Much about the organization has already been written in previous experience reports. Your website supports you wonderfully during the organizational phase and there is a checklist with all the necessary documents / forms for the entire application process as well as a schedule for processing the individual steps (visa application, application to HPU, etc.). If you stick to this schedule, you will reach your goal with little stress.
You should also talk to your home university at an early stage regarding the eligibility of the chosen course at the HPU. It is advisable to have your home university confirm your choice of course in writing, as it can happen (as in my case) that agreements are forgotten. Nice if you have something in writing!
Since I knew from the start when I had to go back, I booked a return flight together. Since I was a bit late, I paid about 1100 euros. Return flights for around 900 euros are also possible. It certainly makes sense to collect the airline miles (for example Miles and More).
It is best to arrive with an almost empty suitcase. After the semester you will have to do everything to get everything back to Germany. You may have to get a second suitcase after all.
Before going to Hawaii you should join the HPU group on Facebook for the respective semester. Here students offer everything from books to surfboards and rooms. I got my room myself through this Facebook group. There is also the option of using Craigslist or the HPU’s International Student Office to provide the contact details of a real estate agent. Some students met their future roommates in the hostel. Everything is possible. For the first day I also lived in the hostel. I wanted to look at the apartment on site and not enter into a tenancy agreement from Germany on the basis of photos. We recommend the Seaside Hostel on Seaside Ave. in Waikiki.
I lived in Waikiki and paid 750 USD for a 9m² room. These are common prices for a single room in Waikiki. If you share the room with someone you pay around 400 to 500 USD. The positive thing about Waikiki is clearly the proximity to the beach and the fact that many students live there. Furthermore, the proximity to Diamond Head was important to me, as there are surf spots for advanced surfers and you can get there easily by bike. However, you have to be aware that Waikiki is teeming with tourists all year round and the prices for all goods are accordingly high. Ala Moana is a good alternative to living.
Groceries are consistently more expensive compared to mainland US and Germany. In order to be able to buy reasonably cheap groceries, we recommend Don Quijote, Safeway or Walmart.
I can only recommend everyone to look for a flat share and not to live with students of the same nationality. On the one hand you are forced to speak English all the time and you get to know a lot of new people from different countries and cultures. In my case, the roommates were already students at the HPU (Norwegians and Americans) and therefore knew a lot about many things (studies, Hawaii, etc.). One should take this chance!
In order to complete the application, one must present all documents / forms to the HPU and also prove the TB clearance, which can be carried out in the vicinity of the university (10 USD). After completing the application, you get your student ID and, if necessary, the semester bus ticket.
The books for the courses are more than expensive, even when used. The extent to which you ultimately need the books varies from course to course. I can only recommend that you try to buy the books used on Amazon or from former students. The HPU Bookstore sometimes demands exorbitant prices and if the book is no longer used by the professor next semester, the HPU Bookstore will not buy it back either and you will sit on it.
After you have completed your registration at the HPU and have a place of residence for the semester, it is definitely recommended to get the Hawaii ID (approx. 15USD). With this ID you get a local discount in many shops and also from organizers (helitours, canoe, surfboard rental, diving license, etc.). It is advisable to fill out the application form online, print it out and only then go to the town hall. There, the ID will be issued on site and you will save a lot of waiting time, as you can use the Fast Lane with the application that you have previously filled out online.
Anyone who wants to can take part in the HPU Welcome Day for all new students. However, there are differences between the Undergraduate (Bachelor) and Graduate (Master) Welcome Day. The opinion of the undergraduates was consistently negative and that you can skip the Welcome Day. I can only say one thing about the Graduate Welcome Day. I liked it very much, you get to know a lot of students who you meet again and again later at the HPU. You also get some helpful information and another highlight was the food!
In general, you have to get used to studying because you have to work out a lot of homework, quizies, presentations, etc., which are then also included in the assessment. So you have to stay on the ball the whole semester and not just study for an exam at the end of the semester, as in Germany. So you spend some nice days at home to get things ready. The scope of homework varies between the individual departments and also between Bachelor and Master. So it may well be that one student has a lot of free time and another has to do something for the university every day.
I took the subjects Accounting for Managers (Prof. Wee), Global Human Resource Management (Prof. Grazier) and Marketing Strategy (Prof. Ha). On the whole, I enjoyed the subjects, you learn something and I can recommend them to others. Especially Prof. Ha in Marketing Strategy combines theory and practice very well and always has very funny stories up his sleeve. In general, you should bring a sweater with you to the lectures. The classroom and the bus are arguably the two coldest places in Hawaii.
Since I could surf before, it was the absolute highlight in Hawaii for me. I bought a cheap second-hand board and sold it again before I left. If you want to go surfing regularly, it is definitely worth it. If you can’t do it yet, you should take the chance and try it out. As a beginner, you can very well gain your first experience on Waikiki Beach. However, since the surf spots there are mostly overcrowded, you have to be careful of other surfers (mostly beginners) and their flying boards. In my opinion, the surf lessons are a tourist rip-off. It is better to go surfing with people from the university who can do it and who can show you something. There are various spots on the island for advanced skiers. When it comes to sport, you can generally let off steam in Hawaii. Whether hiking, canoeing, diving or skydiving, there is something for everyone.
There are some shopping opportunities on the island. We recommend the Waikele Outlet Center and the Ala Moana Shopping Center. For surf fans, Hawaii with its many Quiksilver, Volcom, Rip Curl and other surf shops is a paradise in terms of selection and prices.
If you are already in Hawaii you should not miss it and also visit the other islands such as Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. For the smaller islands of Molokai and Lanai, day trips are sufficient if you want to see these islands. The highlight is clearly Kauai!
There are all sorts of bars and clubs in Waikiki. But you always have to expect to meet tourists and army people here. Senor Frogs, Mooses, Lulu’s and Rum Fire Waikiki are recommended. Crazybox and Pearl offer a slightly more sophisticated ambience. Every first Friday of the month is First Friday iD Downtown.
A good tip at the end!
Use the international orientation of the HPU! Do yourself a favor and try to make contacts with international students and locals. You can also spend your free time with German students in Germany. You don’t need to travel to the other end of the world for this. After all, it is a semester abroad and you will be amazed how many new and interesting people you meet and new friendships are created.
It was the right decision to do the semester abroad in Hawaii and I would do it again and again! Have fun with those who still have their stay abroad ahead of them!