Aloha, that’s the first word that you should learn if you want to study in Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go to these islands, and thanks to the great support from MicroEDU, my plan worked out even after a few small preparations. Then in January 2006 my dream became a reality. On a cold, snowy day I got on the plane to arrive in warm Oahu after a 24 hour flight. Immediately after arriving, I met some Australians in the hostel, with whom I went to the first tiki bar that evening.
The start at the university a few days later went smoothly and the search for an apartment went well. Living in Waikiki is definitely the best alternative, because in downtown, where the university is also, there is dead silence from 10pm. So if you like to plunge into the nightlife like me, you are definitely better off in the tourist mecca of Waikiki. Living together with my two Swedish and one German roommate was great. Since the students are very international and open-minded, I got to know a lot of people very quickly.
The lessons at the university are a little different than in Germany. The focus here is not so much on mathematics and is more communicative than I was used to here at my German university. The many presentations in English helped me a lot.
In terms of leisure activities, the island has a lot to offer. The nightlife is great and varied. Waikiki is full of clubs, but there are nice bars and pubs in other parts of the city as well. An insider tip is certainly the Magoos, near the University of Hawaii, where everything between student, surfer and freak meets on Thursday.
Thanks to the very good bus system, you can reach every spot on the island quickly and cheaply. Whether beaches on the Northshore or hikes, the buses go everywhere.
Yes and then there is surfing. Waikiki in particular is a great spot for beginners. I learned to surf there. The other parts offer good spots for every level of difficulty.
In terms of prices, Waikiki is a bit expensive. However, you can shop cheaply if you drive downtown or try to buy in hypermarkets. You won’t find German food prices anywhere, but with a little planning you can also shop cheaply in Hawaii.
All in all, it was an amazing semester. Every open-minded, cosmopolitan person will experience an unforgettable time on this island. I still think about sun, surfing and Hang Loose every day….
Good luck and fun to everyone who decides to go to Hawaii. ALOHA!
The HPU is in the middle of Honolulu’s downtown, so it doesn’t have its own campus, but is right in the pedestrian zone. There is another campus, the Winward Campus, but I didn’t take any courses there (a visit is recommended because the landscape is beautiful). Learn more about Hawaii Pacific University on andyeducation.
As a master’s student, I was classified undergraduate. The courses you get are a little to very below the usual level. On the other hand, much more attention was paid to the practical things and to the group dynamics. Therefore, studying here is particularly suitable for learning the language and how to deal with one another. The instructors are more like the teachers in the school than in the German university. Overall, however, they are much more helpful than in Germany and personal contact can also be cultivated. Tip: four courses are actually enough, you usually have a lot of homework and tests in the courses, even if the courses are not that difficult. If you have any problems, you can always contact the International Students Center.
The university is very multicultural, which is a big plus. You also meet a lot of military people and senior students. Otherwise there are also many freshmen who can be 16 or 17 years old in the USA. Overall, you benefit a lot from the multicultural environment, even if it is sometimes exhausting to adapt to other cultures.
This is where Waikiki is best, because that’s where it’s always the busiest and the beach is on your doorstep. However, Waikiki is also a kind of tourist hell if you live there long enough and can get on your nerves quickly. To meet people from Honolulu you can also go to various clubs and pubs downtown. Living outside of Waikiki (20 minutes by bus / bike ride to the university) or downtown (directly at the university) is not recommended, however, because you want to hear something. In any case, the student residences are not worthwhile, they are way too overpriced and there are mostly only the freshmen there, as the students who are practically under supervision. You should be prepared for a rent of at least 600 dollars, even if you might find something cheaper. You have to be prepared for the very overpriced food (because everything is imported), but if you get a card from the Sam’s Club or Costco hypermarkets, you can make ends meet. Tip: There is a lot of Asian fast food on campus, better than McDonalds and co.
So, there is an infinite number of things to see in Hawaii. The best thing to do is to buy a good travel guide (e.g. Lonely Planet) and fly to the other islands (you can even start at 25 dollars). From surfing, snorkeling, hiiken, watching volcanoes, swimming with dolphins, doing other sports to just lying in the sun, you can do everything here.
the weather is relatively reliable, it is always warm here, a little more in summer than in winter (around 25 degrees).
Don’t be put off so quickly by the very urban Waikiki and Downtown (because it’s a normal big city) and discover the many sights and beautiful places.