First of all: do it !!! Take this chance and go to Hawaii !! I spent the best time of my life there, met amazing people from all over the world, experienced breathtaking nature and learned to love the Hawaiian culture! There is no other place like it on the mainland of the United States. Hawaii is just an absolute PARADISE !! But: saves enough money, because life in paradise is expensive…
I applied about 8 months before the start of the course, which made it very easy, but I also know several who applied only 1.5 months in advance and everything worked out anyway. You have to fill out some documents, take out health insurance (e.g. Mawista is accepted by the HPU), take passport photos for the visa, fill out some documents online, drive to the US embassy, etc. It is best to get to the embassy as early as possible (possible max. 3 months before the start of the program), otherwise long waiting times are to be expected. The interview itself only takes 2 minutes. The cheapest flight can be booked for 900 €. If you book through Statravel, you can postpone the return date for a small fee, which I highly recommend if you decide to stay a little longer. In general: You don’t have to worry that you will be accepted by the HPU; everyone is accepted there as the exchange students are an extremely profitable source of income for the HPU. The MicroEDU team supported me enormously in the application process, responded very quickly to my questions and was always helpful. Visit jibin123.com to get information about best cities to study in Finland.
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- Go to the mandatory information event of the HPU.
- You can skip Passport Week, you will get to know enough people that way!
- Buy the bus pass in the Book Store.
- Apply for the Kamaaina card (State ID) online (cost approx. 18 $) and pick it up a few days later, otherwise you sometimes have to wait several hours at the “office”. With the card you get a lot of discounts and it is very worthwhile. You will also have a Hawaiian ID.:) https://stateid.ehawaii.gov/stateid/start.xhtml?_flowExecutionKey=_cD5A2FE28-939D-F931-DBD3-2A9616BBEAFB_kDBF666E3-314E-EBE2-7B66-317B896AB8AD
- Buy a cell phone card (for example, I had a prepaid card from T-Mobile: for $ 60 a month I had an Internet flat rate, a flat rate for US cell phone numbers and landlines, and a flat rate for German landlines).
- Wait to buy the books until the lecturers provide information. In the bookstore the books are overpriced and are partly sold. not withdrawn after the semester. I borrowed mine through college bookrenter.
Most students initially live in the hostel (it is best to reserve a week in advance). It is ideal if you arrive 3 weeks before the start of the university. I stayed at the Waikiki Beachside Hostel, which I do not recommend as it is very dirty and noisy. After 2 days I moved from the hostel to the Aqua Waikiki Pearl Hotel with another girl, which was far more pleasant and only cost about $ 10 more per person per night…
Apartments can be found via Craigslist, Padmapper (enter zip code 96815) and VRBO. After 5 days through Craigslist I found an apartment in the middle of Waikiki, where I lived in a small house with an American HPU student. Everyone had their own room (each about 15 m2 and we shared the kitchen, bathroom and living room. Including utilities (electricity, water, internet etc.) I paid $ 860. A room of your own in a shared apartment costs at least 700 $, a studio, i.e. a small 1-room apartment, costs at least $ 1000. Many also share a room, which of course reduces the price. However, you should think carefully beforehand whether you are going to have a room for such a long time share with another person … Most students live in high-rise buildings. Even if that doesn’t really fit into the Hawaiian way of life, you have to strike if you get something good, as the apartments in Waikiki are very popular. In the case of high-rise buildings, there is usually a pool and BBQ area, which also has advantages! Most students found an apartment within 1.5 weeks. Don’t be stressed, you will find something !!
In general, you have to lower your expectations, as the apartments there are much more primitive than in Germany. However, since you don’t spend much time in the apartment anyway, but have thousands of opportunities to do something, you are happy to accept that!;)
I would recommend you to stay in Waikiki, because that’s where the most happening is, but the tourists get on your nerves after a while. Otherwise, Ala Moana is also a good alternative. I wouldn’t recommend downtown because you can’t get away in the evening (the bus only runs until 1 at the weekend) and there are a lot of homeless people there. It takes 30 minutes to get to the university from Waikiki by bus!
