After a campus wide search and a competitive vetting process, Kapiʻolani CC student and Culinary Arts major Eunice Yamada was selected to study in Europe during Fall 2018. Through a Global Scholar Grant from the Council on International Exchange (CIEE) and supported by a roundtrip airfare from the Paul S. Honda International Center, Eunice will study health and wellness in Copenhagen, Denmark, Paris, France, and Berlin, Germany. This is a one-time scholarship award for one student to study for one semester under a personally designed program.
Growing up on the island of Maui, Eunice Yamada did not know the cost of a lilikoʻi or an avocado because exchanging food with neighbors was part of everyday life. Eunice enjoyed eating freshly picked fruits and produce, and thus, from a very early age, she learned the interconnectivity between food and community.
From her mom, a single mother who worked three jobs to support the family, Eunice learned that one does not have to be wealthy to be healthy. Eunice appreciates her mother’s dedication to keep the family well-nourished and as she grew older, Eunice understood how food impacts a healthier lifestyle and how sharing food is a natural way to bring people and communities together.
Despite earning an undergraduate degree in communication and working in media circles, Eunice realized her calling was in the culinary arts. She therefore enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at Kapiʻolani Community College where she began to thrive and flourish. Outside of her studies, Eunice has volunteered over 350 non-paid hours for College and private events, and staged educational cooking programs for children.
Eunice states that discovering the “Blue Zones Project” made a profound influence on her and is the catalyst that has allowed her to connect the dots in her life. Through research, the Blue Zones Project reveals how, across different cultures and countries, such factors as diet, a sense of purpose and belonging, socialization, and the family contribute to a long and healthy life. Eunice is therefore seeking out cultures around the world to continue her own research about health and wellness. She feels that the CIEE experience will help integrate her personal, academic and career goals, and she would like to eventually return to Hawaiʻi to give back to the community that raised her. She hopes her global lessons will help transform her overall well-being into an improved quality of life in order to better educate the children and families in Hawaiʻi.
Joseph Overton, chair of the Paul S. Honda International Center who guided the selection process, said Eunice’s application was impressive. “Eunice’s achievements at the College and her work in the community provide evidence that she is deserving of this award. Eunice is taking her learning to the next level, that being a holistic global experience.”
More about CIEE: The Council on International Exchange is a nonprofit, intercultural student exchange organization. Its open campus model allows students to design their own study abroad experience, and under the Global Scholar Grants Awards, students can spend their semester studying in three different locations. For more information, visit https://www.ciee.org/