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Nā Ala ‘Ike Hawai‘i

Hawaiian Experience Pathways

Please direct all questions to your Exchange Coordinator

Global Exchange
Todd Shumway - (808) 932-7488 - shumway@hawaii.edu
National Student Exchange
Kadian Shaw - (808) 932-7389 - uhhnse@hawaii.edu

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What is it?

Nā Ala ʻIke Hawaiʻi is a special program for UH Hilo exchange students that will immerse you in the unique culture and environment of Hawaiʻi, and guide you through an experience with the power to transform your cultural understanding and sense of place in the world. Through coursework, service and other activities, you will strengthen your respect for diversity, deepen your self-awareness and gain greater understanding of the indigenous culture of Hawaiʻi, while offering your own skills to the land and people of Hawaiʻi. 

Make the most of your Exchange: Immerse yourself in Hawaiʻi’s land, history, culture & language.

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How the Program Works

Completing the Balanced Pathway, Ke Ala Waena, is simple, and requires the following steps:

  1. Enroll in and complete at least 1 Core Course.
  2. Participate in at least 2 Service Experiences.
  3. Earn at least 15 total credits (ʻai ʻike) through completing courses, service experiences and other activities (see chart below)
  4. Write and submit a 1-page reflection paper.

Completing Additional Pathways

To complete one of the four focused Pathways, at least 7 of the 15 ʻai ʻike must be earned in the chosen area: ʻĀina, Moʻolelo, Moʻomeheu, ʻŌlelo.

Below, you will find a list of the courses and activities that earn ʻai ʻike. Each circle equals one ʻai ʻike (credit) for the corresponding focus area, indicated by color as follows:

Green Wave ʻĀina   (Environment) []

Red Wave Moʻolelo (History) []

Yellow Wave Moʻomeheu (Culture) []

Blue Wave ʻŌlelo (Language) [

Please Note: Other events may qualify for ʻai ʻike. Contact your Exchange Coordinator to learn more.

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The Complete Pathway

For students on a full-year exchange, seeking an intensive immersion experience, the Ke Ala Piha Pathway is available, and requires completion of all four focus areas_._ If you are interested in this pathway, please contact your Exchange Coordinator immediately to begin planning.

5 waves Ke Ala Piha (The Complete Pathway)

Ke Ala Piha is an rigorous Pathway requiring completion of each of the four focus areas and providing significant exposure to the land, history, culture and language of Hawaiʻi. Ke Ala Piha is a year-long Pathway, and therefore 2 core courses, 4 service experiences, and 30 ʻai ʻike are required.

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Five Pathways

Purple Wave Ke Ala Waena This is the most basic Pathway, introducing you to the land, history, culture and language in a balanced way. In addition to the required service experiences, you will experience Hawaiian chant, dance, and song, as well as basic knowledge about the history of the people and land of Hawaiʻi.


Kaua'i Aina

Green Wave Ke Ala ʻĀina

This Pathway is designed for students whose primary interest is how the physical landscape intersects with the cultural elements of Hawaiʻi.  Experiences will focus on how Hawaiian culture and tradition relates to land, sky and sea.


King David Kalakaua

Red Wave Ke Ala Moʻolelo

Following this Pathway will provide a foundational understanding of Hawaiian history, including the rise and rule of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the complex questions of sovereignty and statehood.


Hula Kahiko

Yellow Wave Ke Ala Moʻomeheu

With an emphasis on culture, this Pathway will lead you to numerous experiences in oli (chant), hula (dance) and mele (song), as well as social patterns and ancient traditions - many of which are still an important part of life in Hawaiʻi today.


Hawaiian Newspaper

Blue Wave Ke Ala ʻŌlelo

If you have a sincere interest in the language of Hawaiʻi, this Pathway will provide you significant language experience, as well as access to the cultural knowledge embedded in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.

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Available Courses

Please Note: Other events may qualify for ʻai ʻike. Contact your Exchange Coordinator to learn more.

Reminder:

  1. Enroll in and complete at least 1 Core Course.
  2. At least 7 dots of a single color to get corresponding Pathway
  3. Participate in at least 2 Service Experiences.
  4. Earn at least 15 total credits (ʻai ʻike) through completing courses, service experiences and other activities (see chart below)
  5. Write and submit a 1-page reflection paper.

Hula class

Core Courses (1 Course Minimum)

GEOG 107 Hawaiʻi in the Pacific: Broad focus on culture, land and language, service trips required Note: Also qualifies as one Service Experience.

HAW 101 Elementary Hawaiian I: Intensive language course, strong introduction to ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.

HAW 100A Hawaiian Language in Action: Accessible 2 credit course, emphasis on chant, dance and song.

HWST 111 Hawaiian 'Ohana: Broad overview of culture and history, some chant and dance.

HWST 211 Hawaiian Ethnobotany: Introduction to names & significance of Hawaiʻi’s native plants.

HWST 213 Hawaiian Ethnozoology: Introduction to names & significance of Hawaiʻi’s native animals.


Additional Courses

BIOL 156: Natural History & Conservation of Hawaiʻi

GEOG 332: Geography of Hawaiian Islands

GEOL 205: Geology of Hawaiian Islands

HIST 284: History of Hawaiʻi

MARE 140: Hawaiian Coral Reefs

Kohala Volunteer April header

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Service Experiences

Break Thru Adventures Week-long Spring Break service trip,

Spring Sem. Only

Note: Qualifies as two Service Experiences.

Kīpuka Māla Program
Campus service day & orientation to the Kīpuka māla (garden)
Kīpuka Service Day
Day-long service trip, connected to Hawaiian culture & history
Kīpuka Sailing Day
Day of canoe sailing & paddling on Hilo Bay, Fall Semester Only
Kohala Service Day
Global Exchange & NSE service trip to Kohala Mountain
Keaukaha Service Day
Global Exchange & NSE service trip to Keaukaha in Hilo

Other Activities

Mixed Plate Event
Dinner and small group sessions on language, culture & history
Merrie Monarch Festival
Premier Hula Competition hosted in Hilo, Spring Only
Hula Class at the SLC
Semester long recreational hula class at the Student Life Cent.
Hawaiʻi: The Untold Story
Presentation on often unknown elements of Hawaiian history
ʻImiloa Navigation Festival
At ʻImiloa celebrating Polynesian “Wayfinding”, Fall Only
Kīpuka Māla Day
Friday afternoon service opportunity at the Kīpuka māla (garden)
University Canoe Club

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