University: Hawaii Pacific University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Marketing, organization and leadership
Study type: semester abroad
First of all I want to say that going to Hawaii was one of the best decisions of my life! I would go back every time! Well, let me start at the beginning:
- Organization of documents
This part is one of the most important of all. Since I made my stay through MicroEdu.com, I saved a lot of hours and trouble researching, asking, etc. As soon as you send an e-mail to the nice team at MicroEdu, I primarily deal with Aline Had contact, big thank you again!, you actually get all the necessary documents sent. They are then also so complete that you can plan with them at your leisure without missing anything. My source of information was only MicroEdu, the documentation I got from them and the testimonials on the site. Check andyeducation.com to see Riga Stradins University study abroad opportunities.
So first you send an application to MicroEdu, as soon as you have the acceptance, you can make an appointment at the embassy to apply for a visa for the USA. The conversation is actually totally relaxed. I was at the embassy in Berlin and they only asked me a question or two about my funding. Although they didn’t want to see any documents, I would still really advise taking everything that is required with you, things such as proof of the required amount, proof of a reason to return to Germany, be it an ongoing tenancy or studies. Take it with you just to be safe so you didn’t go there in vain. As soon as the visa is confirmed, you can book the flight.
Before you book your flight and before you even decide to go to Hawaii, you should urgently check your finances. Hawaii is anything but cheap. That’s why I would definitely advise applying for foreign student loans, which not only pay tuition fees of up to 4600 euros (at the HPU then only a deductible of around 400-600 euros, depending on the exchange rate), but also a flat rate of 1000 euros for the flight. If foreign student loans are out of the question, I would also recommend the DAKA loan for those who are about to finish their studies or simply the education loan, which also offers very good conditions.
- Flight/ Insurance
Those who receive foreign student loans usually have it easier. I got a flight for 1045 euros on the internet. So I only had to pay 45 euros myself. You might be able to get cheaper flights if you just look around. I booked through airline direct but heard STATRAVEL would be good too. In any case, the HPU requires international insurance and certain points must be covered. I chose the cheap one from mawista.com. You can easily connect them to the Internet (costs around 38 euros per month). The important thing is that the HPU also recognizes the insurer and the benefits.
Yes, finding an apartment is really one of the most difficult things in Hawaii. If you want to find something cheap and good, you should really take your time! I found a room I was supposed to share through _ HYPERLINK “http: //www.studentrentalshawaii.com” _www.studentrentalshawaii.com_ for only $550, which is ridiculous for Hawaii. But I was lucky and nobody came, so I was able to live on my own for the whole semester for the same money. The location was good, right at the beginning of Waikiki, the neighbors and area a little weird, but relatively safe. There are many dorms, only a few of which can be recommended because they are totally overpriced. It’s really best if you check into a hostel two weeks before the start, preferably not the Beachside, much too expensive and too dirty, and looking for a place to live with other people. Seaside Hostel is cheaper and also with a good location. You can look for apartments on craigslist.com or look for people on Facebook or Studivz and start something together right away. So many have found a really cool apartment without paying 1000 dollars per person. Most rental prices are then between 600 and 900 dollars.
Since I’m studying international business in Germany, I focused on marketing at the HPU. I took four courses, which is mandatory anyway, since you need 12 credits as a minimum requirement and a course has 3 American credits (about 5/6 German credits, depending on the university). My courses were Consumer Behavior (wasn’t that exciting and the professor presented very poorly), Introduction into Advertisement and PR with Malia Smith (which I can recommend because it was fun and she’s a great lecturer) and Marketing Management and Product Management/Creativity Marketing both at Kristian Pangilinan. These two courses were my favorites. They were exciting and not as theoretical as some courses in Germany. In addition, the professor is super nice and always helpful. The university itself is not a campus, Those who take business courses are always downtown in a few buildings that are actually all on the same street. Anyway, Ohau is very manageable. If you live in Waikiki, the best way to get to the university is from Kuhio Avenue with the 4 or the B Express, another one also drives, unfortunately I can’t remember the number. If you live on Ala Moana Blvd, almost all buses go by the uni as well, such as the 19, 20, 42, E Express..there is not just one stop for the HPU but a few, on different corners. Depending on traffic and bus, the journey time is between 15-30 minutes. The international student department at the university is always very nice, especially Stephanie, who will then be responsible for you.
Shopping is cheapest at Walmart. Since there are no fruits and vegetables there, you can go to Don Quixote, which is not very far away. I think that’s pretty much the cheapest fruit and vegetables on the island. Otherwise groceries are quite expensive. But you can also eat out very well, almost cheaper than cooking yourself. A large and inexpensive buffet is available at Perry’s Smorgy. It’s on Kuhio Avenue and for $12 you can get everything. Otherwise, of course, go to the Cheesecake Factory or California Pizza Kitchen, for shrimp fans: Bubba Gump or Red Lobster.
You can also shop very, very well. The priciest there (still cheap by our standards) is the Ala Moana Center and the Waikiki Mile, but lots of choices. There is also an outlet center where you can also shop well. It’s in Waikele and you can get there by either the A Express or a $5 round trip shuttle that stops at some hotels.
In terms of excursions, there is of course a lot to see. The most beautiful are really Kailua and the area around it. The west is almost not worth it, there is not much to see. But you absolutely have to go to the North Shore, a very good beach is Sunset Beach. Needless to say, Ohau is great for surfing, there are thousands of great surf spots that are also marked on many maps. You can also snorkel very well there, especially on Hanauma Bay (giant tortoises under water). Otherwise you can hike very well, for example to Diamond Head, where you have a view of the whole of Waikiki or to the Maunawilli Waterfalls (the one from the Jason Mraz video). An easy route even for beginners. Otherwise, I can also recommend flights to the neighboring islands, very cheap, for example Kauai for $110. I can recommend the Kauai Sands Hotel, we only paid $86 per person for three nights. It even has a pool and the rooms are definitely cleaner than in the hostels.
All in all, I can recommend both the HPU and Hawaii as destinations. For me, the stay was almost just a vacation. If you set your schedule cleverly, like me, you only have uni three times a week and can enjoy the rest of the week!