Attending the University of Hawaii at Hilo was unlike any other education system I have ever been involved in. UHH treats their students as family, or as the Hawaiian’s say “ohana”.
The professors at the university are welcoming and easy to talk to. You would think they were all guidance counselors, they’re so nice! The professors take the time to get to know every student and are always offering a helping hand to make sure you feel comfortable. On my first day, my history professor noticed my Boston accent and asked how my flight was knowing that it was a long exhausting trip. He spent ten minutes of class time giving me tips on how to be more comfortable when flying. He wrote down the names of medicine I should try. He truly cared about my safety and my comfort level. He was pleased to have me in class, and what’s even better is that he treated every student like this. No favorites, just a genuine heart from a genuine person.
Yes, I mentioned History class, but don’t let that fool you. UHH offers classes that will teach you about the amazing Hawaiian culture. I wish I was able fit Hula Dancing in my class schedule. Thanks to the Hawaiian EDventure team I was able to see the techniques up close and personal after they performed at the university. The team dances to honor Pele, the goddess of the volcanoes. Every where I turned on campus I was enriched with culture.
The teachers and students even wore the culture! What I mean is, if you have a flower print skirt, or for a men; an Hawaiian shirt then you will fit right in. The ladies’ basketball team embraced the fashion memo. Usually one would think female athletes as being tom boys, but in Hawaii fashion is so easy and fun to dress for the warm weather and follow the school’s vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.
Heading outside the classroom, there was so much to explore! The school offered trips around the Big Island every weekend. The island even has their own exotic zoo. My five other girlfriends and I felt like we were in the jungle visiting the Hilo Zoo surrounded by huge trees, bamboo, different colored flowers, and hearing all unique animal sounds.
If we got hungry there were plenty of fun options around Hilo to try. My favorite place to go was the Hilo Farmers Market. The Big Island Food Blog recommends the Hilo Farmers Market as your only place you need to shop. You couldn’t get the fresh taste or the fun experience anywhere else. The vendors there are always pushing new excited food your way. I have learned how to open a coconut, make homemade guava slushes, and taste baked coconut; all from the Hilo Farmers Market.
All exchange students would agree that the experience at the University of Hawaii at Hilo was unforgettable. I was there for a short five months yet felt part of the school’s family. I involved myself in new cultural activities and experienced a more relaxing way of life that I hope to continue. Do as the Hawaiians do. Jessica, another NSE student; National Student Exchange, said that the experience exceeded all of her expectations.
UHH is a small school to 3,500 students. The professors are able to know each student on a personal level through the small class sizes, a low faculty-to-student ratio that provide opportunities for research and hands-on-learning. It was the BEST experience of my life. Other reviews, blogs, and websites I have researched have positive reviews to back up my opinion that UHH is an extraordinary college.