Study in Hawaii Pacific University (11)

Report on the semester abroad at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) in autumn 2011 In

spring 2011 I decided to do a semester abroad at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu and accordingly looked around for an intermediary organization. I would like to take this opportunity to thank MicroEDU again for the great help I received and for the patience and commitment with which you answered all of my additional questions. I am currently spending my second semester abroad with MicroEDU – this time in Istanbul – and I can only recommend this organization to everyone.

Arrive, first formalities:

After my arrival I was picked up by an HPU car and driven to the hostel that I had already reserved from home. I recommend Waikiki Beachside Hostel here as it’s cheap, clean, and centrally located in Waikiki. This is the part of town I later lived in and where most of the outside students live. The hostel management was even accommodating when I canceled two nights that had already been paid for because I found an apartment earlier than expected. I got the rest of the money transferred back.
Unfortunately, I can’t give you any tips about looking for an apartment because I didn’t take care of it, but a friend took over this task. However, I recommend getting some viewing appointments at home over the Internet because the apartment can differ greatly in quality and price. You should definitely go out with a rent of $ 500- $ 800 if you want to live centrally. This is recommended because the public transport network is much worse than in the USA and buses no longer run in the evening. In addition, hitchhiking is prohibited and having your own car is very expensive and complicated due to insurance for foreigners and young drivers (under 24 years of age).
Enrolling at the university goes without any problems, but is quite cumbersome overall. All papers have to be shown again and an immunization to the doctor has to be carried out. All information on how and where is available from the international office of the university, which runs through the whole procedure a thousand times over every year and is therefore prepared for all “special cases” and problems that may arise.
It is advisable to obtain a State ID. This costs around $ 15 and can be requested online. It can be picked up after a week. With this State ID you get discounts in many shops and when booking various excursions. It is also an advantage to identify yourself with the State ID, as it is more easily accepted by police officers and bouncers, inspectors and others than a foreign ID. Especially on the mainland, apart from American State IDs, only the passport is accepted, for example to prove the age of majority, which can be very annoying.
Overall, you should arrive one to two weeks before the start of your studies in order to compensate for the time difference of 12/11 hours and perhaps to take a trip to one of the other islands, as you should plan a few days for this.


As a Bachelor student you have the status of “Undergraduate” student in the USA. Payment of the tuition fee entitles one to participate in up to five courses. However, you can only take undergraduate courses. Especially in the graduate area, the HPU has very good courses in the area of ​​sustainable development and management. In the undergraduate area, on the other hand, the courses are sometimes well below the German academic standard. Almost all of the students I have spoken to have a similar impression of the quality of the courses. On the other hand, it is good that lessons are only given in small groups of 20 to 30 people. Dealing with professors and lecturers is also much more direct and personal than in Germany. Everyone knows each other and the professors have a personal concern to help students with problems. As an international student, you have a good position here, as the lecturers are also interested in the culture and viewpoints from other countries and pay special attention to you.
As mentioned, the lessons are easier than in Germany, but homework and short papers have to be handed in regularly. In almost all courses, a midterm and a final exam are written, which together with the oral participation and homework result in the grade. Overall, it is similar to school lessons.
The HPU has two different campuses. One is located downtown and consists of various office buildings in which the HPU has rented individual floors. With the exception of an exclusive university building, you get the impression of doing an office job rather than being a student. The buildings are grouped around a small pedestrian zone. Here you can find many snack bars of all different culinary styles and you can spend your lunch break in one of the snack bars where all the students always meet. There is also a small student lounge. It has table tennis tables, pool tables and table football. Overall, however, you prefer to be outside, as all the rooms at the HPU are so cooled that you have to wear a sweater and you can easily catch a cold if you forget it.
You can dial into the university’s WiFi network on the entire site.

The university has a library where you can work from morning to night, so you don’t necessarily have to pay attention to having a desk or good work opportunities when looking for a flat, as you can work well in the library.

The second campus is located inland and can be reached within 20 minutes with the shuttles that run regularly between the campuses. It has been voted the most beautiful campus in the USA several times and is located in the middle of a green valley. Here you have a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and you can sit on the lawn on the spacious grounds or visit the very good cafeteria that you miss on the Downtown Campus. Mainly the nursing courses take place here, as well as all courses that have to do with the environment in some way. Even if you are not being taught on this campus, you should visit it at least once.


Honolulu has one of the best bus networks in the United States. This statistic is appalling as there are still many shortcomings here too. For example, there are no timetables at the bus stops and the buses stop running later in the evening. Nevertheless, you can always get where you want during the day and the university issues student tickets that are valid for the entire time of the semester and a little beyond. This makes the bus the most convenient means of transport. You can also drive from Honolulu to the north coast of the island in a good two hours, so it can actually be used as a means of transport for small excursions. Unfortunately you are not allowed to transport suitcases or surfboards on the bus and every now and then you come across strange characters. About Google.

