Washington, D.C.: Embassy Event

Submitted by Kyle Jenkins on the 2022 spring semester program in Washington, D.C. …

On Thursday, February 24th, my colleagues and I attended an event at the Embassy of the Czech Republic; Prague. This immersive experience commenced with opening remarks from the Czech Ambassador himself. We then learned about the capital Prague, with a brief slide show presentation. Afterwards, we gathered for a live opera performance of Prague’s most famous songs and anthems. We eventually ended the night with an intimate dinner of Prague’s greatest dishes. This was just one of the many embassy events to take part in while studying in Washington, D.C.


Hawaii: Harmony

Submitted by Maddison Alt on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

This week had some of my favorite activities yet. We went on another boat excursion to Kealakekua Bay, and in my opinion, it was the coolest snorkel outing on the program. The water was crystal clear, and the corals were incredibly tall and complex. It was like swimming through a little city. Seeing an absolutely massive school of goatfish just feet below you, and coming up to swim in the middle of a school of needlefish, made me feel like I was just part of the environment. The sheer diversity of the fish here was mind-blowing, and it was interesting to swim through warm or cold spots caused by freshwater mountain runoff combining with the salt water. It makes for very blurred visibility in one spot, and completely clear water in the next. The one thing I wanted to see more than anything was an octopus, and right at the end, I got to achieve that goal. It was the first time snorkeling where I didn’t feel like an invader, I felt like part of the ecosystem—just letting the currents take me between coral towers and over huge groups of yellow tang or black triggerfish.

This week was the last week, and as heartbroken as I am to leave, I feel like I learned even more than I expected in the two classes I took. But the most important lesson, learned in this very unique classroom, was how to truly live in harmony with my surroundings.

Hawaii: Mauna Kea Volcano

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…
Aloha! One of the highlights from this week was visiting Mauna Kea Volcano. This was a really cool experience to witness the beauty of the Island. Many people on our program went to the volcano and hiked to the viewing spot right before sunset. Together, we watched the sunset from above the clouds which is something I had never done before. I was really surprised by how vibrant the colors of sunset are once the sun sets below the line of clouds, I always assumed the most vibrant colors were where the sun was.
After sunset, we stayed at the high elevation and watched as the stars came out. It was amazing seeing how vibrant the stars were. We were able to stay at the viewing point and identify all of the constellations that were visible. I really enjoyed pairing what I learned in class about the topography of the island with all of the plants and animals we saw climbing in elevation up to the viewing point!

Hawaii: Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Submitted by Megan Perdue on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

We have just gotten back from Hawai’i… and I want to go back already. While in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, we went to a botanical garden rain forest. I was completely obsessed with the Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden. The flowers, trees and wildlife here were gorgeous. We looked at many different plants and learned about their origin and properties. I loved how vibrant the colors were. After spending a long time at the gardens, we drove to Akaka Falls State Park. Here, we walked through a trail that had lookout spots as we got closer and closer to the huge waterfall. We all took pictures, and I took one “drinking” the waterfall.

Hawaii: Missing the Aloha Spirit

Submitted by Abubakarr Bah on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics…

Now that I’m back home, I do miss the Aloha spirit. When I was in Hawaii, everyone seemed chipper from the tourists to the locals. It could be due to the warm weather, but everyone was nice and friendly. Even my classmates, we all got along well like a family. I could chat up a local cashier or waiter and they would give me suggestions on shops, talk about who’s winning the NFL games right now, or ask about my experiences on the island. The island was teeming with life. Now back in Delaware, I barely even see people. It’s cold and nobody wants to talk to strangers. The only sound you hear is cars going super loud down the highway. Even at stores the cashiers say have a good day, but they all seemed annoyed and ready to clock out. It makes you really appreciate the quiet peaceful time you have when visiting a new place.

Having class on a field near a beach with one of my classmates explaining a topic.


