Study in Hawaii Pacific University (1)

Imagine Hawaii! What do you see? Beaches, sea, surfing, vacation, party… stop stop! If you think so, then you have a totally wrong picture of Hawaii! Hawaii is the joy of life, an island that offers more possibilities than you could ever imagine, a culture in which you first have to find your way when you come from another part of the world. Hawaii was my dream! A dream that I only realized in retrospect …

I didn’t go with the intention of going on vacation, as many think when you talk about Hawaii. I had visited many universities abroad, but Hawaii Pacific University was the only one that gave me the opportunity to book the courses in advance. In contrast to many universities where guest students only get the remaining places or have to be on site to book their courses. I didn’t want to go out into the unknown without knowing that I could actually take courses that I liked. So that is why I chose Hawaii, because they gave me the opportunity to be first and not last!

I was at HPU (Hawaii Pacific University) in the fall semester of 2011 in my 5th semester at the HSG. My major is business administration.

I went as a freemover, which meant that I had to organize everything myself, which I consider positive. Because the process began with independence, with the will to really tackle something new and with the ambition not to give up when everything grows over your head.

Travel preparation and formalities

After registering as a free mover, everything had to go very quickly, because honestly I was very late with my decision to study in Hawaii and so I had to deal with the stress with the respective deadlines of the universities. The semester there began on September 16, 2011 while I was only able to leave on August 25 due to the exam.

The following steps then had to be completed on the checklist first:

  • Have a photo taken
  • Fill in DS 160
  • Make a visa appointment
  • Pay Visa and Sevis fees
  • Make the visa appointment in Bern
  • Submit course selection
  • vaccinate
  • Payment of tuition fees

For reasons of price, I then took care of the flight, which was not very cheap.
Appointments for applying for a visa can be made online. For the appointment itself you should plan a waiting time of 2-3 hours despite the appointment. Even in the early morning. The passport should already be up-to-date, otherwise you will stumble across the long processing time of the relevant authorities. If you get an F1 visa (student visa) from a university in America, it is not necessary to have a biometric passport, a normal passport is sufficient. If you have any questions, please contact the American Embassy, ​​they know what you need.

The clarification of the international health insurance is an item that should have a higher rank on your checklist. So check carefully, because medical treatments are very expensive in the USA and if you are unlucky you have to pay yourself. For the semester itself, the HPU offers its own insurance, nobody is allowed to study there without such a foreign travel health insurance, but this is extremely expensive and I would advise you to clarify this with your Swiss insurance company.

A lot is handled with cash in Switzerland. It’s different in the USA. The credit cards glow here, even for very small amounts. Sometimes nothing works without it, especially if you want to rent a car or book hotels. So it is absolutely recommended to get one before you start your journey.

Hawai’i Pacific University is a private university. It must not be confused with the University of Hawai’i, which also has a very good reputation for its intercultural programs. As is customary in the American education system, tuition fees must also be paid at the HPU. And not too short, $ 8385. The range of courses for bachelor students is significantly more extensive than for master students.

The campus. There is actually no central campus. The HPU currently has two locations where the courses are offered. On the one hand, the scientific offerings marine biology and health sciences are housed on the windward side. The economics, social and political sciences, on the other hand, are right in downtown Honolulu. Here the HPU maintains a large library and its seminar, computer and administration rooms in various buildings, which are often used for business purposes, along Fort Street Mall and Bishop Street. Unfortunately there is no cafeteria, but there are a few smaller restaurants and snack bars along the mall. A free shuttle service is offered several times a day to the windward campus and back, it takes about 20 minutes.

Support from the HPU

The care. Even in the application phase and shortly before departure, the HPU provides very good support and tries to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that it is well integrated into teaching. In my experience, problems were solved promptly and competently and always in a very friendly manner. Read more student reviews on Act-test-centers.

My choice of courses at the HPU

I initially chose five courses at HPU (= 15 US credits). These are usually credited with the factor x2 at the HSG (= 30 ECTS), but it can vary depending on the method of crediting. I had chosen four extremely good courses that I really enjoyed. I chose the fifth course (Creativity) because the course did not meet my expectations. But this is again an administrative work, not at all the same as at the HSG with the bidding, at the HPU you have to have everything signed and run from one office to the next, last but not least, each change of the course choice costs $ 30. With four courses, however, I had more than enough to do during the week. I tried to keep the weekends free, but one or the other weekend had to be wasted.

Studying in Hawaii is completely different from studying at the HSG. There is nothing with doing nothing for the whole semester and then studying for an exam at the end. No, you always have to perform in Hawaii, every week quizzes (short exams) were taken, many presentations were given or projects were worked on. Not that I scared you off now, on the contrary, you finally had the chance to prove your skills over a longer period of time and not a single day at the end of the semester decided on your performance. In addition, through the many presentations I acquired a good and relaxed way of giving presentations in the future. So you shouldn’t take your semester abroad too easily, otherwise you won’t get good grades, but you will learn a lot for the future.

