Aloha friends. I’m Kevin, 26 years old and I spent my second master’s semester (winter semester 18/19) at Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU). MicroEDU as an organizational supervisor was recommended to me by fellow students who have already planned and successfully completed a semester abroad with them. More in the course of the text.
Preparation & organization
You should take around 3 months to apply, as many applications and required documents such as the embassy appointment, financial information from the bank, etc. take time. MicroEDU has the best support ready for you and has prepared a perfect script / brochures / orientation schedule, which steps, documents and deadlines are necessary for the application and must be adhered to. Questions are answered quickly and I always felt that I was in good hands. Since the application process is very well described in instructions, I will not go into it further. It is only important, as mentioned above, that you take enough time (with me about 3 months from the beginning of the application process to the acceptance of the HPU). Visit jibin123.com to get information about 10 best cities to study in Portugal.
About the courses:
The good thing is that at the HPU you can choose the courses in Germany, which makes agreeing the learning agreement with your home university much easier. You can read reviews of professors and courses at the HPU on the website www.ratemyprofessor.com. This also gave me very good and important information about professors and the courses. It even saved me from a very strict professor as I wanted to choose his course first.
You also have to prove that you have health insurance at the HPU. I recommend taking out insurance from Germany (but the insurance must meet certain criteria published on the HPU homepage), as the HPU health insurance cover (the university also offers health insurance packages) ends on the day of the end of the semester (stupid, if you can still do so afterwards wants to travel and is uninsured).
I had the courses:
- MGMT 6000 Foundation of Teamwork and Leadership
- MGMT 6020 Law & Ethics in the Business Environment
- FIN 6300 Investment Analysis
All of the courses were very interesting and I can only recommend them all. If you have any questions about the courses, feel free to contact me!
Costs & Financing
Hawai’i is damn expensive, but it’s worth it. This part is particularly important to me because unfortunately there are hardly any detailed cost lists. I don’t want to make a secret of it, hence “Butter with the fish”! I’m going to present you a few numbers in a very atypical German style. Facts: I am a completely normal boy from a normal employee family, not a millionaire or anything like that. However, if you leave your comfort zone, a semester abroad in Hawaii is realistic, even for “normal people”.
I can reassure you. Before my semester abroad, I compared many universities in terms of the cost of tuition fees and, paradoxically, the HPU is comparatively one of the cheaper universities in the USA, so the tuition fees don’t feel that expensive if you ask me.
Costs converted into euros:
- Tuition fees for 3 courses (Master’s level as of 2018) paid around € 8,300.
- Apartment cost about 50sqm $ 2,100 a month (unfortunately, these are normal prices in Hawaii, as the living space is very limited). However, I slept on a single bed in the living room and shared the room with two other students who paid a little more with their single room. My rental costs were therefore only about 550 € including ancillary costs. Others have already paid € 1,450 per month for a single room.
- Groceries: If you can cook to some extent and know how to prepare meat, potatoes, vegetables, etc., you can easily get by on around € 70-90 per week and even live healthy. I’ve always spent around € 350 on food a month (I recommend Wal Mart and Don Quixote as places to shop). Since it is super hot and you drink water all the time, it is really worth doing without plastic bottles and taking a “refill” bottle with you and drinking the edible tap water. I did this for 5 months and so did a lot of my fellow students and none of them got sick.
- University books can be rented very cheaply at Amazon-rental or the older PDF version can usually be downloaded for free from the Internet, so you have already saved costs.
- Free time: Since I didn’t come to Hawaii to party and drink every weekend, I rarely spent any money on parties, club entry or anything else. The nice thing is, if you go out a lot and stay away from the boring tourist stuff, you don’t pay anything for the wonderful nature. My recommendation is anyway: just stay away from all the tourist placeslike Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay etc. I’ve been there and seen it with my own eyes. Free of charge and is always completely overrun with hundreds of tourists. There are also a lot of rules and prohibitions. There are hundreds of other beautiful places in which you have to invest effort, such as a slightly more strenuous hike, but which are always rewarded with a unique nature. (Often you only have to share this with few or no other people). You can find my bucket list at the bottom.
So I only spent around € 1100-1300 per month (same costs as in Germany). With all the trimmings, like tuition fees, living there for 5 months and traveling to the other islands, buying clothes, equipment, application fees, other fees and so on, I spent around € 18,000 (but for that I had to leave my comfort zone, like for example in terms of privacy in the apartment, but for this short time it was completely ok).
It still sounds like a lot of money, but compared to other students I met there, they spent between € 25,000 and € 40,000. So that’s a very good record.
In any case, apply for BAföG abroad and look for scholarships.
I booked my first 7 nights at the Waikiki Beach Side Hostel because a lot of internationals gather here and it’s so easy to get to know flat shares. I met another German promptly, fit in well and we started looking for it together (later a Swede moved in and English was a compulsory language). It actually took us 6 days to find an apartment. Good strategies are Craigslist, Facebook Groups, or walking the streets looking for rental signs.