Hawaii: The Big Island

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

Aloha! This past week we transitioned from Oahu to Hawaii (The Big Island). This was a really cool week to compare everything about both of the islands we had been on so far. One of the main things we studied this week was the volcanic rocks on The Big Island, and how the whole Islands structure is different than Oahu. My favorite part of the week was going to Volcanoes National Park. It was so interesting to see how the plants and animals living in the park were so drastically different than other islands in Hawaii.

Something that I didn’t expect was how different parts of the Big Island were to each other. Right after visiting Volcanoes National Park and admiring how rocky and dry it was, we visited the Botanical Gardens which were lush and filled with vibrant plants. I really enjoyed seeing the difference between the two islands ecosystems as well as the difference in plants based on location on the Big Island.

An Orchid found growing out of the volcanic rock in a very dry hot area.


Hawaii: Oahu

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

Aloha! This week in Hawaii, we travelled all over Oahu. My favorite part of this week has been visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center. The center did a great job of teaching guests about the culture of the Polynesian Islands as well as doing it in a fun and engaging way. I really enjoyed walking around to all of the different islands and seeing how differently each of their cultures developed. I wasn’t expecting for the experience to be as interactive as it was, but many of the staff members at the Center called people on stage to actively participate in games and activities related directly to the culture of the island.

I am very grateful to have been able to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center, gaining a better understanding of how the culture used to be, and how it has developed today. It definitely gives me a lot of insight and understanding about differences of culture going into the next week on the program.

Picture of the architectural roofing structure you would find in Tonga.

Hawaii: New Foods

Submitted by Quinn Curro on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics…

One of my favorite activities during the trip included the Luau. I got to experience Hawaiian culture like the dances and songs. This was one of the most fun things I did on the program and I already want to go to another one. The performance was so lively and enjoyable, which was in front of the beautiful ocean along with dinner.

During my study abroad, I tried so many new foods, which is something that is unlike me. I am a very picky eater and tend to eat the same things over and over. So, I branched out and decided to try new fruits, vegetables, and other dishes I have never had before. I even discovered some new food that I thought I never liked before that I actually like now.

Hawaii: Coffee

Submitted by Nya Wynn on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

This week in Hawaii, one of my favorite things we did was visiting the Greenwell Farms Coffee Plantation. I did not have any expectations going in, but I found the tour very interesting and was blown away by all the intricacies that go into growing, processing, and selling coffee. We learned all about the history of the farm and how coffee originally came to Hawaii. We also got to see all the drying houses, coffee trees, and sorting stations. There were so many trees, but we learned that Hawaii only represents 0.4% of the world’s total coffee grown which was so eye- opening. Our tour guide also explained that due to various coffee diseases, including leaf rust, the farmers will plant other types of fruit trees in order to diversify the farm, making the plantation less susceptible to disease outbreak. Finally, we got to sample all the coffee they produce at the farm and had a blast trying to taste all the nuances of different flavors throughout the different types. Overall, we had a great day at Greenwell Farms, and as our tour guide said, “life’s too short for a bad coffee,” which will be my new mantra.

The greenhouse they use to nurture the young coffee plants until they’re strong enough to be planted.
The drying house where they lay the coffee beans out to dry for multiple days at a time before they’re processed and sold.
All the different types of coffee we got to try!


Hawaii: Class on a Boat

Submitted by Stella Galli on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

This week, I had the best class of all time: class on a boat! There were water slides, food, and a beautiful underwater sanctuary to explore by snorkeling. While snorkeling, I saw two sea creatures I had never seen for the first time – an octopus and a shark. Never before would I have thought I wouldn’t be scared to be right next to a shark, but after everything I have learned so far in Hawaii, I had no doubt that seeing a shark would not scare me! In fact, I was eager to get near it and experiencing that with my classmates was extraordinary.

While this boat class sounds like nothing but a good time, I was able to learn a lot about what I saw and take note of the many beautiful fish I viewed while snorkeling. I hope one day to snorkel in this same area again, and I highly recommend it to anyone!. This class will always be remembered to me as the best one I will ever have (probably ever again).