Taru Aitola, Hawaii

A couple of years ago, I had an opportunity to experience the most eventful nine months of my life in Hawaii Preparatory Academy. The school located on the “Big Island” of Hawaii was chosen for me, because it had optimal training conditions for my sport triathlon, and for other sports, as well. Of course, Hawaii’s reputation as a paradise, too, made my choice easy.

And Hawaii didn’t let me down. I found great friends from the three varsity sport teams – cross-county, basketball, hurdles – and I got to practice and compete under very inspiring coaches. While traveling to competitions and to trips set up by the school, I got to explore the great outdoors and scenery of Hawaii. I got to spend many sunny days on the beach by the turquoise ocean, to hike to the waterfalls, to try standup paddleboarding, to swim with wild dolphins, and the list goes on and on…

Still the best part of the year was getting to know other international students. Our community worked like a family: we did homework together, and there were always company to spend free time with and attend the school parties. Also learning about new cultures was teaching and mind-opening. Because of these new experiences, I was able to grow as an athlete and a student. I wouldn’t change these experiences and memories to anything!

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