Aloha :-), I’ll make it short and practical for everyone who would like to study at the HPU: The course was great fun and I wouldn’t prefer any other university to the HPU.
I would decide exactly the same again. Hawaii offers PERFECT conditions for a great time and the university is really good and I have taken a lot with me from the islands for my further studies, but also for my life. Hawaii takes you further in every way – it’s a magical place. But: It is also up to you what you make of it. Hawaii is not what you see in Hollywood movies (that too, but …). There is a lot of military in Hawaii, Honolulu is a huge city with many rich and beautiful, but also poor and sick people. There is a lot to discover and you should be open to the Hawaiian (hula, aloha, great people), but also the American (Burger King, total shopping, easy-going) culture. I love both although the two cultures are sadly very critical of each other (Hawaii was annexed by the USA, against the will of the Hawaiians). The Asian influence is also immense.
The university has 2 campuses. Downtown is functional, just in the middle of the city. If you can, you should also take something on the other campus – there is a shuttle that is constantly commuting. If you don’t have a course there, you should definitely visit the Winloa Campus! It’s great! Check hetongdiy to see more reviews from current students.
Here are my best of and tips:
Party: parties of the HPU (Sweden party, Norwegian party), Chinatown clubs (especially on “First Friday”), Maddogg (if you want something American and can have a lot of short drinks, many soldiers, free entry)
Housing: Housing Office of the HPU, roommates Search via StudiVZ, craigslist.com, do not look for an apartment on site beforehand !, first go to a hostel (YHA Waikiki is clean and good) and search for at least 1 week, popular areas: Waikiki, Ala Moana, on site simply in large, high buildings are walking and the notice boards are checking for vacancies.
Bus: Get your ticket very cheaply at the HPU bookstore. Absolutely!
Books: Buy beforehand on Amazon (but new edition!), Is really expensive in the HPU Bookstore, you can definitely sell all the books again at the end of the bookstore (but there is not much money left for it). I only paid $ 80 (Amazon, copies of the books) and got 30 back, others paid $ 500 in the bookstore !!!!! Don’t let yourself be persuaded that you HAVE to buy them in the bookstore.
Best island trip: Kauai (hostel or bed and breakfast stay)
Airline: Hawaiian Airline (80, – Dollar
round trip for islands) Health insurance: Mawista (much better and cheaper than HPU insurance), ATTENTION: only insured emergencies, previous illnesses absolutely excluded!
Bank: First Hawaiian Bank
Hospital in an emergency: Queens Hospital (near HPU, very good)
Supermarket: Wal Mart (24 hours, relatively cheap), Sam’s Club (large quantities, but cheap), large chains (be sure to get
your membership card , it’s available immediately and costs nothing! E.g. Safeway Beach: Ala Moana Beach (quieter, more chilled than Waikiki) , outside the city: great almost everywhere !!!!
Rent aJSights: Pearl Harbor (free), Sea Life Park, Kualoa Ranch, definitely visit the UH Hawaii game (football), North Shore, Waikiki of course and a thousand other things too
car: cheap and okay, just rent a few people and do a tour: VIP Car Rental (Waikiki)
Food: Cheeseburger in Paradise, Tony Roma, Cheesecake Factory, AHI (directly on campus) cheap chains … (almost Food !!) ATTENTION: WE are all bigger;)
Cinema: One Dollar Movie Theater, Ward Center (expensive)
Bar: Definitely to Duke’s, Ala Moana Center, Waikiki,… ..
Shopping: Ala Moana Center, Ward Center, Abercrombie, American Eagle,…
HPU courses: a Hawaiian culture course attend if you still have credits (possibly: “Polynesian Surfing”, cool people, “hot” prof;) – or a course from Lynette Cruz or Kaimikaua for real Hawaiian culture), my favorite course: American politics at Ken Schooland, also: attend readings (always gives free pizza and is really interesting), theater of the HPU, use offers of the HPU !, if you still have 1 credit: play tennis !!!!
Friends: Don’t just stay with the Germans, it’s also great fun, but also look for friends in the courses!
Coffee: Starbucks, or Hawaii coffee (cheaper and better)
EXTRA-Tip: Be sure to get a Hawaiian ID (15, -), you get everything cheaper on presentation (hotels (50% partly !!!, just look on the internet), shopping, … ..) and it’s cool to have a passport from there !!!!
Stopover: NEW YORK, who can and wants to …
All in all, just wait and see everything yourself- everyone is different and likes different things- everyone will find out for themselves what they really like in the end !! But hope the tips help you at the beginning. Wish you all the best, have a great time and Mahalo !!!!!