Aloha to a new world

Dec 042002
Authors: Jodi Friedman

Korin Ann Wakuta experienced a magical moment when the sky was snowing and the luminous mountains loomed in the distance.

It was her first time in Colorado and she immediately knew this was where she wanted to spend her college years. She was born and raised on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Wakuta’s boyfriend, who was two years older, came to CSU and she flew out to visit him while she was in high school. After seeing his world and conversing with his friends, she decided to move to Fort Collins. “I fell in love with CSU instantaneously,” she said.

Wakuta was homesick for 1 1/2 years after arriving at CSU. Although her relationship with her boyfriend did not work out, her life gradually got easier as she made a close network of friends that she could relate to. She notices how independent she has grown since her years here.

Wakuta had an image in her head about her future college life. Although she wanted to move from Hawaii for her undergraduate education, Colorado never would have crossed her mind. She ended up being at the right place at the right time.

“I always had a fantasy college life in my head,” she said. “My fantasy came true.”

Wakuta’s life in Kauai was exceedingly different than her life in Fort Collins. She lived with her two younger twin brothers all of her life. She was used to humidity, surfing, an average of 85 degrees and the ocean. She was a professional hula dancer for two years and her contract was discontinued when she left Hawaii.

“There is so much diversity in Hawaii it’s unbelievable,” Wakuta said. “People are more narrow-minded out here.” In addition to adjusting to a predominantly white society, she also had to get used to different family life.

Families in Hawaii typically all live in the same towns. They are very tightly oriented. For example, large dinners are held for every holiday and even for birthdays.

Wakuta also had to adjust to the differences in males. “Guys here are more aggressive and impersonal,” she said. “Guys back home are more like mamas-boys and they are more shy, warm and respectful.” Men in Hawaii are typically closer to home.

Wakuta had to get used to massive differences in food, culture, weather and appearance. Although she misses the beauty of Hawaii, she loves Colorado’s mountains, snow and cold. “Both are different types of beauty,” she said.

The major similarity that Wakuta observes and loves about Hawaii and Colorado is the unification of students. “We are all college students and all human beings,” she said.

She is a senior this year majoring in psychology. She does not plan on living in Fort Collins later in life, but she can foresee living in Colorado.

“I would love to live in Denver,” Wakuta said.

No matter where she ends up, her roots are in Hawaii and she plans on raising a family there one day.

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