Selection and preparation
From the beginning of my studies it was clear to me that I wanted to spend my 6th semester abroad. When it came to looking more closely at the possibilities, I realized that I really want to travel to a country where I can surf or learn it properly. My university has a few partner universities, but hardly in places where you can really surf all year round and do not need B2 Spanish, such as in Brazil. And the way I am, I started to spin a bit and thought to myself “Why don’t I go back to the roots moderately to the place where I was born surfing?” – to Hawaii.
The crazy idea slowly but surely became a reality when I applied to HPU. Your website, as a free mover , helped me with all university-related issues and communicated with Hawaii Pacific University . In this context, I can really only recommend the organization. For any questions, from university-specific questions about my visa application to looking for accommodation, they always gave me a detailed and super helpful answer within a very short time .
At the time of my decision to go to Hawaii I was already too late for the “Fulbright Scholarship” , which is awarded over a year in advance, but the best funding option if you want to go to America. Fortunately, after I was accepted by the HPU, I was able to successfully apply for the PROMOS scholarship at my home university. In addition, the application for BAföG abroad is always worth a try. Plus, all exchange students at HPU receive financial support, which at least slightly lowers the high tuition fees of around $ 9,000 per semester. Nonetheless, going to an American college and the cost of living, especially in Hawaii, are tough.
Arrival and accommodation
After all the bureaucratic and organizational preparations with visa application and personal interview in the American embassy, flight booking and so on had been resolved, it started on January 10, 2019. In total, I was on the road for 30 hours from Berlin via London and LA to Hawaii. In advance I booked a transport from the airport to my flat share, as large suitcases and other pieces of luggage are not allowed on the buses in Hawaii.
I found my 3-person flat share through a post in an “HPU International Student” Facebook group. In the middle of the tourist hotspot in Waikiki, I lived with two other exchange students, a student from Italy and my roommate from Denmark. Fortunately, we got one Shared a room for two and were able to share the extremely high rental rates on the island. 10 percent of the Hawaiian population is homeless, which is one of the biggest problems facing paradise here. The main reason for this is definitely the extreme rental rates (starting at $ 1,000 each Month / room) as well as missing health insurance.
I can recommend Waikiki as a place to live for a semester abroad, you can be on the beach in five minutes , which offers good waves for beginners and advanced surfers, especially in summer, there is always something on offer, such as hula shows and all the street parties right in front of the door instead of.
Hawaii Pacific University is divided into two locations on the island. The Hawaii Loa Campus is located on the east coast and is primarily geared towards the “Marine Biology” and “Environment” courses . My courses were all in the middle of the financial center , downtown Honolulu. The semester ran from mid-January to early May. Almost 5,000 students attend Hawaii Pacific University, which is one of the three universities on the island of Oahu. The majority of the students are from either the island itself or mainland America, as well as approximately 500 international students. There are also many soldiers and veterans among the students, as Hawaii is still one of the largest military bases in America.
The university teaches and lives according to the three Hawaiian values: Pono (= honest, ethically correct), Kuleana (= responsibility, justice for all interests and nationalities) and Aloha. Aloha does not only mean hello and goodbye, but also has the deeper meaning of warm-heartedness, kindness, affection and love; broken down it means “the breath of life”. It is not just a simple word here, but describes a lifestyle and way of treating other people, which is particularly noticeable in the inner balance, serenity, positive nature and friendliness of the people. The spirit of Aloha is even written down in law as a reminder for those in power to treat the population with honest care and respect and to care for their well-being. Check ehuacom to see more reviews from current students.
As an exchange student, I was able to choose my courses across disciplines, which is why I chose a mixture of psychology , communication and sociology , or rather “Abnormal Psychology” , “Technical Communication” , “Interpersonal Communication” and “Peace Studies”. Everyday life at the university was very different from that at my home university. It reminded me a lot of my school days: With around 15-20 students per course, the classes were significantly smaller, there were a lot of homework, tests, submissions and mandatory attendance during the semester, which, however, made the examination phase very relaxed at the end. In general, the Profs were even more interested in discussions and interactions, but this also meant that significantly less material was covered. Critical thinking should be taught through all the discussions. Both systems have their advantages, but the grading was very simple and the standard was very low. So you get an A in the subjects without any problems as soon as you submit the submissions and take part in the lessons, which in my opinion is not very useful and also unmotivated.
The fact that education is so expensive due to the high tuition fees, plus book costs and the like, explains the many sports scholarships. It was also a good experience for me to see how privileged we are in Germany that everyone can attend a university and that we do n’t have to let the book costs influence our course choice, for example .
Life in Hawaii
To be honest, the effort kept me busy during the semester and wasn’t a kind of alibi study. Nonetheless, life on the beach is just so much nicer , especially here in Hawaii. There is nothing better than going surfing in the morning before university, going on one of the many wonderful hikes / climbing routes , jumping off one of the cliffs , going snorkeling or swimming with sharks, dolphins and turtles. Hawaii has so much to offer: within a few minutes you can get to one of the dream beaches in the midst of breathtaking grass-green mountains, find beautiful waterfalls or explore the other sides of the island, all of which exude their very own spirit and lifestyle .
Hawaii was an incredible experience, with many unique stories, great people and a new home for which I am more than grateful and can only recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity. If you would like to experience more information and impressions of Hawaii, listen to my podcast at the following link: https://soundcloud.com/horads-88-6/sets/sophie-goes-paradise. Mahalo.