One Month in Hawaii
On August 28, 2017, at 6 o’clock in the morning, I boarded a plane that would take me from Innsbruck to Frankfurt. This was just the beginning of a 27-hour journey to my destination, which was Honolulu, on the island of Oahu and also the capital of Hawaii, USA. Never before, had I been so far away from home. Hawaii, from where I live, is practically the other side of the world and oh my is it a beautiful one. I stayed for a total of four weeks, which means I got to see and do so many incredible things and make so many extraordinary memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
But how did I end up this far away from Austria? Why choose Hawaii? And why on earth did I go all by myself?
Education, Travel and Holiday
Firstly, it is really important to say that I didn’t just book a flight and spent four weeks all alone exploring the islands of Oahu and Kauai. I went to Hawaii as part of and educational programme, that would allow me to improve my English and travel, both at the same time. The company I booked this summer-school like programme is called EF (Education First). They have lots of different locations all around the world, where you can travel to and learn or improve languages like English, German, Spanish, Italian and even Japanese (just to name a few). It also doesn’t matter how well you already know the language, they offer classes for A1 (complete beginner) to C2 (almost native) level students. And don’t worry, you can choose a language programme that suits you best: they offer summer programmes, which give you lots of time to travel and explore, general courses (which still offer plenty of free time) and an intensive language programme, which is best if you really want to get into a language. Also, you can stay for as short as just two weeks, but also spend months in just one (or multiple) destinations.
For my trip to Hawaii, I choose a general course, as I wanted to see as much of the islands as possible. I had class 5 times a week, each time for about three hours. The cool thing about Honolulu (and also other EF locations) is that you can choose special interest classes, which vary from place to place. I chose to learn how to play the Ukulele and let me tell you, this was awesome. My teacher, Kimo Artis, was incredibly nice and patient with us. He also didn’t only teach us how to play, but never failed to motivate and inspire us through quotes about what really is important in life. I honestly learned so much from him. Thanks again, Kimo!
Outside of school, I did a lot of different activities, some organized by EF, some I had looked up myself. Here are a few of the things I got up to:
- I went kayaking to two tiny islands off of Lanikai beach, which is at the east coast of Oahu. We also got to explore one of the islands we paddled to and went snorkelling in the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
- I once visited Kauai (north to Oahu) for three days and booked a one-hour-long helicopter tour over the whole island, which was honestly one of the best things I have ever done.
- Once, I got up at 4 o’clock in the morning to hike to the top of Koko Head, which is an old volcano, and see the sunrise from there.
- One of the absolute best things I have done was go out on a boat and look for dolphins. We spotted hundreds of them and also jumped in the water swim with them. I cannot tell you how magical this was.
- I also visited Pearl Harbour, which is the place Japanese soldiers bombed in 1941 and marked the US’s entry into WWII.
- Apart from that, I went to the beach every single day, went snorkelling and sunbathing a lot, had lots of great food, and just enjoyed the Aloha lifestyle.
This whole month in Hawaii has honestly been a life changing experience for me and I hope that one day, I can go back there, as I miss this place a lot. Writing about the great time I had and all the things I got to see brings tears to my eyes and I wish I could be back there as I have fallen in love with this little gem on this earth.
Also, I hope that this trip wasn’t my last one with EF and that I get to explore a lot of other countries (and also languages) with them. In 2014, for example, I spent three weeks in Oxford, also with EF, which was an equally great experience.
Have you ever heard of EF or even been on a trip with them? Where would you go if you could choose any destination you want?