Taxis are the only means of transport over longer distances in the evening. They are reliable and a little cheaper than in Germany. Planes are the only way to get to other islands. There are no passenger ferries as you do not want to overuse the areas between the islands for nature conservation reasons (coral reefs, whales). Round-trip flights are typically around $ 150.

Hitchhiking is prohibited in the entire state, which is why you are hardly taken along if you try. On the other hand, it is not a problem on the other islands, as there is usually no police presence and people are generally more open to hitchhiking. However, as everywhere in the USA, you should be extremely careful and not hitchhike alone, as a girl, or after dark.


It is not possible at this point to describe all the things that I have experienced this semester and that you can generally experience in Hawaii. It is indeed the closest place in the world to paradise. We recommend the travel guide from Reise Know-How “Hawaii” by Alfred Vollmer. Here you get detailed descriptions and many tips that are not found in other travel guides. Hawaii is unique!

Students life:

On the part of the university, you can participate in countless clubs. The university has the best college cheerleading team in the United States and that’s why it’s worth watching a volleyball or basketball game. Unfortunately, the university doesn’t have a football team. However, the University of Hawaii games are very popular and an interesting “quintessentially American” experience. Otherwise, in the absence of a campus (at least in downtown), student life usually takes place outside the university. Every week there are several parties in Waikiki that are inexpensive and where you can always meet “everyone”. Every first Friday of the month, “First Friday” takes place in Chinatown, a street festival with cultural performances.


Honolulu is one of the safest cities in the United States. As a rule, you can move around freely, but like in any big city you have to be a little careful, especially at night. Especially in Waikiki and Chinatown it is not recommended for girls to walk home alone at night. A lot of drugs are dealt with and, as already mentioned, you often come across strange characters on the bus. Overall, however, you never have to fear for life and limb. In addition, the moral courage in the USA is very high so that you can always turn to others if you need help. Last but not least, the police presence is extremely high in the Waikiki district. In addition to the clubs and bars, you will mainly find the big tourist hotels here, so the city tries to keep this area safe and “presentable”.

An important note is that it is strictly forbidden to walk on red in the United States. Anyone who does this and is caught by the police can expect a fee of up to $ 150. The same applies to smoking at bus stops or in other non-smoking areas.

Insurance / Visa:

Before entering the country, you have to take care of sufficient international insurance and provide proof of this when you enroll at the university. A student visa can be obtained from US consulates. The crucial link is here:

You can only take care of the visa once you have received a confirmation from the HPU, as you only receive your I20 form here. You need this in addition to the other documents to apply for the visa. A common mistake is that you have the wrong passport photos with you. The pictures must have certain dimensions and meet certain requirements. It is best to have the pictures taken by a photographer. Camera or Besier are good addresses here, as they are familiar with the requirements. Overall, you have to be patient when applying for a visa and when visiting the consulate. Read more student reviews on Toppharmacyschools.


The HPU provides information about the expected costs for a semester in Hawaii on its website:
Undergraduate Student Expenses
For the 2011-12 academic year, full-time student expenses for most programs are:
Regular Tuition $ 16,510
Room & Board * $ 12,230
Other Expenses ** $ 3,190
Total $ 31,930
Other Programs’ Tuition:
Marine & Environmental Science
$ 19,400
Nursing Program
(Juniors & Seniors only)
$ 24,070

* Room and Board Expenses include on-campus double occupancy, 14 meal per / wk plan, and room deposit
** Other Expenses include books, personal expenses, fees, and a student bus pass
For further details on undergraduate tuition, please click here.
Graduate Student Expenses
For the 2011-12 academic year, full-time (9 credits / semester) student expenses for most programs are:
Regular Tuition $ 13,230
Room & Board * $ 12,230
Other Expenses ** $ 3,190
Total $ 28,650
Other Programs’ Tuition:
MBA Program $ 13,410
Marine Science Program $ 18,540
* Room and Board Expenses are for off-campus housing
** Other Expenses include books, personal expenses, fees, and a student bus pass
This list is pretty much accurate and is a good guide if you want to take care of the financing.
I would like to make a few small comments about the prices in Hawaii:
Especially when it comes to food in Hawaii, you are confronted with astronomical prices for fresh food (dairy products, vegetables, fruit, meat). All food is imported from the mainland, hence the high prices. I recommend that you and your roommates purchase a membership at Sam’s Club or one of the other major food suppliers. Here you can get a good price at least for the basic products. If you want to buy fresh products, it is advisable to go shopping in China Town. Asian products in particular, but also spices and fruit and vegetables, are still the cheapest here. Since you often have lunch at university, you drive up the cost of food even further and at some point you long for a “normal” purchase at Aldi.

Hawaii is a dream and it is very easy to have the “best time of your life” here. If you get involved in the other way of life, accept the high food prices and the less high academic level, you will have a wonderful time here. The friendly people, the breathtaking diversity of the landscape, the weather and the aloha spirit make Hawaii the perfect destination for a semester abroad.

Study in Hawaii Pacific University 11