When the ELP program organized by the Language Education Center (LEC) started, I knew that if I got a good score, I could go to Hawaii. At first, I thought that the LEC sent students to Hawaii during summer vacation with the results of 1st semester. So I spent most of the time studying, concentrated to the class, and tried my best. As it turns out, it wasn’t! I figured out that 2nd semester is also included in evaluation. Besides, there was a presentation contest in the 2nd semester. LEC said it gives students huge extra points. To go to Hawaii, I prepared for the contest hard, advanced to finals, and finally got 3rd prize. It was a bit of a task to prepare, but well worth the effort.
Even after the contest, there was still an interview to go to Hawaii. On interview day, they asked me about my reason for applying, so I answered that I cannot go next year because I’m a sophomore (ELP program is for freshmen, and sophomores). On the big day, I got a message when I was putting a food tray down. I passed! I was so happy so I screamed in spite of myself.
<3 weeks in Hawaii>
After getting through the process, I finally went to Hawaii. Hawaii had many different things compared to Korea. At first, the climate was so hot. Korea’s summer is humid and hot, but Hawaii was dry and hot. Also, the consciousness of Hawaiian was different. Koreans live busy lives but Hawaiians are so relaxed. When people were crossing the street, pedestrians were prioritized unconditionally, and I didn’t have to stand before the bus stops. Also, Hawaiians were so kind even though they didn’t know me. I later found out that this kind of attitude was called ‘Aloha spirit’.
While taking the 3 week language course at the University of Hawaii, I felt my English ability was enhanced. Before going to Hawaii, Soo-jung Kim, the director of the LEC said, “Hawaii is for applying English in the real-world, so study before going to Hawaii is important.” I totally agreed with her, and tried to say a lot. First, I had some difficulty because English isn’t my mother language, but I felt my English was becoming natural. Especially, among all the activities, the scavenger hunts were really good. I interviewed foreigners, wrote down the content, and took photos. It helped me a lot.
Lastly, I had some time to get along together with other students and enjoy Hawaii’s attractions and hotspots. We went to various kinds of attractions like Diamond heads, Polynesian culture center, and enjoyed some activities that we can’t do in Korea. There was also individual time to enjoy, but together was more fun. At first we arrived at the airport, there was an awkward silence between us, but finally we became intimate.
<Finishing the story>
This language program created momentum that I feel more familiar with English. I hope many students enjoy and experience these kinds of programs.
Young-geun Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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