Kohala Learning Abroad Spotlight

Kohala Learning Abroad Spotlight

Isabel Steinhoff, Reporter

During their spring break vacation the Kohala Learning Abroad took off to the British Isles! Although there were 17 students and 3 chaperones that traveled on the trip, we got the insight from their leader, Jessica Brown and 2 of the students; Breena Rae McAulay and Geronimo Boyle.

Breena Rae McAulay is a junior from the graduating class of 2015 . This trip was her first trip out of the country and she loved it! She has ancestry traced back to Ireland and Scotland so this was a very exciting trip all around for her.

Since it was her first time out of the country, she was most excited about “being able to be the first one in her family to go back to Scotland and Ireland, as well as seeing the Broadway musical Wicked.” After experiencing the four countries; Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Great Britain, she said her favorite part of the trip was going to the small town Beaumaris in Wales and visiting the Beaumaris Castle. She liked the open field in the middle of the castle and its beautiful top view. “The town reminded me of home since it was so small and the people were really nice there.” (Wales was a popular favorite among all the students.) When asked about her least favorite thing she replied with, “Being delayed; I already hate being in airports so it was even worse!”

“Before the trip I never really hung out with everyone that often so probably just having that time to get closer with them and having those memories” is something that she took away and cherishes from being on the trip.

She absolutely recommends underclassmen to go on a learning abroad trip because everyone should have a chance to experience new countries. She also stated that she would like to travel somewhere new, but she’d go back with her family if she could.

Geronimo BoyleGeronimo Boyle is one of this year’s seniors from graduating class of 2014.  The Boyles moved to Kohala around 2004 from Hong Kong. They have also lived in the Philippines, so Geronimo has some experience with traveling. Geronimo is half Filipino and half Irish, so he was also excited to see where his other side of his family is from. His sister, Genevieve, also traveled to the British Isles.

He was just excited to go on the trip and see EVERYTHING! When asked what his favorite thing from the trip, he answered, “the nature trail walk in England because everything was beautiful, you could see all the nature including the mountains and the weather was nice; it wasn’t too cold so it was nice temperature weather. The little town at the end of the trail had awesome pizza and everything was just so beautiful.” His least favorite things from the trip were when he got a “stomach bug” type of sick and his experience with a jam packed train in London with, as Geronimo says it, “selfish people.”

Along with visiting all the historical sites, the students learned a lot. Some things that Geronimo learned about Scotland were that its animal is the unicorn and the old Scottish pounds aren’t always accepted in places.  He also learned that fries are called “chips” and chips are called “crisps.”  Because there was so much going on during the trip, when he was asked what he would remember most about the trip he answered, “the delay! Nah, just kidding! There are cafés everywhere and the new foods that I tried. Their candies are bettter.”

“I’m going back!” was his final remark.

Jessica Brown “Miss Brown” was the group’s leader and teacher. She has traveled all over the world and started offering this learning abroad program two years ago when she took four students to London and Paris. She has been to Ireland before as well, so she experienced two new countries along with the students, Wales and Scotland.

Before the trip, the thing she was most looking forward to was “experiencing another country with people who haven’t experienced another country before.” And of course Scotland and Wales because it was her first time there. “The most difficult thing on the trip was that it started off badly and slow so it was hard for everyone because they couldn’t catch up on their sleep and were exhausted all the time.”

She had invited two other chaperones to help lead the big group of 17 students, Jenna Vega and Chris Trump. “It was nice to have them. Chris is more of the laid-back type, Jenna is more of the stricter side, and I’m kind of in the middle. We all kinda balanced each other. They were very helpful and kept me from going crazy.”

Her favorite memory from the trip was when they experienced hail in Wales. Being the Hawaiʻi kids that they are, they wanted to experience snowing falling from the sky and once they saw the hail they went crazy because it was the closest thing to snow they were going to see. She said it was the most ridiculous thing because the kids were so excited to see the hail but at the same time they were getting hit in the face.  She had also found it interesting that the kids found certain things exciting, things she wouldn’t expect them to enjoy.

Something that she will take away from this trip is “it is really important for kids to get off the island and experience other places, cultures, and people. It’s okay if they come back, but they just need to experience what’s out there.” Some advice she would like to give to her next group traveling in 2016 is to be prepared to do a lot of work and fundraising and be open to new experiences! But “it will be an experience that they will never forget!”

If you haven’t heard about the group’s infamous beginning journey, as well as their overall trip check it out here : https://www.kaleonaopio.com/features/2014/04/06/kohala-students-are-world-travelers/