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“But just as I have said, there is but one alternative left us for saving our country,
and that to have Hawaiian youths educated abroad.”
– Joseph Nawahī, April 1891

Between 1880 and 1892, during King David Kalākaua’s reign, 18 Hawaiians participated in the “Hawaiian Youth Abroad” program in six different countries around the world: Italy, Scotland, England, China, Japan, and the United States. The 17 men and 1 woman were personally selected by King Kalākaua himself “to become future leaders” of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian youth studied engineering, medicine, art, music, military science and foreign languages for the purpose of bringing skills back to the service of their country.

After a 126 year hiatus, Native Hawaiian Student Services (NHSS) restarted a version of the “Hawaiian Youths Abroad” program in Summer 2018. With plans for study tours in future years, the program retraced the path of our ancestors abroad to engage students in international educational experiences and training around the world in service to our lāhui and ea.

The program was a very intensive summer institute with strict requirements for participation and engagement with assignments and research kuleana. As such, this program is treated as an NHSS Program leadership capstone project, with priority given to past NHSS cohort students who have established a track record of commitment to NHSS program requirements.


  • Undergraduate UH Mānoa students that have at least one more semester before graduating
  • Past and current NHSS program students that have participated in one or more NHSS cohort programs (Summer Bridge, Institutes, ʻŌiwi Undergraduate Mentorship Program, Internship Program, etc.) and show promise for advancing into this leadership program.
  • Students interested in advanced graduate school and research engagement at UH Mānoa
  • Demonstrated record of interest and engagement with Hawaiian education and/or research, and student able to articulate the connection between their own research interest and the focus of this Hawaiian Youths Abroad program

For more information, contact program lead, Nalani Balutski.

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