Sometimes, moving to Hawaii is a bit of a leap of faith. After a visit to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Karina Sevilla decided to move from Valley Center, near San Diego, California, to the island of Oahu for college.

How did she decide to make the move? Some of her fellow students ended up in Oahu for the beaches, she noted. However, that wasn’t what initially drew her to college in the Hawaiian islands.

“I came for the culture,” Karina told us we interviewed her about her Hawaii Moving Story. “I’m Hispanic. Both of my parents are from Mexico. I’ve been looking at my values and then comparing them as I study the Hawaiian culture. I’ve found so many similarities.”

Karina enrolled in a Hawaiian studies course in her first semester at school, which has offered her significant insights into the culture of the people who first settled these islands. In her words: “It’s given me a really strong foundation so I know what land I’m stepping on for the rest of my four years.”

Moving to Oahu wasn’t always a clear-cut decision for Karina, who is an only child. She had to leave her mother behind in Valley Center.

She also had a few moments when she questioned her decision. As she told us: “When I got to school, I thought ‘What did I do? I’m on a rock on the middle of the ocean!’ I think everybody [who moves to Hawaii] goes through that type of thing.”

However, Karina soon learned to enjoy the change. “I love it so much,” she said after her first semester at school.

Since everyone moves to Hawaii differently, we asked Karina some questions to give us additional insight into how she made the transition. Maybe it will inspire your own leap of faith to move to Hawaii!

From San Diego to Oahu: Karina’s Hawaii Moving Story

Royal Hawaiian Movers: How did you end up on Oahu? What are your future plans?

Karina: “I’m doing my degree in elementary education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. My goal was always to come back to my hometown and teach in the district that I went to school in. I know there’s a teacher shortage on Oahu, so I don’t know if I’m going to forget to go home or not!”

Royal Hawaiian Movers: Everyone moves to Oahu differently. How did you do it?    Karina: “I was worried about how I was going to get all my stuff there. My entire dorm wasn’t going to fit in a carry-on, you know? But we were able to fit everything into a crate [also known as a lift van]. I was able to fit my microwave, my mini-fridge—absolutely everything that you would think belonged in a dorm. It took about two weeks to get there, and it was already there by the time I got to Oahu for Moving Day. A crew delivered it to the freshman dorms for me. Everything arrived in perfect condition.”

Royal Hawaiian Movers: Now that you’ve had some time to explore the island, will you share some of your favorite spots on Oahu with us?

Karina: “For snorkeling, Hanauma Bay. For a good place to eat, go to LuLu’s in Waikiki. They have really good hamburgers with pineapple on them. For poke, there’s a place called Ono Seafood on Kapahulu Avenue. It’s always got long lines, but that’s the place to go.”

Royal Hawaiian Movers: Any advice for someone considering a move to Oahu?    Karina: “Be prepared! Even though it’s still the ‘United States,’ it’s different out here. There’s traffic. But I just enjoy being like around the environment in Oahu. This is my way of life now, and I love it.”    Royal Hawaiian Movers: Anything you miss about California?

Karina: “My family. As I said, we’re Mexican, so we’re all really close. Oh, and my boots! I miss wearing my boots. They’ll come back with me [to Oahu] next semester.”


Look for future editions of My Hawaii Moving Story on our blog. If you have ideas for people or businesses you’d like to see profiled, leave us a comment!

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