My name is Philip Kirkbride. I’m a college graduate from Ontario studying at AU. I’ve always wanted to do an exchange program or study abroad but never found the right time to do so. This is the story of how Athabasca University has allowed me to create my own study abroad program. In the last part, I talked about the experience of being in Las Vegas? Money2020 Hackathon.
After a relatively cold October in Quebec City, all I could think about was landing in Honolulu and hitting the beach. In a few hours I’d be there. After a quick flight from Vegas to LA I caught my connecting flight. A friend had given me some United Airlines drink coupons so I decided Mai Tais, served only on flights to Hawaii, would be the appropriate choice.
As we descended on Hawaii the woman in the seat next to me pointed out the islands, naming them for me and giving a brief description of each. There are eight major islands. We flew over the volcano on the Big Island, passed Maui, an island with lots of beautiful beaches That’s popular as a romantic getaway, and Molokai, an island populated mostly by native Hawaiians?a great destination for those looking to be immersed in authentic Hawaiian culture.
We then descended on Oahu, the most populated island of Hawaii, and where I’d be spending the next four days. It wasn’t long after landing that I learned my first Hawaiian word. The shuttle bus at the airport is called Wiki Wiki meaning “quick-quick”, or very quick. The drive between the airport and Honolulu was scenic, spotted with plant-covered mountains, palm trees, and solar powered bungalows.
When I arrived at Waikiki Beachside Hostel around dinner, the sun was out and the temperature was perfect. For the $35 a night, the room was great and included a full fridge and stove (shared between four people). There are several tables set up out back where guests use the wifi, exchange stories, and of course drink. Sitting out back You’re bound to meet a few interesting people. I got some tips on things to see in the area from a Swiss woman who had been traveling the Hawaiian Islands for four months while writing a book in German.
The best feature of the hostel?by far?is its location one block from Waikiki Beach. Waikiki is Hawaii’s most popular beach, not to mention one of the world’s most visited beaches. Waikiki is full of tourists from around the world, shops, and of course surfboards.
I spent the majority of the next day writing for class and The Voice Magazine in the shade by the beach. With the amount travelling I’d be doing, a day at the beach was no excuse not to work on my classes. Every hour or two I’d take a quick swim in the water to recharge. As the warm sun beamed down I found myself wishing Hawaii was my final destination. The reality was I had three more days in Honolulu before Matt and I would catch a flight to Sydney, Australia.
As the sun set I sat on the beach drinking a beer. A live band with Ukulele played traditional Hawaiian music at a nearby bar. After a few songs I packed up deciding to call it a night. Tomorrow would be a busy day, and there was lots left to see on Oahu.