Professional tip:Under no circumstances should you move to the overpriced campus and stay away from downtown in terms of housing. There are quite a few drug addicts and a lot of homeless people walking around. Furthermore, like many other testimonials, I definitely cannot recommend Waikiki as a location. Waikiki is a place made for tourists. There it is 20-30% more expensive than the other parts of the city in terms of rental prices and groceries. If you plan to buy a car, it will be difficult or even expensive to find parking ($ 150 a month) there. In addition, it is super loud and always super crowded on the streets. Furthermore, you are always treated as a tourist, even after several months of living in Hawaii. (Insider: I’ve often got cheaper prices, for example when renting canoes etc.,
I lived in the corner of Manoa and can only recommend this one. Find an apartment near the UH (University of Hawaii, that’s the state university of Oahu. The HPU is a private university). The neighborhoods there are also safe and there are also many UH students living there. There are tons of bus connections to downtown to the HPU (approx. 25-30 minutes) and to the shops Wal Mart or Don Quijote it is 10 minutes and to the beach in Waikiki it is 10 minutes by bike. Furthermore, there is a student bar (Study Hall), in which there is always a student party on Thursdays (goes well) and the beer costs only $ 2.
Leisure & Life in Hawai’i
You have to get out of Honolulu. Honolulu is Hawaii’s eyesore in my opinion. Rent a car via the “Turo” app (Airbnb for cars) or look for cheap providers online and explore the island. I had my hiking group and we go twice a week and have explored nature, hiking trails, waterfalls, etc. A good app for new ideas is “AllTrails”. Evaluated hiking trails, level of difficulty, maps, etc. The app offers a lot of information for the adventurers among you.
Tip: If you really want to experience and discover Hawaii, then take a look off the beaten track. 90% of the time I saw the most beautiful places and had the best adventures when we got off the cobblestone street. Don’t be a shame for dirty clothes, burning thighs from strenuous hikes or small scratches from bushes that you have to crawl under. I promise you it’s worth it.
My Bucketliste (ask you informed beforehand about the app “AllTrails” and other Internet sources, whether these hikes are suitable for you Many of my hikes are more experienced hikers and climbers for suitable, but these are in my opinion the best.):
Heavy hikes 3-8 hours
- Ka’au Crater Hike
- Pu’u Piei Mauka Hike
- Three peaks hike
- Pali Notches Hike
- Pali Puka Hike
- Stairway to Heaven (illegal hike and costs up to $ 1000 fine)
- Tentalus Radio Tower (free climbing required)
Lighter hikes 1-2 hours or less
- Kailua Pill Box Hike (super cool for the sunrise)
- Ka’ena Point Trail Hike (very good for seeing Monk Seals at the end of the trail)
- Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
- Crouching Lion Trail
- Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden
- Waimanaloa Beach (east coast)
- Lanikai Beach (east coast)
- Yokohama Bay (west coast)
- Electric Beach (best beach for snorkeling). Dolphins between 7-11am, turtles, hundreds of colorful fish, we even saw sharks and humpback whales
- Sunset Beach (north coast)
Waterfalls & cliffs
- Spitting Cave (very good for sunsets and you can jump straight into the sea there. Height approx. 14-17 meters, it depends on where you jump from)
- Manoa Falls (super touristy, but this one is really worth it, dare to climb the rope to go in and stand under it, is amazing)
- Lulumahu Falls (with luck you will be alone at this magical waterfall)
- Kapena Falls (perfect for jumping into a river, about 9-10 meters high, but jump straight into the middle, it’s deep enough there)
- Tried to camp on the ridges and on the beach. The starry sky at night is so clear and bright as you have seldom seen it. For the campfire, I recommend Wal Mart Marshmallows and Kona Big Wave Beer (best beer). It is wonderful to wake up there alone with your crew and to be able to see things that others in their hotels will not see (Hawaii is also a dream at night).
- Swim / snorkel with sharks without a cage on the North Shore for $ 150 at OneOceanDiving. That was absolutely amazing and I recommend it to everyone.
- And much more. For more tips and information, please write to me.
- Tip: Take an old T-shirt, old sports shoes, an old backpack and short old sports trousers with you, because many hikes are super muddy.
My motto “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” was confirmed once again in Hawaii. If you really want to experience, feel and see Hawaii, then dare to leave your comfort zone and look for adventure. Getting up early at 5 a.m. to see sunrises, look for dolphins and whales, start long hikes is always worthwhile and will fill you with life in a way you haven’t seen it in Germany for a long time. I discovered the adventurer in me through Hawaii and had the best 5 months of my life. I also got to know great international people and over time they became very good friends. The friendship was noticeably strengthened through the shared adventures.
It sounds like I was just out and about and completely neglected the university. But even studying was still possible with so many undertakings and my worst grade from three courses was even an A- (remainder A) due to medium effort.
I hope I was able to give you a transparent and honest opinion about my semester abroad. If you have any questions, please write to me. Mahalo and have fun in Hawaii. Keep your ears stiff.