Pickpocketing Galore

Pickpocketing Galore

On the very first day, one of my classmates got his phone stolen from his back pocket. Another classmate of mine got her wallet taken. Pickpocket-ers are every where. It is quite frightening that these people train and tag team to steal stuff from you.

If I can recommend only one thing to you, if would be an Arden Cove bag. The founders of the company are two girls who traveled, and got pick pocketted. So, they thought of everything. It was the best $150 that I’ve ever spent.

“The full sized bag is perfect for days where you need a little more organization- with two wall pockets, a zipper pocket, and a built-in wallet, everything has its place. It will even fit that Kindle or small novel if you have some downtime while traveling, making it the ultimate travel bag. A detachable crossbody strap keeps you hands-free throughout the day.”

Feature include:

  • Full Body Anti-Slash Lining
  • Cut-proof Strap
  • Detachable Strap
  • Locking Zippers
  • RFID protection
  • Fully Waterproof Exterior & Zippers
  • Interior D-ring to attach Keychain 
  • Bottom Studs  
Getting in the Air

Getting in the Air

Flights were mighty expensive. I used Google Flights to find my flight. This was my first time traveling alone internationally. So, I had a few stipulations. I did not want more than one layover, and I didn’t want to go to LAX because I heard that airport is crazy. The flights that had multiple layovers were some of the cheapest, but I was willing to pay a little more for one stop. Because I was going to this program, I didn’t have too much wiggle room when booking the flights. I also didn’t want to book the flight and not end up going. So, I waited until I got all the details, and booked my flight 2 months prior to my departure which probably contributed to why the cost was high.

Scotts Cheap Flights often has extremely cheap flights but, it usually sells out very quickly, and gives you date restrictions.



Tuition and Costs – Pairing 1 and Pairing 2

From € 1550.00 euros (partner institutions)
From € 2850.00 euros (non-partner institutions)
Included in these fees are: • Course materials
• Housing in individual studio or shared (2-student) apartments in an international residence or an
appropriate equivalent pending availability
• The welcome lunch and farewell dinner
• Some guided tours (venues can be changed according to availability and/or weather) as stated on
the previous pages.

Not included in these fees are :
• Meals and other food and beverages (except for the above-mentioned group meals)
• Personal expenses
• Personal travel and accommodations outside Paris
• Transport card in PARIS : you’ll be given the transport card, “RATP smartcard” on which you’ll have to put money to pay for your travel on public transport in Paris (metro, bus, tram)

Housing Options:

Standard option
Shared room in a two star apartment hotel
No air conditioner
• €1550.00 euros (partner institutions)
• €2850.00 euros (non-partner institutions)
For more information click on the images
Upgraded option
Shared room in a four star apartment hotel
With air conditioner
• €2000.00 euros (partner institutions)
• €3300.00 euros (non-partner institutions)

How to pay:

I had to wire the money to them in France. They sent me the banking information but it was in French. So, I had to request for it to be sent to me in English. I went to my bank, and had to do all the paperwork them to wire the money. They had a lot of questions to ensure it’s not a scam. They only did wire transfers before 11AM. We had to transfer the money to them in Euros, which doesn’t seem like too much of an issue, but surprisingly the tellers struggled with that for a bit. There was a $45 transfer fee. We submitted the paper work and had to sit an wait for their Oahu office to approve it. Nearly 40 mins later, it successfully went through.

For more information visit: ESSCA Paris Summer Program

In Case of Emergency

In Case of Emergency

Insurance was something I didn’t even think out. But ESSCA required the we had health insurance for the duration of our stay.

Medical Insurance

I went to my medical insurance office to become aware of my benefits, which is little to none when you’re overseas. I purchased the GeoBlue Travel Medical & International Health Insurance. It was the Voyager Choice (Single Trip) Plan for around $60 USD.

Travel Insurance

My Global Exchange coordinator highly recommended getting the International Student Identification Card. This not only serves as an ID but can get you discounts at list of places. It was $20, they mail you a physical card but you have access to a digital version on an app. I also added the basic travel insurance for an additional $5.

Before getting the ISIC card, I booked my flight and added the Deluxe International Trip Protection II from Allianz Global Assistance via Delta. This was around $140 USD.

The Gilman Scholarship provides all their recipients with International SOS.

Luckily, I didn’t have to use any of these, but if I did I would have been well covered.

Got Money?

Got Money?

When you think study abroad, you often think there’s no way I can afford that. But anything is possible. Fortunately, for this program, ESSCA: School of Management’s Angers Program, they partnered with UH Hilo, and had a grant for students who studied there. When getting accepted into UH Hilo’s Transatlantic Mobility France Program, I was awarded $2,000.

However, as I browsed ESSCA’s website I saw they offered other programs, and offered different classes. (Read more about that here) I made the decision to participate in the Paris Program, instead of the Angers Program that my classmates are attending. Because of this I had to defer the $2,000 scholarship.

The costs that I am responsible for include:

So, how do I pay for this? Well, for me, everything kind of just fell into place, and I am so beyond grateful for how things came together. Before I even knew I was accepted into this program, I was called in for an interview for a student assistant position through my university. I used a brand new checking account for my second job, and every cent I’ve ever made at that job for the last 6 months was saved for this trip. Having a separate checking account for it really helped reduce the urge to spend that money.

But I didn’t stop there. My biggest tip is to APPLY for SCHOLARSHIPS. There are thousands of scholarships out there. Yes, the application processes can be tedious but it all will be worth it in the end. Check out some of these study abroad scholarships:

I have been blessed with being a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Which is the reason for this blog. As a Gilman Scholar, we are responsible for a service project to share our study abroad experience and in hopes to encourage other students to study abroad too.

