Aloha! – Aloha is in pretty much everything positive on Oahu – be it a greeting, a sign of affection or just that very specific “Aloha spirit” that people spread. I went to the 6-week Summer Term at Hawai’i Pacific University with a fellow FHDW student last summer and we noticed one thing very quickly: The people on Oahu are mostly very optimistic and relaxed.Other people, who one would perhaps describe as “something of their own” in this country, are accepted and integrated there just as they are and everyone comfortably goes their own way. Nevertheless, this deep relaxation can sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking, for example if you meet friends for an excursion at 11 am, which according to “Hawaiian Time” is often interpreted as 1 am.
Nevertheless, the university is absolutely not to be underestimated! Even if you were often smiled at in advance according to the motto “Yeah … you are taking a surf course there, right?” – Unfortunately, that’s not the case! In contrast to German universities, Oahu does not have a large exam at the end of the semester or term. Instead, the grades consist of a large mix of essays, online quizzes and other assignments. The short 6-week term in particular contains the same material as a 3-month term, just condensed. The two courses I took were Research, Argument & Writing, and Business Communication. Good … that you write a lot in a writing class was predictable. In fact, there were 2 research essays with 5/6 pages each, the final essay (10-12 pages) and a reflection essay. There was also some homework. In the other course I was supposed to write a complete business report of 15 pages, give a speech about it and there was a lot of graded “homework” as well as a final exam. None of this was really difficult, but spread over just 6 weeks was not very pleasant. So it happened that you often felt like you were in a golden cage – the best panorama in front of the door, but tied to the laptop. However, it should be emphasized very positively that the professors are incredibly committed and are bursting with enthusiasm for their subject. They were really extremely helpful and open-minded and made the lectures very interactive. Check andyeducation to see more reviews from current students.
The little free time that was left was all the nicer. The island has so much to offer and the nature is unique . That is why I particularly enjoyed the “hiking” (a mixture of hiking and climbing). On Hawai’i, this is by no means a senior activity, but is above all a great activity for teenagers and young adults who want to do sports and enjoy the incredible view. Especially when afterwards – after enjoying the view from a climbed mountain – you can simply hop into the turquoise sea (which, by the way, is crystal clear) to refresh yourself.
I particularly liked the pillbox hike (see photo) on Lanikai Beach, for example. Those who are looking for a challenge should also climb Koko Head. The so-called “stairs of doom” include over 1000 (partly) very steep steps along an earlier railway track system, which should not be underestimated in the heat.
The pineapple plantation was definitely worth a trip. The trip with the Pineapple Express was very nice and the ice cream produced there was highly recommended and refreshing. Otherwise, of course, all the beaches are a dream. A “traditional” spectacle with singing and dancing takes place several times a week on Waikiki Beach. Also Iolani Palace, the only palace in the USA, worth visiting. In addition, it is one of the filming locations of the series Hawai’i five 0 along with some other sights in Honolulu, such as the statue of King Kamehameha. Therefore, it was always a pleasure to see the series and recognize the locations. However, the other, less touristy side of the island is particularly beautiful. There you can experience a completely different side of Oahu, which is much quieter and more idyllic. Turtle Bay was also an attraction and you actually got to see numerous turtles.
If I were to give you a few tips for your stay, I would recommend on the one hand not to pack any long clothes – they are just unnecessary ballast in the suitcase! However, one or two thick sweaters are still advisable, as the air conditioning in the university building is ironically freezing – in other words, from stifling heat in freezing cold. On the other hand, it is not unwise to take a good supply of suntan lotion, deodorant or other hygiene items with you, as these are really incredibly expensive on Oahu. Basically everything is very, very expensive, but cosmetics etc. are special. As far as accommodation is concerned, my fellow student and I have a room in an elderly lady’s apartment rented through Airbnb. The lady herself was not there, but from time to time we had other roommates from all over the world, with whom we had mostly positive experiences. The price was fair and the apartment was a 15-20 minute walk from the university. At this point it should be added that, in contrast to everything else and in contrast to the prices in Germany, bus tickets are really very cheap. At the beginning it is a little difficult to see through the bus system, but when you have made it (there is also an app!), The bus is a good alternative. Nevertheless, we were not unhappy to be taken by friends in the car on longer trips.
Finally, I actually recommend the longer 3-month term! The 6 weeks were a wonderful experience, but because of the whole university program I would not choose the short term again if you really want to experience something on the island and get around. My fellow student and I, for example, would have liked to visit one or two of the neighboring islands, which we were unfortunately unable to do.
Mahalo, Hawai’i! We would like to visit you again soon !!!