group of students in front of a historic building in China
2018 Mānoa Academy Beijing participants

Hawaiian Airlines and the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa have partnered to provide complimentary flights to students enrolled in the college’s Mānoa Academy Beijing program.

Graduating seniors from Hawaiʻi schools nearing completion of the two-year, pre-collegiate abroad program are able to travel aboard Hawaiian for an immersive learning experience at Beijing Foreign Studies University. The experience, which fulfills a UH core general education requirement, included participants from the Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program at Punahou School, Roosevelt High School on Oʻahu, Lahainaluna High School on Maui, as well as students from UH Mānoa and UH West Oʻahu.

On June 14, a group of 15 students returned from Beijing where they spent two weeks navigating through an intensive series of sessions addressing global issues relating to the country’s culture, politics, economy and languages.

“We are delighted to support Mānoa Academy and its mission to develop strong cross-cultural awareness in the emerging and important China market,” said Jill Tokunaga, senior director of North America sales and community relations at Hawaiian Airlines. “With its hands-on, immersive approach, we’re confident that this program will continue to play a critical role in engaging young minds in the years to come.”

“Giving Hawaiʻi youth global opportunities will open their horizons and position them to thrive,” said Denise Eby Konan, dean of the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences and founder of Mānoa Academy. “I’m immensely grateful to Hawaiian Airlines and our other partners, the Hanban, Beijing Foreign Studies University and the Confucius Institute, for making this possible.”

group of students in front of a historic building in China

Since its inception in 2016, Mānoa Academy has had more than 295 students enrolled in more than 20 classes that offered college access and advancement at public and private high schools throughout Oʻahu and Maui. Students who complete the two-year curriculum receive a bank of college credits and automatic acceptance into UH Mānoa.

“I have been blown away by China’s rich culture and highly advanced technology,” said Nikki Zamani, a Mānoa Academy student who visited Beijing this June and graduated last month from Lahainaluna High School. “The hospitality and kindness we have received from the local Beijing Foreign Studies University students and staff has been out of this world. Embracing the differences of the Chinese culture has made me more appreciative of diversity.”

For more information on the Mānoa Academy, email