If you want to experience many cultures at once, enjoy high-quality lectures, and feel the sunshine, going to the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH) as an exchange student is for you. Based on the experience of Shin Jun-hee (03, Dept. of Mass Communication) who studied in UH for spring semester, 2008, The Sogang Herald introduces UH: located in beautiful Manoa Valley, just outside downtown Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu.
First of all, the rather unique feature of UH was respect shown to different cultures and backgrounds. "There are many kinds of people. Especially, since the majority of students were Asian-American, the atmosphere of UH was quite Asian-friendly," said Shin. In fact, there are students from various cultures like Pacific Islanders, Asian-American, Caucasian and Native Hawaiian. A more important fact is that they use fluent English. "It was a great chance for me to contact with such a variety of cultures and people, and I could also learn English a lot in UH because they spoke great standard English as it is."
Compared with Sogang University's relatively harsh curriculum, that of UH is quite loose and yet solid. Although it is not considered a first-tier university, UH is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as having "Very high research activity" and is particularly famous for its department of English Education. Also, the student-faculty ratio is only 16:1. "While Sogang University requires many things of students, UH only required freewill participation. So I could enjoy my own time, like traveling other Hawaiian islands!" Of course we can learn many things from university lectures. However, many things like the diversity of cultures and the huge world of Hawaii can be learnt from the outdoor activities, and of course, you might have a big interest in enjoying a semester with bright sunshine and tickling waves than in studying. Fortunately, Waikiki beach, the well-known seaside is very close to UH. Waikiki is just a few minutes drive by car about the same distance between Sinchon and Chungjeongno.
"Although study was my purposes of going abroad, meeting a variety of people and enjoying a great time became another pleasure. I hope to call that time as a kind of vacation," said Shin. Not only for Shin! As Hawaii celebrates at the beginning of the New Year by setting off fireworks, the time you take a UH-bound airplane will also be the start of your "vacation" rather than of a boring semester.
By Wee Dae-yoon firstname.lastname@example.org (Editor of The S.H.)