Online student takes classes from Hawaii


Photo courtesy of Lilly Roser

Second-year transfer studies student Lilly Roser spent the fall semester studying, learning Spanish and touring Costa Rica.

Sydney Klabnik, Contributor

An AACC student has turned virtual learning into a travel adventure.

Lilly Roser, a second-year transfer studies student, spent the spring 2021 semester in Hawaii taking AACC classes online. In the fall, she moved to Costa Rica and took a gap semester.

“I think it’s just really important for me to be able to adventure and see a lot of the world if I can,” Roser said.

To be able to live in Hawaii, Roser worked at a coffee shop five days a week. She did her school work in the afternoons and reserved her weekends for exploring.

“While it is amazing to live in a wonderful place and be able to travel, there’s a lot of self responsibility,” Roser said. “It was kind of like work hard, play hard.”

Roser lived with her sister and two other roommates in Hawaii. She moved to Hawaii after completing a semester at Elon University in North Carolina in fall 2020.

Being at Elon “was the most amazing experience ever,” Roser explained. “I met a bunch of friends there, and I didn’t want to leave. But then it was just really expensive.”

Roser added: “I wanted to go to college, but I knew it would be really hard for me because of the financial resources that you need. … I was like, ‘How can I still get this opportunity while also experiencing other things?’”

Because her classes were virtual during the pandemic, Roser said, she could take them from anywhere.

“If I was able to be all online, I could live somewhere and travel,” Roser said. “If I was going to pay rent somewhere, why not somewhere cool, you know? So [AACC] kind of gave me that opportunity to do that.”

After returning home from her semester in Hawaii, Roser realized she wanted to live in Costa Rica for fall 2021.

She worked a part-time job to save money for her Costa Rica trip. She took three AACC summer courses so she could take a gap semester.

“I knew that if I wanted to go to Costa Rica, I didn’t want to be doing AACC online classes while I was there,” Roser noted. “I really wanted to try and learn Spanish, so it would have been confusing.”

While in Costa Rica, Roser lived with a host family and went to a local school during the week to learn Spanish.

Roser arrived back in the U.S. in late November. “I’m just kind of taking a breather,” she explained. “And during these few months of the holiday season, I need to get together all of my transfer applications to figure out where I’m going for junior and senior year of college.”

Roser is still figuring out where she will live this spring—her final semester at AACC before she graduates.

“I am hoping to travel somewhere when I can,” Roser said. “I’m taking all online classes again at AACC, which allows me to be flexible with traveling. I’ll probably go to Europe or something.”

Roser noted her mom has “been really supportive, and I’m super grateful for that. I wouldn’t be able to do any of the travel that I’ve done without her.”

Roser explained the challenges she experienced while traveling as a student.

“It’s great, but it’s also really hard,” she noted. “I go to all these places, and then I leave, and then I go somewhere new and I settle, and then I leave. So the constant back and forth is difficult, but it’s really worth it.”