The Study Abroad Newsletter

Volcano Exploration

By Tomoka Yarita | International Exchange Student: Tokyo Gakugei University

Aloha kākou. I came to Hawaiʻi from Japan in August 2021 as an exchange student. My major in my home university is education, and minor in geography. I've had many valuable experiences since coming to Hawaiʻi, but among them, being in contact with nature and feeling the power of the earth is what will last a lifetime.

Did you know the Kīlauea volcano is erupting now? I never thought I'd be on the Big Island during the eruption, but what good timing! One of the Kawili Kine events was to learn about the Kīlauea, and I received a lecture on volcanic activity and the geology of Hawaiʻi from a geology professor at UH Hilo. I was also able to go on a field trip to the Kīlauea. In this excursion, we went to many kinds of spots with a unique explanation by the professor.

Volcano Fissure

It was not easy to learn English, my second language. Still, I learned about the traces of lava flows, minerals, and even the names and meanings of plants. When I learned about Hawaiian volcanoes in my high school geology class in Japan, I thought vaguely that I wanted to study geology in Hawaiʻi someday, including fieldwork. So I'd like to thank Kawili Kine Cultures because I never thought that my dream in high school would come true.

This program gave me many opportunities to see many fascinating features of Big Island such as going to Mauna Kea to see the sunset, stargazing, and having a driving tour of Hilo. On the Big Island, there are so many kinds of beautiful nature and deep history. It's fun to explore nature without thinking about it, but learning about precious nature and history once in a while is extremely valuable and has broadened my values and way of thinking.

Student Looking at Lava Rock