The organization of my stay abroad went very smoothly and didn’t take very long. I made the decision to study at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) quite late because I initially planned to apply to a university in Australia. The beginning of the semester did not fit into my planning, because the semester in Australia starts on August 1st and I still had several important appointments in August. In addition, the semester abroad at the universities that I researched (including Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) is surprisingly much more expensive (approx. 9,000 AUD) compared to Hawaii ($ 765 per credit with 9 credits compulsory (see here)). The entire semester fee (of around $ 6,500) was borne by me, at the exchange rate at that time, from the subsidy from the Foreign Office. The semester starts on 1.
At this point a tip for all those who are already planning a semester abroad for their master’s degree during their bachelor thesis: If you want to apply for master’s courses at the HPU, but do not yet have a bachelor’s degree, this is still feasible. I had only graduated in August and had sent a document from my supervisor in advance, confirming that I would probably finish my bachelor’s degree in mid-August. The administration of the HPU accepted that and I only had to submit the official certificate later. After that was clarified, I received an information folder from the HPU with all the information about the registration process. I will not explain this in detail now, it is important that you can prove that you have enough money (around $ 15,000 is required), since you need the proof for the visa application.
The next step was the journey, the cheapest is to book a roundtrip ticket (to Hawaii approx. Between 1000 – 1400 €). Most students arrived 2-3 weeks before the start of the semester and lived in a hostel during that time. From there we all looked for apartments, partly online (craigslist.org) partly we just went straight to the apartment buildings. This way, the shared apartments can be found together quickly, and it worked out great. Almost all houses have a blackboard in front of the front door where landlords can pin information about empty rental apartments. So I found an apartment with my roommates. I happened to meet the landlord who spontaneously showed me his apartment. But be careful with “advance payments”. We had the case that a landlord wanted to have the entire rent (4 months rent) at once and then it turned out that it was the drug addict previous tenant … The only residential area is actually Waikiki. Of course you can move somewhere else (e.g. Honolulu Center), but most of it is going on in Waikiki, that’s where it’s most beautiful and that’s where the best parties are. The journey to the university takes about 25-35 minutes by bus (line 2 or 13). Check liuxers to see more reviews from current students.
The university itself is quite small in a kind of small pedestrian zone with lots of small shops. There are several cafes and Asian restaurants, so ideal for the breaks between classes. As far as I know, there is no cafeteria. The library is recommendable, it extends over 5 floors and you almost always get a place and have peace and quiet there to study. There are also special group work rooms that you can sign up for. Whoever hopes to meet locals at the university will unfortunately have to be disappointed. If you combine Germans and Scandinavians as 2 groups, they make up at least 75% of the students. At least in my courses there were maybe 2-3 Americans for every 15-20 students.
In terms of level, the courses are not comparable to German courses. The effort is much higher (2 exams (midterm + final exam) and approx. 5-6 assignments per course), but the requirements are much lower compared to my home university. Multiple-choice tests are carried out almost everywhere and are very easy to prepare for. The quality partly depends very much on the professors, whoever attaches importance to it should inform themselves beforehand on rating portals. I took International Business Management, among other things, the course was absolutely underground. The teacher talked about breaking news half the time and asked us what we would like to talk about. The other half we watched films from the 80s and watched automatically (!) Running presentations (with language track, the teacher has googled in the meantime). One of my courses was online. That means that you didn’t have to be physically present, but there were a lot more assignments required. In my course (Knowledge Management) we had to take part in “discussions” every week. To do this, we had to read through a case study and answer 6 questions that were also rated.
In general, I can say that the semester abroad didn’t bring me much further professionally. However, it is relatively easy to take good grades with you, which has paid off for me because I can have the grades recognized. On a personal level, the semester abroad in Hawaii was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. It is heavenly there on all the islands, there is so much to experience there and you get to know many unique people. I can wholeheartedly recommend everyone to take this chance. I stopped counting how many of my friends and acquaintances said to me “I wish I had taken the chance when I was young”. Don’t become one of them;) I promise you won’t regret it.
Here are a few more tips summarized:
- Get a Hawaii ID!
-> simplifies the ID check in bars
-> gives you lots of discounts (Kama’aina discount)
-> great souvenirs
- Skydiving with a group of friends!
-> nowhere as cheap as in Hawaii
-> unbelievable and unique experience
-> incredible view with a very high jump (4 KM)
- Travel to other islands!
-> costs around $ 160 round trip
-> many islands have incredible beaches and waterfalls
- Use Wallmart’s right of return!
-> Wallmwart takes back almost everything that was needed
-> if you go camping or anything else, buy something there (tent for example), use it
and give it back. In almost all cases, you will be fully reimbursed.
- Rent a car!
-> simplifies the round trip on the islands
-> however costs an extra fee for under 25 years old, but it is affordable
- Buy a surfboard!
-> simply has to be in Hawaii
-> you can sell almost loss-free before you leave, provided that there is no major damage (via Craigslist for example)
- Have open eyes and ears for events
-> there is always something going on somewhere in Hawaii (surf contests, markets, street parties etc.)
-> an example: 1st Friday Party in China Town every first Friday of the month
-> A good site to look up is : http://www.hnlnow.com/events/main.php