Aloha! My name is Vera and I am studying design and project management at the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences. During my 6th semester, I did a semester abroad at Hawaii Pacific University.
At the beginning I found out about the possibilities of a stay abroad at my university and finally decided to spend a semester abroad at Hawaii Pacific University. During an information conversation with the International Office, I was recommended the agency MicroEDU , which helps with the organization of semesters abroad free of charge. I decided on Hawaii Pacific University because, unlike at most other American universities, you can choose courses in Germany and the HPU also has a high proportion of international students.
After I got all the necessary documents together, I applied through MicroEDU and within a week I was accepted.
If you plan to have the courses taken in Germany counted, you have to fill out a learning agreement beforehand. To do this, I had to go to the respective course instructors beforehand so that they sign a learning agreement. This confirms that the foreign course corresponds to the German course and that the course can be recognized after the semester abroad.
In addition, I was already looking for my accommodation in Germany. Most international students move to a hostel for the first two weeks and look for an apartment on site. I wanted to save myself this stress so that I can move into an apartment as soon as I arrive.
I chose a private dorm (university dorms are shared rooms and the location is not recommended). I shared a bathroom, kitchen and living room with another student, and each of us had our own bedroom. The apartment was between Ala Moana and Waikiki. I can only recommend this residential area as most of the things to do there and it is a lot safer than downtown or Chinatown. However, it is also very touristy.
Hawaii Pacific University:
According to iamaccepted, the HPU has two locations: The Downtown Campus and the Loa Campus. I took all of my courses on the downtown campus, which is located in downtown Honolulu and is easily accessible by public transport. The Aloha Tower Marketplace is also part of the downtown campus. It houses lecture rooms, study rooms, the bookstore, a fitness studio and one of the university’s student residences. There is no cafeteria on campus, but there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and stalls. Downtown prices are very good compared to other parts of Hawaii.
The Loa Campus is a little more in the interior of the island, there is also the second student residence of the HPU.
To meet my visa requirements, I had to take four courses. Three of them were in the business area (MGMT 3300 International Business Management, MGMT 3400 Human Resource Management, ECON 2010 Principles of Microeconomics) and one in the design area (MULT 1100 Foundations of Multimedia Production).
In terms of requirements, I found it absolutely feasible in terms of content. There are only about 20 students in the classes, and international students have been catered for. However, the effort during the semester is relatively high in the USA, as there are continuous tasks and submissions. Every week you had to do assignments and quizzes that were part of the final grade. In addition, in most of the courses you had more than one exam during the semester. The exams were easier than at the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences.
Life in Hawaii:
Life in Hawaii is relatively expensive. This is noticeable in the prices for groceries, but also in the rental prices. However, that shouldn’t stop you from studying in Hawaii, as there are various funding options, such as scholarships and BAföG abroad.
Free time activities:
In addition to studying, there is still enough time to explore the island. Incidentally, Hawaii Pacific University is located on the island of Oahu. Excursions are perfect on weekends and on days off. This definitely includes a road trip to the North Shore. We rented a car with other students on the first weekend and within an hour we were at the famous pipeline, where surfers show their skills in winter.
If you like hiking, Hawaii is definitely the place for you. Hawaii offers a lot of beautiful hikes for all levels of difficulty, there is a hike for everyone. My personal favorite hike is the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. Then you can relax on Lanikai Beach, which is the most beautiful beach on the island.
Hawaii Pacific University also organizes various leisure activities. In addition to shared hikes and a free gym, Zumba and yoga take place once a week. The university has different clubs that are presented at the Club Carnival at the beginning of the semester. They also offer different tours, with the History Club I was in Washington Place and Iolani Palace, two historic buildings in downtown. With another club we were able to go on a whale watching tour at a discount. Also concerts were held on campus, got to be discounted as a student tickets.
One of my nicest experiences in the past semester was the trips I went on. On long weekends we tried to fly to the other islands. Maui, Kauai and Molokai are perfect weekend destinations, but the Big Island can take a few days longer. That’s why we flew there a second time after the semester was over.
Overall, I can highly recommend Hawaii Pacific University and a semester abroad there. The half year in the USA has brought me forward linguistically and culturally. It makes a big difference whether you really live in another country or just go on vacation there. I have significantly improved my language skills and at the same time met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. I would definitely do it again.