My courses consisted of:

  1. Macroeconomics with Prof. Schoolland:
    The course was very interesting. Mr. Schoolland talked a great deal about the US government and made many practical examples in his theories. However, the level was limited. The professor is appropriately strict, but I think that as a European you can get a good grade with diligent work. Attendance was and has been checked in every lesson.
  2. International Marketing with Prof. Morrow:
    This course was by far my favorite. Ms. Morrow comes from the field and accordingly knows a lot about on the job. She is an excellent speaker who can be learned a lot from. Your course was extremely exciting and instructive. But it was also a lot of hard work with countless papers, presentations and quizzes. Here it is possible to get a good grade if you really kneel behind it and invest a lot in this course. Nothing is given, but good work is rewarded!
  3. Product Management & Creativity Marketing with Prof. Pangilinan:
    This course requires a lot of self-discipline. The professor likes to drive his students crazy in order to tease out their creativity and independence. So bring good nerves with you to this course, but it’s worth it! Because Mr. Pangilinan is an impressive personality who is not mainly a lecturer, but works in practice. His teaching is not comparable to the usual university lessons. You learn to implement the theory immediately. In the beginning, he formed teams that now represented an independent company for the entire semester and had to assert themselves against other companies in the course. Starting with an innovation, we had to go through the phases of product management through to marketing. The best company wins the challenge.
  4. Graphic Design Studio with Prof. Ang:
    This course is a bit out of line, but it was worth a visit. I didn’t see myself anywhere in the IT sector, didn’t have any skills and wanted to change that a little with this course. This course covered the programs InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Anyone who thinks that is “easy” is mistaken. This course took up the most time. We had to do 8 assignments, each of which included a project work and for those who were completely new to the programs, like me, for example, had their hands full to keep up. However, the levels were included in the grading. Although it was a lot of work, I would choose this course again and again.

Teaching material – The HPU bookstore

A few sentences about the books. The HPU maintains a bookstore where you can buy the books requested by the lecturer, new or used. Teaching material is very expensive. I bought a used book at the bookstore for $ 199. As it turned out later, the book was available from amazon for around $ 140 and was new. So I brought the book back. The purchase price will be refunded within a certain period. You can’t solve the cases without a book, so I just ordered some of my books on Amazon. Delivery to the Hawaiian Islands takes about three weeks. Therefore, it is better to contact the lecturer beforehand, ask kindly about the literature used and buy in good time.

Living & movement

The university is downtown, but life takes place in Waikiki. Most students also live in Waikiki, a vacation zone made up of 30,000 tourist beds. Getting around with your own car is hardly necessary. The most important shops can be reached by bus, the rest is done by taxis for not too much money. Tip: Buy the sticker for the bus in the bookstore right at the start of your studies (approx. $ 120). It is worth it.. The island can then be explored by car, which can be rented with friends and which is not too expensive.

When I arrived in Hawaii, I lived in a hostel for a few days and spent a lot of time looking for an apartment. It is not easy to find something in the most expensive state in the USA that is affordable and clean at the same time. Even if you get to the point where you would just like to take the next best thing, don’t do that. Don’t worry, and most importantly, don’t panic! I certainly spent a good two weeks in the hostel until I met my future roommates at the HPU check-in session. It was worth the wait, because I had the most fun and my best time in Hawaii with the two girls.

So my tip: take your time looking for an apartment, look on the Internet and in the newspaper, the star advertiser. I’m not a big fan of Facebook, but there is a new group here at the beginning of each semester (let the HPU invite you), in which accommodation is also sought and arranged. Continue on the homepage. Here, too, caution is advised. Take someone with you when you go to see something. Never buy a pig in a poke and read and understand contracts before signing them. As everywhere, the further out, the cheaper. Of course, transfer times must be observed here.


Hawai’i is just beautiful. Here there are constant temperatures between 21 and 30 degrees. The people are very friendly. Political America is far away here. However, President Obama allows two or more visits to Hawaii, where he partly grew up… The people here are simply very relaxed. It works like this too.


The whole island is ideal for hikes and excursions. Absolutely do! Many bays and beaches near Honolulu are beautiful, such as Honolua Bay, Makapu’u Bay. But Waimea Bay or Sunset Beach on the north coast is also a must-see on Oahu.
I was lucky enough to be able to visit some of the other islands. Take Maui, for example. The sunrise on the Haleakala (getting up at 0300) or the Road to Hana with the Black Sand Beach and in December whale watching… great experiences. Kauai also impresses with its natural beauties, especially its “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and the inaccessible Napali Coast. Beautiful! An open-door helicopter flight over the island and to the waterfall where Jurassic Park was filmed is also worthwhile (open-door flight: Jack Harter Helicopters). Big Island is of course known for the volcano. Unfortunately, there is currently no more spectacular lava flowing into the sea, but you can see it shimmering in a cloud of steam when it is dark enough. However, expect huge distances here. Big Island is not called Big Island for nothing. Plan this trip with brains.


On site to Telekom or Verizon or any other provider and buy a SIM card. Simple Mobile was available for $ 40 a month with unlimited SMS and phone calls.

Is a nice pile of money to take with you in Hawaii. However, it is worth every penny. But it doesn’t matter where you go, because the people you get to know make up the majority of the experience. Not necessarily the place to go!

I had my very best university semester! Now it’s up to you to take the plunge!

Study in Hawaii Pacific University 1