oral and written reflections while abroad and must submit a paper within one week after returning from Japan.

While Kahele is a little nervous about sharing her own cultural background with a group of strangers, she’s also very excited to be participating in the program.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “I really can’t wait.”

by Eric Levine, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter