What Being on Exchange in Hawaii is Like

Aloha all the way from Hilo, Hawaii!

For a little over a month now, I have been on exchange studying at the University of Hawaii at Hilo through the National Student Exchange Program. Saying I love it here would be an understatement. The weather is obviously an upgrade from a Midwest winter. I love the sunshine just as much as the warm rain. Hilo is actually the rainiest city in the U.S. coming in with nearly 150 inches of rain yearly!

My weeks are spent going to class and doing school work and doing things in Hilo. I’ve gotten a bike since being here and the nearest beach is only about four miles away! There is also a pool on campus that is easy to go to in between classes. I’ve also enjoyed hanging my hammock between two palms near the edge of campus.


Lounging in my hammock near campus (attempting) doing homework.

Luckily, I don’t have class on Fridays so every weekend is a three day weekend for me! Weekends are really the time to get out and see more of the island. The school actually offers free weekend trips every weekend that go to places all over the island. We’ve gotten to go to in a submarine, visit volcanoes, beaches, and waterfalls. There is so much to do here and it’s pretty hard to be bored here.


Volcano National Park at night is the only time you’re able to see the glow of the lava. During the day, although a beautiful sight, all you can see is smoke.


Carl Smith is favorite beach in Hilo because of the free roaming turtles. Although you aren’t supposed to touch them, they are very friendly and will sneak up on you!


The mouth Rainbow Falls which is located about three miles from campus.


Feeling giddy being 110 feet below sea level in a submarine. We got to see loads of neat fish and shipwrecks.

Campus is a lot different here than Iowa State. It is a lot smaller and whenever I tell someone my home campus has 36,000 students they think I’m crazy! Being here makes me appreciate Iowa State’s D1 sports atmosphere, gorgeous buildings, campus, and the beloved design program!


Abbie and I representing Iowa State, talking to students at the University of Hawaii Hilo and telling them all of the reasons on why they should study at Iowa State for a semester!

All in all, I think that everyone should definitely look into the National Student Exchange program! It is a cheaper option to studying abroad and still gives students a way to travel and see the world. If you want more information, stop by 1080 Hixson-Lied Student Success Center on Wednesdays at 12:10 for an informational session. Otherwise, call 515 294-6479 or email nse@iastate.edu to set up an appointment!

Shine on,

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