University: Hawaii Pacific University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: organization and leadership
Study type: semester abroad
If you are currently considering doing a semester or two abroad (or an entire course of study) at Hawai’i Pacific University, I can only advise you to do so – it was and I mean it seriously – the best decision of my life. Check anycountyprivateschools.com to see University of California Irvine study abroad opportunities.
University: Course content/conditions:
In the winter semester of 2009, I studied the master’s program “Global Leadership and Sustainable Development”. An excellent course, with motivated lecturers and great fellow students.
More about the Master: http: //www.hpu.edu/index.cfm?section=graduate5
As you can see from the website, it is about sustainable development. You can join the GREEN Club, which tries to promote sustainability on campus, you can acquire three different certificates, for which you need 4 courses each, and you can also do internships if you study the entire master’s degree.
You will normally only be enrolled in 3 courses – since a course already lasts 3 hours, the workload is already “relatively high”.
I have taken the following courses:
Power and Social Systems (Dan Morgan), Sustainable Human Systems (Art Whatley); Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development (Regina Ostergard-Klem) – all three seminars and lecturers are very good! The class size varied from 10-20 people.
The staff at the HPU is friendly and provides information quickly and competently, as does Stephanie Demin, the German contact person. Although you will most likely only rarely need the help of the HPU staff. MicroEdu was a great help for me, because there were still “bureaucratic” problems, for example because I’m still a master’s student.
You don’t need more than 10 days to get used to the university. Because the downtown campus is very small and not comparable to a German campus, as it is located in the business district and you have lessons in high-rise buildings. It’s not the prettiest campus, but you won’t complain.
HPU has another campus where various courses are offered, Hawai’i Loa Campus: It’s on the opposite side of the mountains (there are regular shuttle buses between campuses), surrounded by nature and beautiful! If you can take a course locally, I would do it.
The Hawai’i Loa campus will soon be expanded in a very modern way – but it will still be a few years before the work is completed.
To apply to the university: You will find the necessary documents on the MicroEdu page. And when your documents have been sent, you will receive an email with the confirmation or rejection after about 3 weeks – then you will receive a “welcome package” by post with, for example, the F1 form which you need for your visa. I can’t really say much about the application except: Proceed step by step – it looks more complicated than it actually is.
The tip to start planning 1-1 ½ years before the start of the semester is correct – there are always “problems” (e.g. lecturers at your German university from whom you need a signature are suddenly ill and he/she is missing several weeks) that may extend your application.
I was lucky and the dollar was very bad when I was a student and the euro was correspondingly good – but the cost of living in Hawai’i is relatively high. If you want to live centrally, ie in Waikiki or, for example, in Ala Moana (both are districts of Honolulu), you have to reckon with 650-820 dollars – for a shared room. I stayed in the dorm in central Waikiki (www.hawaiistudenthousing.org/) and paid $820 – that’s not cheap, but it was only 10 minutes to the Waikiki surf spot. The dorm is a former hotel and was fine for a semester. If you stay longer, I would look for something cheaper because it is already the most expensive living option.
The further away you live from the center, the less you pay – but the longer it takes you to the HPU and the beach if you want to surf.
Groceries are indeed expensive in Hawaii, but: I have avoided things like the imported Italian mozzarella and the like and when I buy fruit and vegetables at the so-called “Farmers Markets” they are of top quality and relatively cheap. There is also “Don Quiote” a central supermarket that is cheap. All you have to do is adapt, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s hard for me to give you an approximate value for your living expenses (excluding the rent): But you should calculate 500 dollars a month for groceries, surfing, parties etc. – you can spend less, but you can also spend more (much more ) going out (I usually spent more because I thought to myself: “I’ll only be there once.”).
Try to fly via Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco – because these airports are frequented and accordingly the tickets are cheaper – and maybe also try to get a plane ticket from the Hawaiian airline (Hawaiin Airline) – because in some places this airline has very much cheap tickets.
Either you go to Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin – and don’t worry, your English doesn’t have to be perfect and you usually get it on display. For all visa matters you will see the necessary instructions on the website of the American embassy/consulate and will also receive them from the HPU.
Surfing, jumping from waterfalls like in Jason Mraz’s video “I’m yours”(http: //www.myvideo.de/watch/5632107/Jason_Mraz_I_m_Yours: from minute 2.00-2.20), hiking in the jungle, swimming and camping at the most beautiful ones Postcard beaches, whale watching, museums like the Bishop Museum, parties like First Fridays in Chinatown, Hawaiian food – Oahu has it all!
I could go on and on about a lot more, but to keep it short: An incredible place!
Of course, a semester abroad looks very much like a “fun semester” on the CV – but if you are able to explain what you have learned in a future job interview, it shouldn’t be a problem. Above all, this semester will be of immense benefit for your personal development and I would say that this is more important than a place of study that looks better on the CV.
Apartment search: Within 10-max. 14 days you found an apartment. www.craigslist.com is the first port of call for most as it is updated daily – with pictures in most cases. It can be very annoying at first because you only see “bad” apartments, but all Germans I know found what they were looking for after 10 days at the latest.
There is an active group in StudiVZ: Hawaii Pacific University – very useful if you want to get to know people beforehand.
In the USA there is Facebook – you should also create an account here and join the HPU groups before you arrive. And become part of the HPU network on Facebook – you have to enter your HPU email address, which you will receive with the welcome package, which will be sent to you by post.
There are a lot of student organizations – very useful in the beginning to get to know people. Recommended, for example, the International Students Organization.
All in all I was in Hawai’i for 6 months and it was by far the best decision of my life! The course (Sustainable Development) with the combination of “Hawai’i”, i.e. nature, changed me a lot – and the friends I made there were the best thing that could have happened to me.
Also, surfing is an incredible experience that you must try!
Honolulu has a very “good” city, with cool corners – but Waikiki is a really very touristy part of the city. And if you want to experience “real” Hawaii, you have to go north, or east and west.
There were always several days when you just “had” to sit in the library – but there are always “relaxed” days or weekends when you can enjoy the island and all its advantages. After the semester, I flew to three more islands for 3 weeks, which you should definitely do: Each of the seven inhabited islands are very different from each other and are all beautiful in their own right. You should arrive 2-3 weeks before the start of your studies, because the longer you wait, the fewer apartments are available.
I then stayed in San Francisco for 10 days and then flew to Germany – I actually planned to stay on the mainland for a whole month. But I realized that I wasn’t open-minded enough to enjoy the new experiences I would have had on the mainland. So I pre-booked my flight to Germany.
My tip is, but of course it depends on the type: stay a little longer in Hawai’i – because 6 months in Hawai’i means a lot of experience.
Aloha – I’ll be flying back soon!