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Gustavus J-Term 2021: Hawai'i, Beyond Tourism
Hilo, United States; Kona, United States (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Restrictions: Gustavus applicants only
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Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
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Fact Sheet:
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Program Partner:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum GPA:
2.50 Program Design: Faculty led
Program Description:
Program Description:
This program has been postponed to January 2022. We are not taking applications at this time.

Sunset over palms
Go beyond the tourist experience to explore social, cultural, and political issues on the Big Island of Hawaii!

The fiftieth state is a favorite vacation destination, well known for its sandy beaches, tropical sunsets, and festive luaus.  This carefully cultivated image of paradise is what most island visitors expect and experience when visiting the islands of Hawaii.  However, the version of Hawaii that most visitors see is often far from the reality experienced by many residents.  In this course, we travel beyond the stereotypical tourist experience to explore the social, cultural, and political tensions and challenges existing in Hawaii.  We focus particularly on issues of race, class, and political sovereignty during our visit to the Big Island of Hawaii. Go to to watch a video about the program!

This program is appropriate for people with academic interests in Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, Economics and Management, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Communication Studies, History, Geography,  Japanese Studies, or Peace Studies.

Highlights Hawaii volcanoes
  • Learn about Hawaiian history and culture
  • Learn about current issues affecting Hawaii residents
  • Explore Hawaiian crafts, activities, and traditions
  • Swim and snorkel at black and white sand beaches
  • Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Course fulfills one of the two IEX credits required for graduation
The program will begin on campus in St. Peter and then move to the Big Island of Hawaii.

Hawaii (The Big Island)
The largest of all the Hawaiian islands (it is twice the size of all of the other major islands combined), the Big Island is the birthplace of King Kamehameha, the chief who united the Hawaiian islands into one kingdom in 1810. The Big Island contains twelve distinct climate zones, including tropical rain forest and frozen tundra, and contains two active volcanoes, including one that has been erupting continuously since 1983. The Big Island is also where British Captain James Cook (credited as the western discoverer of the islands) landed and was later killed. In 1893, the US government orchestrated an overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and in 1993, the United States government issued a formal apology for its actions.

KnutsonFaculty Leader
Kate Knutson, Political Science
Professor Kate Knutson is a professor in the department of Political Science where she teaches courses on American politics and public policy.  Kate was raised on the Big Island and enjoys helping students explore the hidden gems of the island that most tourists don't get to experience.

Academic Calendar
Approximate dates for 2021 are as follows:
Two to three pre-departure meetings: TBA during fall semester 2020.  If you’re studying away during this semester, contact Professor Kate Knutson for arrangements.
On-campus program: January 4 to January 12, 2021
On-site program: January 13 to January 27, 2021

Anticipated accommodations will include hotels and hostels.

Program Costs
The program fee will cover round-trip airfare to Hawaii, transportation on Hawaii, all lodging and meals, and guide and entrance fees. The final fee will be dependent upon the number of students who apply and are accepted, but we estimate the final fee to be between $4,200 and $4,600 per student.

Hawaiian flora
All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. 

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by May 15, 2020. 

Entry visas / travel documents
Visas are not necessary for domestic study away programs. Students should make sure that their state-issued IDs are Real ID-compliant (for TSA) or plan to travel with a valid passport. Please contact CICE if you have questions about this requirement.

The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.
Hawaiian sunset

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This program is currently not accepting applications.