The university… I have to admit, I liked EVERYTHING about Hawaii except the university. It didn’t matter because I didn’t come to Hawaii with the intention of seriously studying there, I just wanted to have a great time! If you seriously want to continue your education and are looking for a reputable university where you can learn something new, the HPU is not the right one. The HPU is a fun university and I really don’t know anyone who has learned a lot. Even if you have to write a lot of papers and reviews (e.g. about hula dancing, playing the ukulele and drinking kava) and it takes a lot of time at the beginning and is just annoying, you can easily get an A if you are diligent and submit everything on time. Very often deadlines have also been postponed; the university and the lecturers are very relaxed and everything is not taken that seriously. The only important thing is not to be absent often, as attendance is graded. The final exam grades are usually only 30%, the rest consists of tests, papers and group work. At the beginning you are a bit overwhelmed by all the group work, but you will notice that in the end everything is Larifari.;) We had a few team presentations for which you would have received a 4 in Germany, if at all, but at the HPU you still get an A. The standards are much lower. We often played games or a stuffed animal was thrown in a question and answer session to the next student, who was supposed to answer the next question…;) So take it easy! Many tests and final exams take place online,
The business and communication courses are all downtown, the bio and anthropology courses are on the Loa campus. You can get there for free with the HPU Shuttle from downtown, the shuttle comes every 15 minutes and takes 20 minutes. The Loa Campus is very nice and if you can take a course there, I can only recommend it!
I took the following courses: Intercultural communication, communication and culture, Principles of marketing and Anthropology of Polynesian Surfing. I can especially recommend the latter course with Ian Masterson. An incredibly relaxed and passionate surfer who teaches you a lot of interesting things about Hawaii! He also has a Saturday course, where you go to a different surf location every week (partly theoretical, partly practical), should be very good!
Don’t make the mistake of getting too involved in college matters, take everything you can from Hawaii with you. It is an incredible experience that you will never forget and the time there is too precious to waste too much on pointless university projects! All Germans (and Scandinavians) were by far the best in the courses, you have nothing to fear. Papers can be corrected by the university free of charge by email, so that everything can be submitted without errors. If you’re smart, you can set the schedule so that Mondays and Fridays are free so you can go on trips to the other islands! At first I had 5 courses, but I voted off one because I got credit points for the semester abroad anyway and I wanted to enjoy my free time more.;)
In general, the HPU employees are helpful, especially when it comes to making money. After the semester, however, I still needed a special certificate for my university, which I have been waiting for until today.
Life in Hawaii is just a dream! At the beginning it is unusual because the rhythm of life is different there and the clocks tick more slowly, and you will miss the German efficiency in some places.;) But it doesn’t matter, because you are in Hawaii !! You can do something every day. In Waikiki there are endless bars and restaurants, you can do BBQs and have beach parties! You can go surfing, spend your time on beautiful beaches, visit the other islands, all of which are unique and breathtakingly beautiful. Rent a car and drive around the island, drive out of Waikiki often enough to experience the real Hawaii, dance the hula, drink Tiki cocktails, swim with dolphins, watch whales and ENJOY life because there won’t be another time come! I’ve met people from all sorts of countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, Brazil, Portugal, England, France, Australia). Don’t make the mistake and only meet with Germans… Use this chance to get to know great people from other cultures. However, be prepared for the fact that many friendships are superficial and do not expect that you will find friendships as good as in Germany. Most students go to Hawaii to spend the time of their lives there, not to make close friendships. I’ve had a few good friends who I miss very much, but after a while you don’t get involved with most of the people. You should just be prepared for this so that you are not disappointed! Americans in particular are as superficial as is always said, you just have to come to terms with that!
