Winter in Hawaii

Group of Miami students in Hawaii holding the Miami flag

While the snow is just beginning to fall in Oxford, several Miami engineering students are kicking off their 2016 in sunny Hawaii.


Students are taking CCA 111: Innovation, Creativity, and Design Thinking this winter term. They are learning and applying the concept of ‘Design Thinking’ to their off-campus experience by working with a local non-profit organization, River of Life Mission.

Design thinking is the process of applying design concepts to the way people work. It allows a person's technology experience and interaction with other complex systems to be simple, intuitive, and pleasurable. [Source: Harvard Business Review]

River of Life Mission needs user-centered solutions that also account for the unique challenges of island life. The company's purpose is to help the impoverished community in the area through food, housing, clothing, recovery, and financial services.

Students will also learn about the Polynesian culture and other problem solving techniques such as ethnography, brainstorming, and prototyping.


Grass hut

Native people of Hawaii used grass huts as a sleeping place.

While not in class, the group will visit The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Students will apply design concepts to these tours to better understand Hawaiian lifestyle. They also have the opportunity to explore Oahu and neighboring islands in their free time. 

For more information about other study abroad experiences, visit Miami’s study abroad website.