University: Hawaii Pacific University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Study type: semester abroad
First of all: The island state of Hawai’i is breathtakingly beautiful! The people are incredibly nice and helpful (in most cases) and both the Hawaiian culture and the mix of other cultures represented is super interesting and instructive – all this, interesting course content and lots of acquaintances with wonderful people make a semester stay in my opinion something very special in Hawaii. Check andyeducation.com to see Boston University study abroad opportunities.
The application process runs mostly via MicroEdu and is in principle super relaxed if you plan enough lead time! The application documents and the descriptions put together by MicroEdu on how to fill them out are great and if questions should arise, the employees at MicroEdu are always available and very helpful – many thanks for that!
If you are planning to take advantage of the BaföG abroad, you should try to do so early enough, as you have to hand in a wipe from the BagöG office with your application, which confirms that you are entitled to a BaföG and that you are subsidized by the state. It is advisable to start planning ¾ of a year in advance in order to save yourself stress and to be able to enjoy the last few weeks before departure (I didn’t do it, of course, so I speak from experience).
On the one hand, studying at the HPU is pretty relaxed, but on the other hand it involves a lot more work than I was used to from German universities!
I only took courses from the English Department and I have to say that the semester abroad was the most interesting semester I have experienced so far. Among other things, I took courses on Hawaiian and Pacific literature, which also gave me a very good insight into Hawaiian and Polynesian culture.
The course sizes did not exceed a number of 15 students – so totally informal. The lecturers were super nice and helpful and always available for additional questions.
I also took an online course – very relaxed because it can be done from home.
Overall, the workload was very high compared to my home university – I have the feeling that I wrote a whole book this semester – but since the topics were almost always interesting and the demands on scientific work are not as high as in Germany you still have more than enough time for surfing, beaching, hiking and partying… so don’t worry! The exams were also very relaxed for me!
The main campus of the university is centrally located downtown and can be easily reached by bus or bicycle. The departments are divided into different buildings, but everything is within walking distance. Both the central library (very small!) and the book store, where you can get the necessary course literature (you can’t get it in the library!), writing utensils and HPU clothes, and countless fast food options are located downtown. There is also a computer lab, which is equipped with more or less the latest technology and printing stations.
There is also the Loa campus which is located just outside in Kane’ohe on the edge of the mountains and is definitely worth a visit if you don’t have classes here. It is easily accessible by shuttle from downtown, which runs approximately every 15-30 minutes. There is also a nice little library and a gym, which you can use for free.
If you want to live centrally but close to the beach, you can either go to Waikiki or to the Ala Moana area. From here you can quickly get to both downtown and the beach. If you want to live a little cheaper, you can go downtown or to one of the other districts of Honolulu. Above all, you should stay longer than just one semester.
I chose Waikiki because life (but also tourism) is pulsating here and of course you can quickly reach the beach with your surfboard. However, Waikiki also has its downsides: the prices for accommodation as well as for everyday shopping and of course you eventually get tired of the tourists (which you still count for better or worse!).
I shared a 30 square meter apartment with 2 other students to save on rent – but we still had to pay over $500 each. Many acquaintances have also stayed at the Ohia or the Beachwalk Student-Housing in Waikiki – although here, too, you pay around $800 for a shared room. So with a rental price between 500-900$ and little privacy is to be expected!
Leisure and activities:
In Hawaii you can do just about everything that you imagine as fun on vacation. Starting with surfing (you have to try it – I loved it!!!), kayaking on the ocean, hiking in breathtaking nature, jumping from waterfalls or cliffs, sky diving, cage diving, helicopter trips and of course endless beautiful beaches – Here is something for everyone! Of course everything has its price.
If you plan to fly back home or to the mainland right after the semester, you should take at least 1-2 weekends and visit one of the other islands, because each island is different in nature and flair and definitely worth a visit!
Although Hawaii and especially Honolulu and Waikiki are of course very touristy, you can still get to know a Hawaii that is characterized by culture, nature and above all surfing. It is therefore advisable to escape from Honolulu from time to time and to explore the smaller towns, especially on the North Shore!!!
All in all, this semester was an incredible experience! In addition to the many acquaintances from all over the world that characterize the semester and make it special, for me it was above all the nature, the culture and the atmosphere (perhaps the Aloha spirit?) that made an incredible and lasting impression on me and changed me. I left my heart in Hawaii. Mahalo!