University: Hawaii Pacific University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
When I decided to go abroad as a freemover, it quickly became clear to me that I would love to go to Hawaii. The application process through MicroEdu is really simple and straightforward. Once you have all the documents together, the application and the acceptance go really quickly. However, you should plan enough time, especially for applying for the visa. As in Germany, the tuition fees are paid before the start of the semester. Make sure that you are in the Hawaii Pacific University system the correct amount is displayed before you transfer the money. There was an error in my system at the time, so I paid too much and then had to tediously get the money refunded on site. Check andyeducation.com to see Universitat Autonoma De Barcelona study abroad opportunities.
I was lucky that I was able to get in touch with another student via MicroEdu before the start of the semester abroad and we decided relatively quickly to look for an apartment together. However, since I only arrived in Honolulu two weeks after her, she had already found a super nice apartment in Waikiki. The only downside was of course the price (we both paid around $1100 a month ), however the apartment was very large, had a communal pool and roof terrace and was reasonably priced. Alternatively, you can also use the many Facebook groupsalready existing shared flats or find other people to found a new shared flat. There is also often the option of sharing a room, which can also save you a lot of money. Many international students have lived in Waikiki or Ala Moana, but I would personally consider out-of-town areas, especially if you’re planning on buying a car locally.
The courses at the HPU are chosen before the start of the semester. I would recommend that you be quick, as the number of participants is limited and the best courses fill up quickly. In the first two weeks, however, you can still change courses, leave or have the chance to join courses in which a place may have become free. I had decided to take four courses, only two of which were in business administration. My courses were called “Project Management”, “Small Business Management”, “Public Speaking” and”Introduction to Psychology”. Above all, I can warmly recommend the “Public Speaking” course! The degree itself was definitely very different from my degree in Cologne and reminded me more of a school than a university, which I really liked. The courses were very small (15-30 people) and you regularly had to write homework, prepare group projects or give presentations. In terms of content, I found the topics of all courses very exciting and practice-oriented. Also, it was really, really easy to get good grades. If you work together and show commitment, you can definitely count on an A grade.
Leisure and transportation
The recreational opportunities in Hawaii are simply incredible. An absolute must is of course surfing. The cheapest place to rent surfboards is Moku in Waikiki, but I would recommend investing in your own board if you plan on surfing more often. I bought mine on Facebook Marketplace for about $80 and sold it for the same amount when I left. Surfing in Waikiki is truly a dream. You can often see turtles because the water is so clear. In addition to surfing, you also have to hike in Hawaii. The “AllTrails” app is best suited for this, in which pretty much all hikes on the island are entered and which you can use to find your way around. The absolute best hike was the legal (!) route to the Stairway to Heaven in my opinion, as it offers incredible views of the Oahu nature. I personally liked the legal way even better than the illegal one. But in addition to the most famous hike on the island, there are numerous impressive hikes and excursions that you can undertake. The North Shore in particular is definitely worth more than one visit ! In retrospect, however, we regretted not having bought a car, since many excursion destinations and beaches are either very difficult or impossible to reach by bus or train, which means that spontaneity is sometimes lost. In addition to Oahu, the other islands are also super beautiful. Unfortunately, due to the corona pandemic, we were “only” able to see the Big Island, but that was also fantastic, because nature looked completely different than on Oahu. My absolute highlight there was definitely the sunset on the Mauna Kea volcano.
The only downside is unfortunately the cost. Food and housing prices in particular are really high. Still, the decision to go to Hawaii for my semester abroad was one of the best of my life. The Hawaiian attitude to life, the people you meet, the beautiful places you see, I miss all of that so much!