Dispatch #2 from Hawaii, Beyond Tourism

The January Interim Experience class brings students beyond the typical tourism-centered Hawaii, focusing on day-to-day life on the islands.
Posted on January 24th, 2019 by

Students meet with Hilo mayor Harry Kim.

Marie Osuna is a sophomore English and psychological science major from Forest Lake, Minn. This month, she is traveling with a group of classmates as part of the January Interim Experience course “Hawaii, Beyond Tourism” with professor Kate Knutson.

Aloha from the Hawaii, Beyond Tourism trip!

I am writing this update from Hilo, Hawai’i, where we have been immersing ourselves in local life here on the island. We are now out of the comfort of our resort in Kona and staying in a hostel here on the eastern side of the island. Our days have been busy and tiring, but every experience has been worth it.

The group dined with Gustie alumni Dick ’55 and Joann ’56 Lundborg.

One of the first things we did when we got to Hilo was meet with Mayor Harry Kim. It was a unique experience to hear his perspective on the issues we have been reading about in our articles for class and the local newspapers. We also have done quite a bit of hiking, including down a long path to a black sand beach. It was breathtakingly gorgeous.

In addition to spending lots of time outside, we visited the ՝Imiloa Astronomy center, where we learned about the night sky above Hawai’i. We also got a crash course in island geography, with our presenter using some fancy technology to compare the Hawaiian Islands with other Pacific islands.

However, some of the best learning opportunities on this trip have been completely unplanned. During a free afternoon at the beach, a group of students found a sea turtle trapped with fishing line around its fin. The students found a sea turtle rescue hotline to call and got to witness volunteers come out and help save the turtle. That’s certainly something that we never could have seen in Minnesota!

Professor Kate Knutson and students take a selfie after a class session at their hostel.

Another unplanned stop was visiting professor Kate Knutson’s fathers’ hobby farm here in Hawai’i. We got to pick delicious fresh fruit right off the trees, with many of us trying some tropical fruits for the first time. It was an amazing and delicious experience, and the fruit tasted even better than what we’ve purchased from the local farmer’s market

Finally, we ended Sunday night by watching the eclipse on the beach together. It was amazing to see the super blood moon from the warmth of Hawai’i, and to spend more time together as a class. We’ve all been getting really close during our time together and will probably be best friends by the time our two-week adventure in paradise is over.

More updates next week!


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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