University: Hawaii Pacific University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: pedagogy and teaching
Study type: semester abroad
I studied the first semester of my master’s degree at the HPU in Hawaii… and it was an incredible six months in which I learned, saw and experienced a lot. Check andyeducation.com to see Griffith College Dublin study abroad opportunities.
Let’s start with the itinerary. I booked an “Around the world ticket” so that I flew via Asia on the way there and visited a friend in New Zealand, then went via the American mainland on the way back; here I made stops in Los Angels, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York. The usual flight route is from Germany via the States and after a stop on the west coast it then continues to Hawaii. My tip number 1: If you are in Los Angeles or San Francisco anyway to change trains, take two or three days and check out one of the cities. Personally, I liked San Francisco best.
When I arrived in Hawaii, I first lived in a hostel for a few days and spent a lot of time looking for an apartment. It’s not easy to find something affordable and clean in the most expensive state in the US. Many friends lived in the “Ohana”, the dormitory of the university. Based on my experience, I cannot recommend it. The shared rooms are small and incredibly expensive…a friend even had a rat in his room. After about five days, I and my roommate found a reasonably priced and clean apartment in the middle of Waikiki. Hence my tip number 2: Take your time when looking for an apartment, look on the internet in the Craigslist and in the newspaper, the star adveritser. Think beforehand if you want to live in Waikiki, where you can party every day, but where it is occasionally very noisy or whether you prefer to live in nature and a little more quietly (Kailua etc.). Under no circumstances should you look for a place to stay from Germany, because some inhumane apartments and rooms are offered.
The university is downtown and from Waikiki the number 2 and 13 buses or the B bus go in this direction. In my case, the level of the courses was not particularly high, and I didn’t learn much. It was completely different with my roommate, so it’s difficult to give good advice here. Prepare yourself for some homework, but don’t worry about any final exams, they are usually very easy. My “Hawaiian circle of friends” consisted of Swedes, Finns, Germans and Americans and almost all of us received an “A”. My university tip: The university bookstore is incredibly expensive. If you buy books there, share them with a classmate. You can also order the books from Amazon or ebay.
There are enough recreational opportunities in Hawaii. I loved to go surfing and hiking. The Makiki Hights (Line 4 from Waikiki in the direction of Uni) are very close to town and wonderful for hiking. Once a month I went with a friend to “Full Moon Yoga” in Magic Island Park, which was also a great experience and can only be recommended. Otherwise, watching a game at Aloha Stadium or skydiving is a good thing. We often went to Mooses on Tuesdays, which was always great fun and is therefore my number 4 tip.
Here are a few final tips that might be useful:
Account: I didn’t set up an account in Hawaii, instead I paid for almost everything with a credit card. If you want to do the same, find out about your maximum credit card limit and have it increased if that is possible. I usually got cash from ingdiba, even if I didn’t have an account there, but the additional fees here are significantly lower than with the usual ATM’s
Travel: If you get the chance, take a look at some of the other islands. I’ve been to Maui, Kauai and the Big Island and it was worth it!
ID cards/documents: We didn’t need an international driver’s license in Hawaii. It is possible to issue a “Hawaiian ID”, then you can leave your passport and ID card in the apartment. If you then lose the card, it’s less serious than losing your passport; In addition, there are often percentages if the ID is shown. A bus ticket for the whole semester can be bought in the bookstore for just under $130.
Last but not least:
Look forward to an unforgettable six months and the unique opportunity to spend a semester in Hawaii. Enjoy the weather, the mountains, the beaches, the opportunity to get in touch with international students and get good grades! Don’t be alarmed by the many homeless people and the sometimes very great poverty, that’s just as much a part of Hawaii.