Also, always check to see if your school has their own scholarships, and always apply for financial aid. I never thought I’d actually be able to pull this all together. It took a lot of work, but it is totally worth it.

Photo by: rawpixel.com

Choosing Classes

Choosing Classes

UH Hilo partnered with ESSCA: School of Management for the Angers Summer Program. This 4-week program begins with three weeks in the beautiful Loire valley city of Angers, then moves to Brussels for several days, with the final week in Paris. It is a perfect opportunity to be part of a multi-cultural student group, learn about Europe and gain credits. The courses for this program is set, and includes 5 courses: European Politics, European Economics, Brussels Field Seminar, Intercultural Communication, and French Culture, which in total is equivalent to 6 US credits.

As I browsed ESSCA’s website I saw that they offer other summer programs with different class offerings, in places like Shanghai, Budapest, Paris, and Angers/Bordeaux. I looked into and found interest in the Paris program. The Paris program had 3 course pairing to choose from:

  • PAIRING 1 : International Luxury Brand Marketing & International Business Management
  • PAIRING 2 : Business Intelligence and Strategy & Digital Culture, Innovation and New Market,
  • PAIRING 3 : French Language & French Culture and Civilization

I chose Pairing 1 because I felt that this would be perfect for me as my concentrations are in Management and Marketing. I feel like it would be really awesome to learn this in Paris. I was able to talk with my Global Exchange adviser as well as the Department Chair for the College of Business & Economics. The department chair agreed that the courses I chose would fit well into my graduation plan and it was transfer back to UH Hilo as 6 Upper Division Management electives.

IS 393 Orientation

IS 393 Orientation

IS 393: Pre-Departure Orientation was so beneficial. We had our Global Education Adviser as well as a number of Student Assistant Advisers to help walk us through the process and help prepare us.


We learned that culturally its a huge adjustment to go to another country. It will take some time to understand and to become comfortable with their new environment. Different isn’t always bad. It’s an opportunity for growth and expanding your mind.

The Classic 5 Stage U-Curve Model
  • Cultural Diversity: The existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.
  • Culture Shock U-Curve: generally moves through four different phases: honeymoon, frustration, adjustment and acceptance.
  • Adaptation: the process and time it takes a person to integrate into a new culture and feel comfortable within it.

On the first day of class, we played a game. We couldn’t speak or make gestures. We had 4 groups of 4. We each read the instructions and played the card game. At the end of the game, the winner moved to the next table clockwise and the loser moved to the next table counter clockwise. We played another round of the game with 2 new members. Still not speaking, it was clear, we all were confused and didn’t have the same understanding of the rules of the game. We continued this two more times. Some students would just follow along adapted to the rules of that table, but others tried to make their table play by their original set of rules. After 4 rounds of this, we learned that each group had a different set on instructions. This was to teach us that at home, we have cultural norms and a way of doing things. When we travel internationally, we will see a different way of life. We have two options, to be stuck in our ways, and force them to adapt to our lifestyle OR being respectful of their culture and learning what its all about. We need to remember are visitors in their home. How would you feel if someone came to your home and tried to force their rules on you?


  • 4 Article Reviews: an article that relates to the political, economic, or social situation in your host country
  • 4 Country Briefings
    • Politics
    • Economics, Environment and Population
    • Education
    • Daily Life
  • Cross-Cultural Interview
  • Classroom Presentation
  • Final Report and Presentation


Once accepted in the UH Hilo Go Global program, we are nominated to our partner school. But we still need to go through the partner school’s application, which I’ll discuss in a different post. For UH Hilo, we are required to submit the following forms before the last day of IS 393 classes.

It was extremely helpful and less stressful to have a group of people that are in the same situation as you, that you can share your experiences and get suggestions from others. We also get advice from students who already walked in our shoes and wants to help ease the process for us. I really think all study abroad programs should have this course.

Throughout the semester, we also worked on getting Visa/Passports, Financial Insurance, Flights, and much more. Stay tuned as I dive deeper into those topics.

Photo by: The CEO Kid

Why Abroad?

Why Abroad?

I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world to experience life outside of Hawaiʻi. Being Hawaiian and growing up in Hawaiʻi, my culture is so unique and very special to me. The idea of visiting other countries and witnessing their culture and environment is so fascinating to me.

ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi.

Not all knowledge is learned in just one school.

This ʻōlelo noʻeau sums up why I am choosing to study abroad. One can learn from many different sources. By learning in a different part of the world will help me broaden my perspective on many things.

Being a Business major, it is so important to be aware of the global economy, international trade and transactions. Studying in France would allow me to grow not only academically, but individually as well.

This is something new for me, traveling alone. I will have to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things. I am looking forward to live in Paris for a month, make new friends, and hopefully gain lifelong lessons and knowledge to take with me.

Photo by: Dex Ezekiel



Studying abroad was something I’ve always wanted to do. But I often heard how difficult it is, and the long application process. This caused me to never actually take the steps to apply.

In September 2018, I got an email from my university’s Center for Global Education and Exchange inviting students to participate in a Study Abroad program in France and Belgium with their international partner. This was something I couldn’t pass up on, because what did I have to lose? So, I applied for the Transatlantic Mobility France Summer 2019 program. The application was pretty painless. It required some basic information, such as the following:

  • Academic Background
  • Previous Foreign Travel Experience
  • Financial Contribution
  • Short Answer Questions:
    • Why do you want to participate in this program? What concerns do you have about spending four weeks in France and Belgium?Describe yourself in 20 words or less.
  • 2 Personal References

In December 2018, I got great news! I had been accepted to be a nominee of behalf of UH Hilo. At this time, I found out that I would need to add a class to my schedule for the semester. All study abroad students at UH Hilo are required to take IS 393: Departure Orientation. You can read more about it here.