Erika Moeller, a junior psychology major, shares updates about her semester away at Chaminade University in Hawaii.
I decided in September that I wanted to study abroad during the spring semester, along with my roommate, Alexandria Battaglia. We applied to go to the Netherlands, but UD was only permitted to run domestic travel because of the pandemic.
Hawaii was a pretty good compromise.
Over winter break we bought our plane tickets (at a relatively low price) to paradise. We had to get a negative COVID test within 72 hours of our flight departure, and the test had to be done by a Hawaii approved testing partner.
I got mine in time, but Alexandria got the wrong test and had to get a rapid one in the Dallas airport during our hour-long layover. The consequence of not having an approved test upon landing in Hawaii is a ten-day mandatory quarantine, but thankfully neither of us had to do that.
We have been in Hawaii for three weeks now and we are loving every minute of it! The weather is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 70 degrees at night.
Many of the bigger tourist attractions are open with restrictions, and they are a lot less crowded than usual. The beaches are open and masks are not required there, but people are respectful about wearing one everywhere else.
Everyone that I have met so far is very friendly, especially the staff at Chaminade University. I am grateful to UD and Chaminade for allowing me to participate in this exchange program. I am blessed to be a guest on this beautiful island, so I will continue to do my part in stopping the spread of the pandemic.
To anyone considering going abroad or participating in an exchange program in a future semester, I would absolutely recommend it! Hawaii has a very different culture than the Midwest and exploring that will make me a better person by the end of this program.