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 Aloha Spirit

Exploring Intercultural Communication in Hawaii

Caroline D. Kennedy
UMD Student Caroline D. Kennedy spells her name in shells on a beach in Oahu.
The island of Oahu

My name is Caroline D. Kennedy. I am a communication major and this month, I am one of 26 UMD students to take part in Professor Michael J. Sunnafrank's Intercultural Communication Practicum class. The purpose of the class is for students to immerse themselves in Non-European/American cultures and participate in intercultural communication with members of those cultures. Our destination is Hawaii, where we will focus on the native cultures there.

After a long flight, our group finally arrived in Honolulu. Coming from a state that allows blizzards to happen in May, the weather was more than appealing. Learning to surf the next day wasn’t too bad either.

And although laying on the beach the whole trip wouldn’t be awful, we will be a busy group constantly moving. We will be staying on Oahu for the first few days then moving to the Big Island of Hawaii to stay at an old Plantation house in the community of Pahala.

Before leaving on this trip, all students were required to read three books about the history of Hawaii. It is amazing to think that all this history was kept out of the textbooks. The people of Hawaii are truly fascinating, and their history is even more astounding. The skills their ancestors acquired to live are still impressive to this day. They had superior fishing, agriculture and crafting skills. From the intricate head dressings and robes to the clever ways of trapping fish, everything seems to impress me. Although I have only been here a few days, Hawaii has managed to win me over.

Coming from a true Minnesotan, I have to say that “Minnesota Nice” has nothing on this place. The second we arrived in Hawaii, we were ohana, which in Hawaiian means family. They are the most giving people I have ever met. I cannot imagine falling in love with this place more, but I am sure it will happen.

For all of you back home, listen to the amazing musical duo Hapa to get the feeling of being in paradise yourself. Stay tuned for more adventures! Aloha! Hapa on YouTube

Written by Caroline D. Kennedy

Edited by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann,

UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830

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Last modified on 04/22/11 02:36 PM
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