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Image of Dartmouth Linguistics DSP students, faculty, facilitators, Micronesian community members, and Hilo community at closing ceremony of the program in March 2022.

When I think back to all of the thoughts racing through my head when it came time for me to choose a college to attend, I remember the biggest questions in my mind. Will I find my community at my future college? Will I find my people? Will I be able to study what I want to study so I can do what I want to do after graduating? But one of my biggest questions was easy: will I be able to study abroad? 

When I visited Dartmouth after being accepted, one of the tour guides told all of us that she had studied abroad three terms in a row. Because the College was and remains so committed to supplying opportunities for studying away, she was able to take advantage of three unique, distinct programs while receiving Dartmouth credit all the while exploring new parts of the world — all as part of her D-Plan. To put it simply, I was sold — and this past winter, from January to March 2022, I lived in Hawai'i as a student on Dartmouth's Linguistics DSP.

As a linguistics major, I always knew I wanted to apply to the Linguistics study abroad program. Usually, the program is an FSP based in Auckland, New Zealand (read about it here!). Because I speak the Hawaiian language, a closely-related linguistic cousin of Māori (the indigenous language of Aotearoa, or New Zealand), I was super excited to learn another Polynesian language while engaging with a similar culture to my own. But when the COVID-19 global pandemic caused us to switch gears and we ended up on a course for Hawai'i, I couldn't have been happier about the change of plans. 

For the first four weeks of the program, all the Linguistics and Anthropology students (both our programs went to Hawai'i in 22W!) lived in the town of Kapolei, on the island of O'ahu (on the western side of the island, a little more than half an hour from Honolulu). After that first four weeks, we split ways: the Anthropology students went to Kīhei, on the island of Maui, and the Linguistics students went to Hilo, on Hawai'i island (also known as the Big Island!). For the next six weeks, we took classes on Hawaiian language, attended workshops and lectures about language revitalization in Hawai'i and hula, and learned about language documentation. Ultimately, in small groups, we worked with the local Micronesian community and crafted documentation projects for the Satawalese and Woleaian languages. 

While being on campus is a big part of being a Dartmouth student, studying in Hawai'i really gave me so many new perspectives and experiences that otherwise would've completely eluded me. The fact that every Dartmouth department has study abroad programs is a hidden gem when it comes to what Dartmouth provides in the way of academic resources. You can take your major, whether it be linguistics, history, economics, government, ancient Greek, math, or physics, and study in an entirely new place. Additionally, you'll be one student within a cohort of several students that might share academic interests, but likely you've never met before. I made new friends that I'd never met on campus all because we all wanted to study away. We could attend lectures by prominent Indigenous scholars, learn hula in a workshop with world-class experts, plant kukui nut and coconut trees, harvest taro from an actual lo'i, and truly dive into Hawaiian culture as part of our courses. 

If you're thinking about attending Dartmouth, I couldn't encourage you more to check out the programs the College has to offer. I'm happy that learning about the different programs out there was a major part in my final decision to attend Dartmouth, and after attending one of the programs finally, I have to say that I couldn't be more happy and appreciative I made that choice.

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