During reading break, our students embarked on a remarkable journey to the Big Island of Hawaii. With sustainability at the core of the curriculum, students examined the island's features from a systems perspective, synthesising different dimensions like social and economic factors to gain a more holistic understanding.
They explored the fascinating lava tubes at the Kaumana Caves, walking through the dark tunnels and observing the unique geological formations that result from volcanic activity. The adventure didn't stop there; the students also enjoyed bodysurfing in the crystal-clear waters and spotted sea turtles lazing on the beach. They visited the awe-inspiring volcano Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes on earth, and witnessed the mesmerizing Sulfur Banks, where volcanic gasses seeped out of the ground along with groundwater steam!
The students also gained a deeper understanding of the rich cultural history of Native Hawaiians at the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, where they learned about traditional Hawaiian practices, customs and beliefs. Fostering cultural awareness around the sacrality of the land and the environment, the trip truly highlighted the remarkable ways in which Indigenous communities continue to preserve nature's beauty.
The ISCI program's trip to Hawaii was a harmonious intersection of academic excellence, cultural education, and thrilling adventure. If you are hungry for an adventure, then UBC's ISCI program is perfect for you. Join us on a journey of discovery, where you will explore the mysteries of the world and discover the depths of your own potential!
Read below for student testimonials:
Josh inspecting mangos at the Farmer's Market in Hilo Downtown
Choosing to attend the ISCI 361 Hawaii seminar was one of the biggest risks I have taken that has paid off in the best way possible. Not only was I able to learn about the environment, sustainability, and culture of the Big Island in Hawaii, I also did so with some of the best profs, TA's, and classmates I have ever met so far. Through the course of a week, the activities -- from snorkelling to exploring Volcano national park -- and memories I made with new friends have easily become one of my top highlights during my undergraduate year. For anyone skeptical of taking this course, I highly recommend it for both the hands-on field experience and the potential of meeting new friends!
~Josh Lee, BA in Geography and Urban Studies 2023
Jennifer at the Kailua Pier in Kona
Embarking on the UBC ISCI Hawaii trip was an adventure of a lifetime for me! The Big Island of Hawai'i is a true natural wonder, and I was awe-struck by its breathtaking beauty. My favourite part of the trip was undoubtedly trekking through the Kaumana Lava Tubes, which were like nothing I've ever seen before. Lava tubes are formed by flowing lava during a volcanic eruption. When a lava flow cools, it can form a solid crust on its surface while the molten lava continues to flow underneath. As the lava drains away, a hollow tube-like space is left behind. The experience was surreal, and I felt like I was exploring another world. Overall, the UBC ISCI Hawaii trip was an unforgettable experience, and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to explore such a stunning place. I will cherish the memories of this trip for a lifetime!
~Jennifer Lim, BSc in Integrated Sciences (Environmental Science & Public Health) 2023
Varun at the Waipi'o Valley Lookout
My experience was nothing short of spectacular. From the volcanoes, to the beaches, to the rainforests, ISCI 361's course plan gave me the most experiential of a learning experience I could have asked for. Being able to learn about local and native Hawaiian culture from the people themselves was a uniquely enriching aspect of the trip as it allowed me to immerse myself in the experience to a far greater degree. I would recommend this course to anyone who is looking for a learning experience that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives!
~Varun Nair, BSc in Integrated Sciences (Genetics & Global Health) 2023
Minji and Raiyana at Kona Boys getting ready for snorkelling
ISCI 361 is one of my favourite courses I have taken! It was such a fun, informative, and eye-opening experience. We had the opportunity to learn so much about Native Hawaiian culture, the natural systems on the island, and sustainability. One of my highlights was hearing the lived experiences of a Native Hawaiian individual, and how her story has impacted her identity. What made this trip so impactful is that our professors and the people we talked to in Hawai'i were very knowledgable, and were always ready to engage in conversations with our class. Overall, I had a really incredible experience, and I would highly recommend this course to others!
~Raiyana Alibhai, BSc in Cognitive Science, 4th year
Minji at the Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park
ISCI 361 easily became one of the best highlights of my undergrad. During my week in Hawai’i, we practised approaching the topic of sustainability in the context of the land and culture we were on. Our group also had the incredible opportunity to hear the thought-provoking stories and perspectives of the Indigenous people of Hawai’i firsthand. Being able to reflect on all that we learned with our phenomenal teaching team further enhanced our learning experience. Whether we were talking about volcanoes under tropical rain or planning our next ice cream stop after snorkelling, our instructors were always there to chat with us and share our enthusiasm for what we were seeing around us! The ability to learn on the field and apply what we learned in a classroom setting immediately outside of it made this trip such a valuable and enriching learning opportunity for all of us.
~Minji Seo, BSc in Biology, 4th year
Eating lunch in Kona
ISCI 361/461 class at Akaka Falls