We always flew to the other islands in mixed groups, sometimes very spontaneously, because you don’t plan much in advance in Hawaii.:) I’ve been to Maui, Kauai, Big Island, and Molokai. I liked Maui best, you should plan at least 4 days there, Kauai 4, Big Island at least 5 and Molokai 3. Otherwise there is Lanai, but this island is very small. The tickets (Hawaiian Airlines or Go Molecule) cost between $ 60 and $ 120 each way.
Tues. is Mooses Night (before 9:45 p.m. 5 $ admission and 1 $ drinks, Wed. is Senor Frog’s night (no admission, 1 $ drinks), Thurs. is a party in the Varsity (no admission) and on the weekend in the Pearl (Ala Moana Center )!
What you absolutely have to do on Oahu:
- Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and Lanikai Beach
- Hikes: Diamond Head, Koko Head (sunrise), Manoa Falls, Maunawili Falls, Stairways to Heaven (!!), Pillbox Hike
- Watch the sunset from the Rumfire at the Sheraton Hotel in Waikiki and then sneak into the jacuzzi
- Tailgate American football at Aloha Stadium
- Take a surf lesson on Waikiki Beach
- Paradise Cove Luau (Hawaiian ceremony with hula dance, buffet etc.)
- Visit Byodo-In Temple
- Visit Pearl Harbor
- Camping at Kaena Point
- Sandys Beach, Diamond Head Beach, Dillingham Airfield Beach
- Waimea Valley
- Play beer pong
- Go on a catamaran trip
- Try masaladas at Leonard’s Bakery
- Eat Huli Huli Chicken at Dukes
- Pali lookout
- Buy cheap souvenirs at the Swap Market at Aloha Stadium
- Drive to the West Shore (Yokohama and Makaha Beach)
- To do tours to the North Shore:
- Watching sunset at Sunset Beach
- Jump from Waimea Beach rock
- Watch the giant tortoises on Turtles Beach
- at the weekend to Bellows Beach, otherwise only open to the military
- Eat shrimp at the Shrimp Shacks and shave ice at Matsumoto
- Do the Jungle and Movie Sites Tour at Kualoa Ranch
- Try pineapple at Dole Plantation
- Watch surf competitions
- Camping at “Friends of Malaekahana Campground”
- Make a campfire and look at the stars
You can save:
- the zoo & aquarium
- Polynesian Cultural Center
- Sea life
As I said, life in Hawaii is expensive, including food: I cooked maybe 3 times in the 4 months, otherwise I was always eating because the price was almost the same. You can shop relatively cheaply at Don Quichote, Walmart and Sam’s Club. The latter supermarket requires a membership card that costs $ 40 a year and can be shared.
The HPU can be paid for EVERYTHING, even if you deselect a course and don’t take another for it, it costs $ 30. The transcript that you get online at the end of the semester also costs extra.
Long pants are enough!;) It’s always warm in Hawaii, you won’t freeze except at university. You should have a sweater or jacket with you!
The bus system on Oahu is said to be “the best in the USA”, but like everywhere in the USA only the lower class take the bus, it is incredibly cold and one waits forever for the bus. If it can be avoided, it is better to walk or drive!
As I said, just do it, go to Hawaii and enjoy it to the full, you won’t regret it !! You have to tear yourself away from German thinking and loosen up and I have found that everything worked without great planning, somehow things always came together! You will gain unique experiences there and have the best time of your life! In any case, this experience will also make you more independent and self-confident and expand your multicultural skills! Get involved in the Aloha Spirit, learn to love these islands and above all, plan at least 4 weeks after the exams! I was only there 2 weeks after university and then 2 weeks on the mainland and I regretted it incredibly and was disappointed, Since the expectations for Hawaii are of course very high and I have missed the easy, carefree and relaxed life there incredibly. With the visa you can enter 4 weeks before the start of the university and have to leave the country 2 months afterwards.
Be prepared for the fact that the time at home will be tough, especially when you come back in winter… I still miss the time in Hawaii incredibly and think back to it often and happily! These memories will remain unforgettable! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!:)
In this sense: HANG LOOSE and Mahalo !!