Students from Windward Community College will go global next year through new study abroad trips to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and England (United Kingdom) as well as through student-initiated independent travel.
The trip to Aotearoa will take place during spring break from March 24 to April 2. Led by WCC Hawaiian studies instructor Makanani Salā, the program will give students the chance to experience the language, culture and food of the country.
Students will also tour North Island and venture through Auckland, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and the Hobbiton movie set where the Lord of the Rings series was filmed. Salā hopes students will connect with the host culture.
“I want this trip to help students expand their worldviews on different topics,” she said. “Aotearoa is a beautiful place to visit, and it feels almost like home. The Maori culture is so similar to the Hawaiian culture and yet it’s not … They have a very strong sense of national identity.”
To prepare for the trip, she recommends that students register for HWST 296: Special Topics in Hawaiian Studies – Encounter Traditions in Polynesia. The cost of trip is about $2,500.
The two-week trip to England will be from July 10 to 23, during which students will participate in workshops on acting, voice, movement and Shakespeare Performances.
The trip will also include viewing three productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company, an organization that creates live theatre in the shape of Shakespeare’s work.
“Shakespeare is one of the most influential writers in the English language to this day,” WCC theatre instructor Nicolas Logue said. “We still perform his plays because, more than most, it catches the human element so eloquently. I want the students to see that firsthand.”
The excursion also include fun detours to the Tower of London and the Royal National Theatre, among other sites.
“England is also a city full of rich history from things such as the Tower of London to ancient churches,” Logue said. “We’re gonna experience it all.”
To prepare, he and trip leader Taurie Kinoshita recommend taking THEA 296: Special Topics: Shakespeare next semester. The estimated cost of the program is $1,700.
Sarah Hadmack, WCC assistant professor of religion and a member of the school’s International Education Committee, said the new study abroad trips are “fantastic opportunities” for students to get a taste of a different culture.
“These trips are especially wonderful for students who have always wanted to travel abroad but can’t afford to spend 15 weeks, like usual study abroad programs, in another country,” she said.
Hadmack studied abroad in England and has done field work in places such as India, Taiwan, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Canada.
“Some of my fondest memories and greatest personal growth occurred while studying abroad … it makes history come alive. It also helped me develop greater personality traits such as empathy, perspective and adaptability.”
Hadmack also believes that students will gain more than just knowledge by studying abroad. She said studies show that students who study abroad gain self-confidence, increased maturity and better understanding of their own cultural values and biases.
“They gain a frame of reference for understanding the world from traveling abroad,” she said.
One WCC student who is looking forward to the personal growth studying abroad can bring is Cynthia Lee Sinclair.
With funding from the Gilman and Honda scholarships along with student loans, she has organized her own study abroad trip next semester to 10 countries spread across three continents.
“I am going to New Zealand to our sister campus (Te Whare Wānanga O Awanuiārangi), then I am going to Rome then Geneva then Paris then Berlin then Oslo then London then Edinburgh then all of Ireland then Canada,” Sinclair said.
A former victim of domestic violence and the student representative for the campus sexual violence prevention committee, she will conduct an independent cross-cultural study about violence during her travels.
“I will be doing a study comparing the way different cultures deal with social issues like domestic violence and child abuse,” she said.
For the past two years, she has been in school studying to be a social worker. She hopes to make a career working with domestic violence victims.
“What I am looking forward to the most is the adventure and the chance to learn important things about my future career in the counseling field,” she said.
As a United Methodist pastor, she already has experience serving domestic violence victims. She hopes the findings from her independent study can contribute to the efforts to end domestic violence globally.
“I’m doing this for several reasons, one to realize the dream to be able to reach across borders and join hands as a global community to fight against these important issues,” she said.
Hadmack has been Sinclairʻs coordinator, helping her get approval from other WCC faculty so that she can earn college credit for her independent study project.
“My advice to other students wanting to study abroad is to just start at the new study abroad center that we have here on our campus,” Sinclair said. “The people in charge of it are very experienced and wonderful about helping.”
Many study abroad programs can be applied as independent study courses at WCC. Independent study will allow Sinclair to fulfill graduation requirements while abroad.
“I will be sending back stories each month to Ka ‘Ohana about my travel,” Sinclair said. “I hope everyone will follow my travel blog.”
How to get involved
For the organized trips to Aotearoa and England, there is no definite deadline for signing up yet, but Hadmack says it will be announced next semester.
Students who are interested in studying abroad can visit the school’s study abroad website at www.windward.hawaii.edu/study_abroad.
All students have to do is fill out the application on the website. There are no application fees.
Interested students may also contact Hadmack at email@example.com or by visiting her in either Palānakila 140 or Na‘auao 114 for more information.
by Joshua Farias and Taylor James Kipapa, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Repoters