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Some students need to take a plane to go ‘back to school’

KA‘ANA MANA‘O

Our University of Hawaii Maui College campus is going to look quite different Monday than it has for the last couple of months. It will be filled with the sights and sounds of returning students and our new freshman class. It’s a scene that will be replicated at thousands of campuses across the country and around the world.

Many students, including some of our own, will be traveling far from their home campuses to participate in Study Abroad, a program found at colleges and universities everywhere. Here at UH-MC, we’ve made it an integral part of our college’s master plan. As our globe gets ever smaller, giving students the opportunity to study abroad and bringing students here to Maui rounds out their education, sets them up for future success, and helps to make their dreams of foreign travel come true.

This fall — in a much expanded version of the exchanges we’ve sponsored in the past — we are sending seven of our students off to Japan and Okinawa for a two-semester exchange program. And we’ll be hosting seven students from Japan here at UH-MC. We’ll welcome three students from Meiji Gakuin University, two from the University of the Ryukyus, one from the University of Toyama and one from Aichi University.

Our students, by the way, had to apply directly to their chosen universities and had to meet their acceptance requirements. It is a diverse group with a wide range of interests and reasons for wanting to study abroad.

“Cesar Rodriguez is not your typical Study Abroad student,” says Stephanie Ohigashi, who administers our program. He graduated on May 9, earning an associate degree in automotive technology, and will leave for Meiji Gakuin University’s International campus in Yokohama in about 10 days. His parents came to Maui from Mexico in the early 1990s; Cesar was born and raised here. “I was the first in my family to attend college,” he says. (His twin brothers are now attending UH-MC; one is studying administrative justice, the other wants to be an electrical engineer.) He has a unique and focused goal for his time in Japan.

“I eventually want to be a car importer” says Cesar. “There are certain models of Japanese cars we never receive and there are lots of people here who want those models. I want to be the person to facilitate that. There’s no one in Hawaii who does it. So during my semesters in Japan, I want to learn the language, make some connections and take some business courses.”

Lana Yoshino and Jevan Lee Tengan Buchwald will also attend Meiji Gakuin University’s International campus in Yokohama. Lana will major in applied business and internet technology and Jevan has registered for courses in creative media.

Royce Duldulao, Aidan Sohm and Mason Rabanal are all sophomores and will study on the island of Okinawa at the University of the Ryukyus in Naha City. Royce and Aidan are enrolled in liberal arts courses, while Mason will major in applied business and internet technology.

The final student in this fall’s Study Abroad cohort is Janmel Dumayas, who graduated on May 9, earning his associate degree in liberal arts. He will attend Hakuoh University in Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture and plans to take classes in business administration. Janmel is enthusiastically looking forward to his experience.

“I feel very honored to have been accepted,” he said. “I plan to immerse myself in the Japanese culture and participate in traditional activities such as tea ceremony and calligraphy. I will share the aloha spirit of Hawaii with the people I meet on this global educational journey. I want to thank UH-MC for making Study Abroad opportunities available for our local students.”

We wish all seven of these outstanding students huaka’i maika’i, safe travels, and a glorious once-in-a-lifetime experience in Study Abroad. We’ll look forward to welcoming them back to UH-MC in 2020.

Recruitment for Spring 2020 Study Abroad is now underway. For complete information, please contact Vice Chancellor Debra Nakama at 984-3515.

To learn more about all of UH Maui College’s programs of study, please visit maui.hawaii.edu/programs-of-study/.

* Lui K. Hokoana, Ph.D., is chancellor of the University of Hawaii Maui College. “Ka’ana Mana’o,” which means “Sharing Thoughts,” appears on the fourth Saturday of each month. It is prepared with assistance from UH-Maui College staff and is intended to provide the community of Maui County information about opportunities available through the college at its Kahului campus and its education centers.