OK, before you read on, there is one thing you should know: Hawaii is a place where a lot will change for you. When you start the semester, you will gain experience that is not comparable to anything you know from Germany / Europe. For me, every second and every euro was worth the stay and I can say without exception that it was the best time of my life. It is an indescribable place, with a warm culture, a lively atmosphere and areas that you know from postcards and picture books. So if you are afraid to have unique experiences and to experience a world that is exactly the opposite of Germany, you should keep your hands off Hawaii 😉
Preparation / organization
First, a huge thank you to MicroEDU. Thanks to MicroEDU, the preparation and organization was smooth and uncomplicated. The team was always at my side with words and deeds and helped me with all questions without exception. Stick to the schedule and deadlines that MicroEDU sends you for the application process and everything should run smoothly. Thanks again MicroEDU!
I flew to Honolulu two weeks before the start of the semester and initially lived in a hostel (Waikiki Backpackers Hostel). Two weeks are enough to find an apartment. Sometimes you have to be patient, but don’t give up. Don’t buy the first apartment you come across for a lot of money and look for comparative offers (in Waikiki a room in a shared apartment costs + – $ 750 / month, on the other side of downtown only + – $ 650, depending on the size and location of the apartment).
Good sources are craigslist.com, Star Adviser (local newspaper) and the HPU eAds system (to be found via the HPU network “Pipeline”). Otherwise, it makes sense to search for different HPU groups on Facebook (e.g. “HPU incoming students Fall / Summer”) and look at offers from other students there. You should NEVER conclude any contracts or transfer money from Germany. In addition to being a popular destination for many apartment hunters, Hawaii is also scammers. According to AbbreviationFinder.org, HPU is the abbreviation of Hawaii Pacific University.
The international university has organized several free check-in sessions before the start of the semester, whereby you have to be present at one (see pipeline for information and registration). All important things were discussed especially for international students, there was a campus tour and breakfast. You should definitely have made yourself smart about the compulsory books for the lectures, as the HPU bookstore is outrageously expensive and loan services from the US mainland deliver the books much cheaper (but this takes a few days).
Course content and conditions
In general, the level of study in Hawaii (USA?) Is lower than in Germany. Not as much or not as high a quality of service is expected. So it is very easy to get good grades compared to Germany, you just have to do the assignments / papers (in good time), be present and read the (very many) chapters in the books. Without exception, the professors all work with books that you have to read chapters from week after week (that’s a lot). These chapters are queried with short tests (quizzes), although they usually do not count in the overall grade, they are decisive for the professor which grade you get at the end if you are on the edge (so it’s about your commitment). Read the chapters, do the homework and appear in the lectures, then nothing stands in the way of the A’s.
Choose your modules in advance and orient yourself to the lecture times from the previous semester, so you can put together a nice timetable. I had lectures for 6-8 hours on two days, but then the rest of the week was off. My modules were
Persuasion (Thomas Dowd): Great lecture, very interesting and recommendable!
Nonverbal Communication (Dale Burke): One of the best Profs. In general, the content is great!
Marketing Management (Christian Pangilinan): Cool professor, but nothing really was done in the lecture 😉
Psychology (Brian Metcalf): Committed professor and cool lecture, but the content has to appeal to you.
Look at ratemyprofessors.com when selecting modules for the professors’ ratings. The evaluations were correct for my courses.
HPU in general
The large campus university is in the financial district of Honolulu, thus directly in downtown and without the “classic” green campus. The second (science-oriented) campus is outside the city in the country. At first you are a bit overwhelmed by the high-rise buildings and the structure, but you quickly get used to it and above all have some dining / shopping opportunities right outside the door.
The university offers numerous work opportunities, computers are up-to-date and available in abundance. The bib may not be that great, but there are plenty of workspaces and books. The professors are generally very quick and usually process issues in half a day. They are also very courteous towards exchange students and are easy to talk to when negotiating grades / topics.
Hawaii offers endless ways to have fun. I haven’t had a day that I was bored. Have a look on the internet or ask the other students / professors. But what you should definitely do on Oahu:
- Climb the Diamon Head
- Visit Pearl Harbor
- Hike to the Manoa and Maunawili falls. In Maunawili you can swim in the waterfall pool and jump into it from rocks.
