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Aloha, HAWAII!
Kim Yeana  |  ynkimmm@gmail.com
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승인 2014.10.09  20:28:05
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 네이버 구글 msn
   
ALL PHOTOS FROM KIM

Life is the C (choice) between B (birth) and D (death).  The one summarize my year exchange at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM).  Not only did I have to make a choice when selecting the program, I had to make several choices to open doors that presented themselves in front of me.  Hiking mountains and surfing the vast ocean were unforgettable experiences as was my enrollment at UHM’s Second Language Studies (SLS) Department.  Looking back, deciding to spent a year in Hawaii is a decision that I will never regret.

   
 

ONE STEP CLOSER TO MY DREAM

Growing up in the Philippines for 10 years, I had already been exposed to diverse cultures and languages.  In fact, I was so confident that I returned to Korea in 2012 to enter SMU.  However, the atmosphere around me changed as did my knowledge and perspectives.  I pondered, questioned, and explored something very new and inviting.  A year had passed since entering the TESL major when I heard about UHM’s Manoa International Exchange (MIX) program.  Without hesitation, I applied for the program and started planning for my future ahead.  One year in TESL had served as a solid stepping stone in my career towards becoming an English teacher.  Now, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone in Korea and experience more of what was out there.  

   
 

People in Hawaii usually thought I studied a “second” language whenever I mentioned I was majoring in Second Language Studies (SLS) at UHM.   However, SLS is all about society, culture, and intellectual understanding and knowing a language through learning and acquisition – whether it be a native or second language.  Thus while I was in Hawaii, I wasn’t simply concentrating on English acquisition, which TESL at SMU tends to focus on in-depth, but rather I was given an opportunity to study and read theses and academic journals from the SLS field regarding second language acquisition, learning, and pedagogy.  Classes such as SLS 490P, Second Language Pedagogy, gave me insight into the pedagogies and approaches that current linguists currently take and had taken in the past.  SLS 280, Cognitive Bilingualism, and SLS 380, Bilingual Education, helped to shape my personal ideas and views on how a bilingual teacher should approach bilingual students to effectively teach a language.  Furthermore, I was given permission by Professor Kenton Harsch—who helped and guided me throughout my stay in Hawaii—to take SLS 485, Professionalism in SLS, which was typically only open to the graduating batch of SLS majors.  This class guided soon-to-be graduating students on professional online blogging, how to write a curriculum vitae, issues in the philosophy of teaching, lesson plan design, and certificates and awards which future employers seek when hiring teachers.  (My professional blog can be viewed at: http:// yeanakim.weebly.com/).  This class helped me build a solid foundation and mindset that eased my career preparation.  Overall, the exchange program at UHM was yet another stepping stone for me and confirmation that I should continue to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher who empowers students all around the world.

HAWAII, PARADISE ISLANDS WITH A PAINFUL PAST 

Today, “Hawaii” is equated with “paradise.”  Indeed, Hawaii is a paradise in terms of its blue-green beaches and mountains.  Hawaii beauty shines at places such as Hanauma Bay, Koko Head, North Shore, and Lanikai beaches as well as the world-famous Waikiki, which are always packed with tourists.  However, upon a deeper look into Hawaii’s history, it was not as colorful and beautiful as I had expected.  The course titled SLS 430, Pidgin & Creole English in Hawaii, provided me with an opportunity to study and examine Hawaiian culture and language.  The course, taught by Kent Sakoda, gave students an eye-awaking experience on how native Hawaiians were deprived of their language and culture, which lead to Hawaiian language loss, and how Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA.  Historically, during the days of huge sugar plantations, laborers from all around the world such as Portugal, China and Japan, came to settle down in Hawaii.  As communication was difficult, the people from those different countries started mixing each another’s language—the birth of Pidgin and Creole.  People still debate whether Pidgin and Creole should be considered as a language because it is actually a combination of several languages.  Through Professor Sakoda’s teaching, however, I learned to appreciate Pidgin and Creole as a language itself and to respect its users as it is handed down to the next generations.  Professor Sakoda gave assignments that required students to keep a journal and recordings of language used by locals.  This homework enabled me to become immersed in the language because I paid attention to and picked up many of the words and accents used by the locals.  The homework also opened opportunities for me to observe plays, listen to poetry recitals, and visit historical sites such as the Iolani Palace.  It was an experience that I could have never gotten on my own as an exchange student.  I was able to become absorbed directly into the culture and atmosphere.

   
 

OHANA MEANS FAMILY 

If you’ve ever watched the movie Lilo and Stitch, you will know how much Lilo emphasizes Ohana, meaning family in Hawaiian.  Hawaii is very relaxed and cozy.  People are friendly and hospitable like a family.  Despite its diverse cultures, Hawaiian people respect and understand each other.  To those who wish to learn English and experience different cultures, I highly recommend participating in an exchange to Hawaii as it has a comfortable and safe environment in which to study language and freely experience the native culture.

   
 

 

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