Preparation and arrival
A visa is required for the USA , which you can apply for online and then have an interview at the embassy (e.g. Berlin). This is more of a formality and the visa is sent to you by post after about a week. The total cost of the visa is around € 350.
I applied in January for the coming autumn semester and after 3-4 weeks I received an acceptance from the HPU .
With health insurance you have to make sure that it meets the requirements of the HPU, which the German health insurance companies usually do. If you stay longer than a semester, a tuberculosis test is also necessary.
Financing the stay abroad / costs on site
The biggest cost considerations are clearly the tuition, housing and living. From Germany you should definitely apply for BAföG abroad, because they also offer further financial support if you meet the criteria. The cost of living in Hawaii is very high. You can clearly see that in the prices in the supermarket. Therefore, it is good to go shopping at the Farmer’s Markets, as it also supports regional agriculture. The rents are also quite high. Expect to pay around $ 800-1000 a month for rent.
Books for university are also very expensive here, so it is worth looking for used books on the Internet or borrowing them from Amazon. The HPU also has some Facebook groups such as “Sell your stuff @HPU”. Some books are not needed for the course, but are still on the reading list. It is best to find out from the lecturer to what extent he / she uses the books. Other expenses are based on recreational activities such as renting a surfboard or renting a car to see the other part of the island.
I financed the semester abroad myself, with the support of my parents and the grant from Hamburglobal. Don’t be afraid to apply for a scholarship.
Accommodation and meals
There are the Loa and Downtown campuses. Both have student dormitories , but they are very expensive, you have to stick to a meal plan, and students who stay for at least a year are given preference when renting. I can advise against living on campus. I lived off-campus and can recommend it to everyone. The best districts are Waikiki or Ala Moana (approx. 30 minutes to the university). Although it is touristy there, it is also safe at night when you go home and everything you need is within walking distance. It is best to look online in Facebook groups or to walk through the streets and call the numbers there that offer apartments.
I only had a lecture on the downtown campus and there are many small restaurants on Fort Street where you can sample your way around the world. I mostly took food from home to save some money.
The HPU is a very international university and there were very few Americans in my courses. You could choose the courses from Germany, but you could also change your choice on site without any problems. I can advise you to look for the lecturers at “rate my professor” beforehand and to take this into account when choosing your course . In general, you have to do a lot at the university during the semester. Several assignments and quizzes a week are normal. Although the level is lower than in Germany, the volume and workload for the individual courses are very high. The courses at the HPU are very small. There may well be only six students in a course.
The student ID is automatically the bus ticket for the whole island and the bus connection on O’ahu is very good. Immediately after arriving in Hawaii you have to “check in” at the university so that the I-20, on which your visa is based, remains valid. There are many places of study on campus and access is through the student ID card. The language requirements depend on the course. But you should already have level B2 to be able to participate actively.
The state of Hawaii offers free legal advice, which helped us a lot when we had problems with our landlord.
Course of study
To meet the visa requirements, 12 credits must be earned, which is the equivalent of four courses. I was able to choose the courses in a relaxed manner from home and I also received all of the courses I wanted. The courses were very different from those at my home university. The forms of examination at the end were the same as an exam. During the semester there were still several exams, tests, quizzes and lots of homework. That was partly good, but also exhausting, because you can’t get out of learning. But the grade was not only dependent on the final exam.
I attended Cross-Cultural-Relations, Management and Organzational Behavior, Principles of Macroeconomics and International Trade and Finance . With the exception of the second course, I can recommend all courses. The courses are numbered and these numbers indicate the level of difficulty. 1,000 courses are easier than 3,000 courses. The requirements of the courses vary accordingly.
The International Office or generally all other university employees offered their help at every opportunity. Check jibin123 to see more reviews from current students.
Everyday life / leisure activities
There are more than enough recreational opportunities in Hawaii . Surfing, hiking or exploring the beaches are cheap activities. All of these things have to be done because they are a lot of fun. Surfing is part of Hawaii and the best place for beginners is Waikiki. The surf school “Moku” also offers student membership, which is worthwhile if you surf a lot. When hiking you are always rewarded with a beautiful view , although you have to be aware that some hikes are illegal and high penalties threaten if you should be caught. There are hikes of every difficulty level and length, so there is something for everyone. Download the “Alltrails” app and you have all the hikes with you on your smartphone.
The North Shore in Haleiwa has the best acai bowles and in general the city is very beautiful there. There are also many secluded beaches if you drive along the North Shore. The best way to book your car is with the car rental company “Alamo”. If you book the car on the German website, it is much cheaper than the American one.
The F-1 visa allows work on campus. There were also opportunities to do this, but in my opinion it would have been difficult in terms of time to work alongside university and also to have free time.
The people in Hawaii are very nice and helpful if you are friendly to them. They attach great importance to treating the environment with respect. A negative and sad aspect are the homeless in Hawaii. Especially in downtown there are a lot of drug addicts, but there is always security on campus so that they do not come into the university buildings.
It is of course warm in Hawaii, although it gets a little colder in winter and the temperature drops from over 30 degrees to 25 degrees. But it is very cold in the university because the buildings are excessively cooled down. So bring a sweater.
I can recommend everyone to go abroad. Studying at another university was a lot of fun and I got to know a completely different system. Each country has a different focus and I learned a lot in Hawaii about their economic relationship with the mainland of the United States.