• United States of America
4 - 12 weeks
Program Tags
Adventure Travel College Credit Conservation Cultural Immersion Hands-On Learning Post-High School Scuba Diving Instruction Social Justice Wilderness

Program Details

Animal Viewing Boating Camping City Exploring Farming Hiking Kayaking Scuba Diving Sightseeing Snorkeling Surfing Swimming
Fall Spring
Cabin Guesthouse Hostel Lodge Tent
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
*Airfare for inter-island flights additional
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Travel Insurance
May 18, 2023
Apr 26, 2022
26 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Explore the tropical paradise of the Hawaiian islands of O'ahu, Maui, and the Big Island, where white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and tropical forest become our classroom. Building on nearly 40 years of Hawaiian programming and our long-standing partnerships with impactful local organizations, this unique semester allows us to investigate important environmental and social issues while immersing ourselves in the Aloha culture. Explore traditional taro farming and restore a 400-year-old fishpond in O'ahu. Explore marine ecosystems while earning your SCUBA certification on the island of Hawai’i and investigate important food security issues and help with projects to ensure local sustainability. Learn about aquaponics and vermiculture on a college campus and partner with local conservationists to protect cultural land on Maui. Discover unbelievable beauty and culture while getting to know these famous islands like a local!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Participate in the Restoration of an Ancient Fishpond
  • Earn Your PADI SCUBA Certification in Kona’s Crystal Clear Waters
  • Complete Workshops on Aquaculture and Permaculture on Campus at UHMC
  • Develop Surfing Skills Through Lessons on Three Islands
  • Explore Hawai'i’s Volcanic Origins and Unique Ecology in Volcanoes National Park

Program Reviews

4.62 Rating
based on 21 reviews
  • 5 rating 61.9%
  • 4 rating 38.1%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.2
  • Support 4.8
  • Fun 4.65
  • Value 4.6
  • Safety 4.95
Showing 1 - 8 of 21 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Working in Paradise

I believe this program contains a diverse curriculum that will appeal to everyone no matter your background coming into this program or level of experience. The staff do an exemplary job helping you learn about yourself on the trip and grow as a student, friend, and leader. I learned so much about the vibrant and rich culture in Hawai‘i along with some common phrases and words related to the work we were doing. I believe at time I felt there was too much free time or sometimes not enough, but I believe that as we neared the end of the program we really fleshed out a good schedule that worked for everyone and became a very cohesive group.

  • Helpful staff
  • Lots of culture and new experiences
  • Making new friends and going surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving
  • Lots of bugs
33 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


It was a great trip overall had so much fun and met the coolest people. The experience was the best one I’ve ever had. The rules were kind of annoying but I understand why they are rules. I recommend this trip to any student that wants a fresh start and a new prospective like I did. I see myself and others in a totally different way than I did before and met really interesting people along the way. I also loved the structure of the program and the challenges that pushed me out of my comfort zone. At times, I did get a little bored and annoyed how structured it was but overall it was good

  • The people
  • The experience
  • Independence
  • Food
  • Rules
33 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Overall this was a very memorable and impactful experience that I’ll forever cherish. I was able to meet so many amazing people and learn so many things about Hawaii that I would never have been able to any other way. I think this is a great way to travel because I was able to have very unique experiences and make so many different connections that gave me a new perspective on my life. I think it would be better for future participants if they knew exactly what this trip entails because it was not what i expected. I thought we would be camping most of the time/ backpacking to campsites but instead we were staying in cabins most of the time and we didn’t go on very many hikes. I think the packing list could also be less strict because I ended up not using many of the things I packed and I had to buy a lot of things here.

  • Amazing views
  • Learned a lot about Hawaiin culture
  • Was able to make unique connections with so many people
  • Group dynamics
  • Lack of camping/being in nature
  • Packing
34 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC Hawaii Gap Semester - Spring

I had an amazing time on this program! Traveling around the different islands of Hawaii for two months is something I would most likely struggle to accomplish on my own or with a couple friends, making this a perfect program for anyone trying to learn how to travel with a group and on a budget. I got to essentially live with 12 other amazing students while experiencing the culture and fun activities Hawaii has to offer!! This will definitely be a trip that’ll stick with me for the rest of my days.

  • Gained amazing friendships
  • Extremely fun and mind blowing activities(scuba/shark dive/ etc.)
  • Picked up new travel skills
  • Not as much camping as advertised
  • Tension in group at times (expected)
  • Wish it was longer!!
31 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


On the Hawaii ARCC gap semester students can expect to do a lot of farming service. Most of the service done was working on farms. The Hawaiian culture was also a huge focus on the trip. We spent a lot of time with local people who taught us raw and real experiences of native people. We stayed in cabins or group rooms/housing most of the trip and spent a few weeks in tents. The whole time you are with a group which can get hard but you create a very close bond with everyone. All of the days are planned out for you but there is some say in what students want to do during free times.

  • Experience new cultures
  • Beautiful locations
  • Close friends
  • Minimal alone time
  • Not much verity in service
  • Long days
35 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I want future participants to know that the trip changes quite a bit depending on the group you are with. If your group is not particularly adventurous and you are adventurous, it can get pretty tedious. It is also quite annoying when the packing list makes it sound like you will be going on 3 to 4 day backpacking trips so you buy a very expensive backpack, which you didn't really need at all. So make sure you talk with your counselors or chaperones beforehand and make sure you aren't wasting your money.

  • Make great friends
  • Drive to lots of places
  • Trip changes depending on people in your group, for example, not going hiking very much but going to beach more than plenty
34 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Hawaii Gap Semester

The packing list isn’t exactly what you need. It should be revised. The travelling was amazing, and it’s Hawaii so it was stunning. The leaders were great, and very understanding. But some people in the group wouldn’t contribute and it felt like the leaders sometimes gave up on making them contribute. So sometimes it felt like some people didn’t have to do group chores, and there were different rules for different people. I really wish the instructors would have paid more attention to that. I didn’t like having to do things solo because others wouldn’t do them and the instructors wouldn’t step in and make them help. I felt like I had to do a lot of things solo.

  • Good people
  • Amazing Views
  • Cool expirences
  • Some dusty campsites, stuff was NEVER clean
  • Trip not quite as advertised. Trip details were not quite right.
  • Packing list was not correct.
31 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Future participants should know you only need to use your tent for three weeks and that there is much less hiking and physical activity then stated so pack for town. Also this trip is focused on learning about the locals and the history of Hawaii. People should be willing to listen to other because you’re not going to get what you want all the time especially during student planned module. Also be prepared to eat so many carbs and the same thing over so don’t eat too many sandwiches before you come.

  • Meeting amazing locals
  • Learning about the history and spirituality of Hawaii and it’s people
  • Getting scuba certified
  • Not enough camping
  • Not enough hikes or physical activity
  • Not really being in nature
29 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers