Intensive English Program


During our summer session, Jessica was our peer mentor, and students had a great time talking to her and getting extra help with their English learning.

She shared her academic journey with us. University of Hawaii system colleges are known to be open enrollment schools, so we don’t require certain grades for enrollment.

For international students, that’s the same, but we require English proficiency scores as a part of the admission requirements.

It’s always interesting to learn about people’s academic journeys. Please take a look at what Jessica’s journey was/is like.


Aloha everyone. My name is Jessica Skyles-Kaipo. I’m born and raised here on the Big Island, more specifically in the upper Puna District of the Kurtistown and Mt. View areas, but moved to Japan as a child. I went to a regular public school in Funabashi City, Chiba, Japan, for five years from eight years old to 13. After returning to the Big Island I went to Waiakea High School, Hawaii Community College (HawCC) and the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHHilo), then went to the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHManoa) in Oahu for a summer school session after graduating from UH Hilo. 

When I enrolled at HawCC after graduating from Waiakea High School, I majored in Liberal Arts. Because my English level wasn’t high enough to be accepted at the UHHilo, I mainly focused on my English classes and core classes for General Education. When I accumulated enough credits to transfer up to the UHHilo, I changed my major to Linguistics, Anthropology, and Japanese Studies. A few years after graduating with a triple major from the UHHilo, I enrolled in the summer sessions at the UHManoa. Even though I haven’t graduated from UHManoa, I gained knowledge in English as a Second Language, English as a Foreign Language, and Second Language Learning fields.

Shortly after I graduated from UHHilo, I also began to teach the Japanese Language and Culture at HawCC. After 21 years of continuous teaching, I had to halt all of my teaching due to the current pandemic. Because of this, I decided to pursue another and different career path in case I can no longer teach again. I am currently in my second year of my Business Technology major and anticipate to graduate next spring of 2023.