University: Hawaii Pacific University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Study type: Academic gap year
My gap year in Hawai’i from “Aloha” to “Mahalo”
When I graduated from high school in 2015, I felt like many others; I didn’t yet know how to proceed, and I was still undecided about my choice of study. I felt that a gap year in the form of two semesters abroad at a university would be just the right thing to get to know many young people my age, discover a new culture and perfect my English. With the help of MicroEdu, all formalities were clarified quickly and smoothly and the right university was found for me. Two points made my choice of HPU particularly stand out contributed, on the one hand, of course, the incredible location and the opportunity to do so much and to discover the impressive nature, on the other hand, I also found it advantageous that most American students at the HPU do not come from Hawaii itself, but from a wide variety of mainland states. This gave me hope that you are new to Hawaii yourself and interested in doing lots of things and exploring the island(s). Check andyeducation.com to see Brock University study abroad opportunities.
So in August 2015, I said “Aloha e komo mai” (Welcome) to Oahu. Since I was just beginning my studies there, I was a so-called “freshman” and was able to take part in the orientation week at the HPU with all “regular” students. There I got to know both the university and the first students. I would also recommend the university’s Facebook group and the “QUAD” app, because many students exchange ideas there before/during the semester and you get to know people quickly. There is also a “check-in session” for international students, where you might get to know a few international/German friends. In general, I can say that it was relatively easy to find people to do something with, as everyone is very adventurous and open -mindedare.
My first semester courses were: Business 1000, Sociology 1000, Writing 1100, and Nutrition: Eat Smarter 1300. Since I wasn’t working towards a degree at the HPU, I was relatively free to choose my courses and take what interested me. For the second semester I then decided on Management 2000, Sociology 2000 (online course), Spanish 1000 and Communication 1000. All in all, I was very satisfied with my courses, but there were huge differences in the performance expectations and the workload of the individual professors.
Unfortunately, the range of sports offered by the university was a bit disappointing. The university has its volleyball, soccer, basketball, cheerleading… teams, but you can’t get into them like that, and otherwise there was only dancing and yoga once a week. However, I can really recommend the yoga. It takes place on a terrace at the Aloha Tower and is also suitable for beginners. And the name “Sunset Yoga” doesn’t promise too much, because the sunsets during yoga are always wonderful.
As for living on the island, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is just so much to discover and as long as the weather cooperates, you never get bored. Definitely take good hiking/sports shoes with you, because there is one hike after the other to hike and one view is better than the other. And I don’t think I need to say anything about the beaches anyway, but white sand and turquoise water are pretty good in Kailua and the North Shore. There are so many other things to do as well, from snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, watching surf contests, kayaking to the mokes, shopping, surfing and discovering waterfalls, it really doesn’t end there. The bus pass from the university, which you get during the semester and with which you can travel back and forth on the island, is particularly advantageous. While it’s annoying and time-consuming to explore everything by bus, it’s definitely doable.
I also had the opportunity to fly over to Maui over Thanksgiving and spent a long weekend there with three friends. Maui is definitely worth a trip, from Black Sand Beach to Lahaina to the Road to Hana there is a lot to discover and the only 40-minute flight is perfect for a long weekend there.
“Best Insider Tip”: One street off the university’s downtown campus is the YWCA, which has a gym and a great pool, with which the university has an agreement and offers a limited number of students. For $30 per semester you can use everything there and take part in all courses.