This is Kula Kukonu and she is a junior at HPU. Along with her communications major, she is minoring in writing. She was raised in Ewa Beach, but currently lives in Waianae.
1. Why did you decide to stay on the island and attend HPU?
Because it was cheaper, LOL. Interestingly enough, my mom is an alumna of HPU and from what I heard from her, it seemed like HPU would be a good fit for me because of the large amount of international students and small class sizes. Diversity and individualized attention are important factors for me and HPU offers those two components so I found a great fit!
2. Why did you choose to study in communications and minor in writing?
Since I was a child, I’ve always been interested in language and how we communicate with others and the world we live in. My grandparents recommended communications as a major for me, so I followed their advice and they never fail me :-) Also, it’s a field that allows for flexible career choices. Peers and professors encouraged me to take on a minor in writing, and I don’t have anything to lose by challenging and improving on my writing skills.
3. How has college helped you in any way?
For me, college is not something I regret. It was also something that I knew I was going to pursue at a young age, so for me to be close to accomplishing this goal gives me a sense of purpose and self-fulfillment. College has given me challenges so I could learn how to rise above them, and it’s also offered opportunities for me to learn more about myself as a person. I also discover new paths that I can take in my life as I continue through college; it’s numbing, but also reassuring because I know that I have choices in my life.
4. What was the most memorable thing you’ve done at HPU?
Studied abroad. Improved on public speaking. Made friends from all over the world.
5. How was studying abroad?
AMAZING. I studied abroad in Costa Rica for two weeks on an HPU faculty-led program in the summer; I was in South Korea for the Fall 2017 semester. The short-term study abroad was more like a vacation because I wasn’t there long enough to have acquired significant impacts when I returned home. But after South Korea, I came home a different person. My study abroad experience there allowed me to live on my own for the first time ever, especially in a different country. I had many first experiences that I always wanted when I entered college like having a roommate, living away from family, living with friends as your neighbors, live on my own. Those were important experiences that I wanted to have when I started college but couldn’t because I live with my family. It gave me a new sense of independence and growth as a person. I also learned more about myself and I ended up checking things off my bucket list and doing things I never thought I would do.
6. Do you recommend students to study abroad?
110% yes! Especially for students who are reluctant to study abroad. I say this because I feel as though these types of people will learn to appreciate their own culture more, and understand and broaden their perspective. If you get out of your comfort zone and experience new things, then it would be easier for you to face your own fears and doubts of the world—at least, that’s what I believe.
7. Where are your favorite places on the island?
Vita Juice (best acai bowls), Manoa Falls Hike, Ala Moana.
8. What’s your dog’s name? Such a cutie!
Pucci (pronounced poochie).
9. What’s the deal with the picture by the trash???
It’s symbolic—sometimes reality is waaaaaaaaaaay lower than your expectations, so learn how to rise above it.
If you see Kula at HPU, don’t be shy! Please feel free to say hello or even ask her for more details about her study abroad experience in South Korea.