The wide range of international programs supported by Wo International Center was on display at Wo Global Journeys. During the evening event on Oct. 17, parents and students curious about travel opportunities learned about the programs directly from students who participated in them.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wo International Center. “We have built upon the work our forefathers started,” said Chai Reddy, director of the Wo International Center, speaking to the audience about the Center’s legacy. “We thought in 2015 that the group who went to Alaska was the first group from Punahou to ever go there. When we looked in the archives, we saw that there was a group of Punahou students who had previously gone. There was no plane you could take at the time, so they traveled by boat.”
Students, both in the middle school and Academy, shared their travel adventures during breakout sessions spread throughout the Cooke Learning Commons in Cooke Library. Students happily answered questions about the influential experiences gained on trips, and showcased photos, videos and cultural artifacts from their travels.
Olivia ’18 shared about the three-week Capstone Bhutan travel course that took place this summer. “During that time, we fully immersed ourselves in the country’s culture. We did community service, school visits, and the highlight of the trip was a homestay. Being in another culture was an amazing experience,” she said.
Liam ’21 didn’t have to travel to gain a worldly experience. Through the middle-school SGLI, Liam collaborated with students from New Zealand, China, South Korea, India and Sweden, who participated in the two-week summer program at Punahou. “I got to make friends from all over the world and work with people from so many different cultures, and I think I made lifelong friends,” Liam said.
Other travel opportunities included spending an entire school year abroad and a visit to Taiwan during the Academy’s G-Term Experience. Students from other schools, including Castle High School, also gained global perspectives through the Center’s programs.
“International global programming is more important today than ever before. With the desire to create empathetic students, global citizens and people who make change in the world, I think it’s important that we also understand the world is here too. Whatever we can learn from other cultures to improve our own communities and assist other communities is worth discovering,” Reddy concluded.