- Straiway to Heaven (go up at 2 o’clock at night and watch the sunrise. Actually, you are not allowed to go up and the security is there from 3 in the morning, but if they see you going down they don’t say anything)
- Hike to Koko Head
- Snorkel in Haunauma Bay
- Drive to Kailua and swim at Lanikai Beach (one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii)
- Visit Ko Olina lagoons to the west
- Look at Kaena Point
- Visit Dole Plantation
- Skydiving on the North Shore
- Cliff jumping in Waimea Bay
- Eating garlic shrimp on the North Shore
- Eat Huli Huli Chicken at Duke’s
- Drink cocktails in the Rumfire
- Eat / drink something in Top of Waikiki
- Watch the surf competitions on the North Shore (depending on the season)
- Olomana trail hike
- Watch the Foorball game at Aloha Stadium
- Definitely eat something in the Liliha Bakery!
- Try shave ice
- jet skiing
- Take a catamaran tour and snorkel with sea turtles (good chances to see wild dolphins right on the boat / catamaran)
- Rent a Mustang convertible and drive around the island at the weekend
In short: if you get bored on even one day, you’ve done something wrong 😉 Pretty
much all activities take place outside and can be done almost every day.
You can party pretty well at Moose’s, Rumfire, Maddog and actually everywhere else in Waikiki.
Be sure to visit the other islands as well. Plan at least 4 full days for Kauai. For Maui 4-5 days, for the Big Island at least 6 days (on the Big Island it is essential to rent a jeep and do off-road tours with it!). There and back always costs around $ 160 per flight. Lanai and Molokai are nothing “special” and very similar to Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.
Although I don’t regret a cent of my stay, it would have been nice to have humane prices every now and then. Sure, most of the items are imported, but $ 3 for a Zewa roll, $ 6 for a small piece of cheese, or $ 10 for a six-pack of Hawaiian beer in a normal grocery store are steep. Living in Hawaii is expensive and you will reduce your demands significantly over time, but in my opinion this is not a problem because the entire Hawaiian atmosphere makes you happy. On the other hand, electronics and local fruit / vegetables are cheap (Chinatown!).
Do’s & don’ts
- Don’t make visiting plans with friends / relatives as long as you don’t have an apartment! Hawaiian landlords all have a thing or two in that regard. Overnight guests are usually not allowed and rental contracts are often provided with an immediate termination clause if you let people stay overnight. Make sure to clarify this before you move in, I’ve seen a few dramas.
- Stock up on credit cards / EC cards in Germany. European banks tend to block cards temporarily for security reasons after a certain period of use in the USA. You have to call and unlock it, which sometimes takes 1-2 days.
- Never cross the street over red or without a zebra crossing. Especially at the HPU, the cops hide in house entrances and collect $ 130 from anyone who does that (that’s no joke).
- Buy the bus pass in the bookstore for the semester. With it you can drive for free all over the island.
- Simple mobile offers mobile phone cards with Telefonflat, SMSflat, International SMSflat and Internetflat for $ 40 a month (very useful for Google Maps and the bus routes). The network of T-mobile USA, however, costs less and has more services than via T-mobile direct.
- Get the free reward cards in Foodland and Safeway. This saves you a lot when shopping.
- Check the free coupon booklets in Waikiki (Best of Oahu etc.) regularly when planning trips or adventures.
- Link your HPU mail to your normal mailbox. Some people have already lost some important information.
- You are not allowed to take the public buses with large suitcases. So look for shuttles or rental cars for routes to the airport etc. A taxi from the airport to Waikiki costs as much as a rental car for a day…
- Buy a multifunction device (printer / scanner / copier) at Walmart for $ 30. We used the part all the time in our shared apartment and were happy not to have to run to the university every time you have to print / scan something.
- It is worth buying a bike, as the routes are often too annoying to walk but also too long to travel by bus (traffic), and at the end of the time they are sold via craigslist. Only lost $ 40 when reselling it 😉
- Apply for the Hawaii State ID. Costs $ 18, not only looks great, but also offers you much more reduced admission than with a student ID and you don’t have to carry your passport with you as it is an official identification document.
- As a woman you should be prepared to be constantly chatted 😉 Especially women who do not look native (dark hair, dark eyes, slightly darker skin) are flirted with everywhere and at any time. It’s usually not intrusive or indecent, but my two roommates still couldn’t understand that after a few weeks 😉