ARCC Gap: Hawaii - O'ahu, Kauai & the Big Island

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Building on 38 years of domestic 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 the tropical paradise of O’ahu, Kauai, and the Big Island. White sand beaches, turquoise waters, and tropical forest turn into our classroom. Protect native forests and important watersheds in O’ahu. Learn about marine ecosystems while earning your SCUBA certification in Kauai. Investigate important food security issues and help with projects to ensure local sustainability. Play a vital role in coral and intertidal studies and learn to surf on the island of Hawai’i. Discover unbelievable beauty and culture while getting to know these famous islands!

  • Conduct Coral Reef and Intertidal Research in Kahalu’u Bay
  • Earn Your PADI SCUBA Certification On Kauai’s Colorful Reefs
  • Participate in the Preservation of a Key Watershed in the Ko’olau Mountains
  • Explore Hawaii’s Volcanic Origins and Unique Ecology in Volcanoes National Park
  • Restore Native Forests and Repair Trails in Limahuli Valley

Questions & Answers


9.75 Rating
based on 4 reviews
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  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!!

Even with the pandemic situation, I had the best time on this trip. One of the big focuses is student leadership so all the meals & many of the activities are student planned, and I feel like I gained a lot of experience. My group loved thrift shopping and beaches, so we did a lot of city days and surfing, but there were tons of opportunities for hikes, service work, whatever the group wants to do, really. The trip leaders and other students are so fun, there’s a perfect mix of exploring the cities and nature activities, and the curriculum is fascinating. We were camping probably 75% of the time because of COVID restrictions, so I can’t speak to the accommodations very accurately, but the campsites were pretty nice. The leaders facilitated a lot of personal growth experiences and I got to know myself a lot better over the 2 months, so if you like adventure-type stuff, learning about social activism/Indigenous history, and want to *find yourself*, I definitely recommend this trip. Also, feel free to email me if you have any questions or want to talk more about the trip!!! I’m doing another ARCC semester in Belize in the spring, which should be a good sign :) email:

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring a big duffel bag, backpacks are kind of a pain
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Yes, I recommend this program


I had a really great time on my trip even though it was during the COVID pandemic. I had really great instructors and made so many close friends. This trip helped me gain confidence in living away from home and I was able to learn through experience as opposed to being in a classroom, which was great for me. I enjoyed every main thing that we did and didn't really have any bad days at all. I feel really grateful to have gone on this trip and would recommend that people considering a gap year to go for it!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
We were scuba diving and saw a tiger shark, which was pretty nerve-racking in the moment but we discussed what we would do if we did see one beforehand which helped overcome it, and we were all calm and collected and didn't panic. Overall it was super cool, too.
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Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC Hawaii gap semester

I had the best semester in Hawaii with ARCC. My group was amazing, and we got along really well. Everyone came into this experience with an open mind, and we had so much fun exploring and learning together. ARCC managed to make this experience phenomenal despite the ongoing pandemic, and I always felt safe. Everyone that we interacted with outside our group was extremely kind and very willing to help us learn. I enjoyed getting my SCUBA certification and going on hikes and adventures around the Big Island. My instructors were caring, kind, and responsible. They helped us delve deeper into our passions and have meaningful experiences. The also helped us grow as leaders and individuals and were eager to teach, learn, and adventure alongside the group. I could not have asked for a better way to spend the first half of my gap year.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come into this trip with an open mind. Be ready to meet new people, have new experiences, try new things, and have fun!
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Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC Hawaii semester

I had a great time! It was a nice balance of adventure activities and bonding with the group. I loved my instructors and they were very well prepared for the job and supportive of us. They were also very passionate and knowledgeable about the things we were doing. I liked that we spent half the time in Hawaii and half on the mainland. This gave me two distinct experiences that I found very valuable yet different. I also liked how we moved around so much, I feel like I saw a very wide variety of places in just eight short weeks.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring an open mind! The program really is what you make of it.
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