Meet 2 students who have become fast friends since connecting on Facebook and becoming a part of the program, A Semester in Hawai‘i at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Whitney Grathwohl from Missouri and Brittany Klein from Long Island, New York are sharing a semester in Hawai‘i and enjoying classes at UH and the sites in Honolulu. Already tan and acclimated in 3 short weeks, the girls have been to beaches and the zoo, gone hiking in Manoa and surfing in Waikiki. They’ve even hit the books, studying for their many classes at UH.
Brittany’s home school is Penn State, which is much larger than UH. “People (at Penn State) are more stressed, looking for internships and jobs, and they are very involved with organizations on campus.” At Penn state she is part of the “No Refund Theatre” group and an a cappella singing club called, “NOTA” (None of the Above). She describes people here at UH as more laid back and friendly and “doing their own thing.” A Human Development and Family Studies major, Brittany decided to attend the ASH program months ago and has a boyfriend who attends the Shidler College of Business at UH. She is organized and active and has already found a job on campus. Furthermore, Brittany is enjoying classes, thinking of becoming a career or relationship counselor, and is most looking forward to swimming with the turtles in the beautiful waters here in the islands.
Whitney’s path to UH is a quite a bit different from Brittany’s. Whitney, who is a sports science and psychology major, applied at the last minute, finding the program through a search on line. Looking for a change of pace from going to school in the small college town of Moberly, Missouri, Whitney acted spontaneously after discovering the ASH program and quickly made her decision to spend some time in Hawai‘i. She was also a college athlete, running middle distance track, until an injury cut her running career short. The road to recovery has been difficult, and the adjustment to life without running and competing is on going. She is using this semester in Hawai‘i to stir things up and reevaluate her life. With plans to do more surfing, visit the North Shore, snorkel at Hanauma Bay, and hike Stairway to Heaven, Whitney will have lots to do to keep things exciting.
Seeing life through these young women’s eyes is wonderful. Every day is filled with hard work, discovery, and lots of fun. The future is bright, wide open with possibility, and, at least for a semester, full of sunshine and warm breezes.