11: Cultural Differences

Nellie: One of my favorite things about UH Hilo is diversity. I came here alone, but I was able to make a lot of friends especially from Japan, China, Korea, Micronesia, Samoa as well as the Native Hawaiians and people from the mainland. So I’m so excited and I am not homesick anymore.

Renee: And as for me, my favorite is the food. Here the food is so delicious because you know back home there’s no fast food and stuff, but anyways the Hawaiian and local foods are amazing. It’s my favorite. And also being an ISA officer is also my favorite because I have the opportunity to work with other groups in different cultures and also meet new people. So that’s why I really love here.

Hitomi: My favorite thing at UH Hilo is very small classes. We can interact with professors very easily and professors remember every student’s name, face and personality. And also really easy to make friends too. So, I think this environment is the best way to study.

Quang: What I like about UH Hilo is that you can imagine the campus is just like a big family, a big house, every student is a member of a family. And every activity takes place inside the campus, like when you hungry you can go to cafeteria or dining hall or if you want to do exercise you can go to the gym. I really like doing exercise–look at my muscle: even though it’s small, I think ten years later I will become bigger than Angelo.

Angelo: One thing I like about this campus, I like so many things but one thing that stands out is outdoor adventure. UH Hilo provides outdoor adventure where international or national students, you can get a chance to explore the island to go to different places of this island and you get to see so many things. One thing is the lava flow, no where in the world but here.

Imelda : Mine is I think the International Nights. I love International Nights. It’s an event held every year in UH Hilo and you have a chance to watch performances by different countries. It’s just amazing, you should watch.

Han Sang: I think the most challenging thing here was school work. There are several reasons. First, because English is not my first language, it was hard for me to understand the professors and the lectures. And another thing was, I choose to study a different subject from what I used to study and those are other reasons. The last thing is, U.S college has a different teaching method from where I’m from. For example, In Korea professors are just talking and teaching so it’s basically a lecture base. But here, students and teachers can discuss in the class. But now when I look back, even though it was a hard thing for me, it was such a great experience. Thank you.

Imelda: I think staying away, far away from my family is the biggest challenge for me. I do feel homesick when I came here for the first two and three months. But however I found a way to overcome is to engage in many activities like International Student Association and Geography Environmental Science club, so I do feel better now although I do still miss my parents and my sisters.

Hitomi: Mine is, I didn’t have a culture shock, and I didn’t have a homesick. I think one of the reasons is Hawai’i is really similar as Japan. Like food is very similar: spam musubi, sushi, or those stuff is similar. And also people knows Japanese culture very well. I think I really shift change Japanese life to Hawai’i life, I could do very easily.

Renee: Well for me, It’s the same thing. I didn’t get homesick, is that I wanted to live independently. So I really enjoy being here, also I have a lot people that are also from Micronesia, so it made me feel not getting homesick or culture shock. And also the environment here is also same as the environment back home. So pretty much, I never had some difficulty, it was really good and I also like to wanting to meet new people. Being the Volunteer Coordinator I’m in it’s really good position for me because I’m friendly and I like to meet new people from new countries.

Quang: One thing that I’ve experienced when I first come here is that I feel lonely because I don’t see any Vietnamese student here and everybody speaks English, different culture. I also miss my parents, my family and my country. However, after one or two months I joined different clubs, make new friends and study. Also helped to keep me busy and I don’t have a lot of time to miss my family. And especially making new friends from different cultures was a good experience for me.

Angelo: One of the main challenges for me was when people talk in English, really fast like when I learn English it’s slow. But when I got here it’s completely new. It’s like a new language but the good thing is, you are immersed with the culture and the language so it’s easy for you to adjust with the language. I believe that in two or three months to really adjust with the language.

Annabelle: The biggest challenge for me when I first came here was financial management. Back home, I have my mom and my dad, my family; they manage everything for me even when I was in college. But then when I came here I had to learn how to be independent and it was hard. So I started looking for a job, but it wasn’t easy. I looked everywhere and thanks for International Student Services I got my first job and then went on to my next job, which is my current job at Admissions and it’s pretty great ever since.

Nellie: Well, my biggest challenge was time management. Back home we call “PNG time” or “island time,” and we come up late and stuff like that. But I had to cope with that and I’m working on it right now. And also one of the biggest challenge was to manage my studies as well as other student activities that were going on campus because there are a lot of activities going on and you really have to manage it and put your priorities first to maintain your grades as well as enjoy your life here.