Benefits of Hawaii Pacific University
My stay abroad at Hawaii Pacific University (hereinafter referred to as HPU) was simply unforgettable! Future students at HPU can look forward to a great study experience. The university offers its students many advantages. First of all, this includes the most notable point: The university is on HAWAII! That’s crazy, isn’t it !? The university offers really competent and nice lecturers. You can come to them with your concerns and they are happy to help. I needed z. B. a letter of confirmation from my lecturer to credit the course at my home university. The lecturer took this very seriously and went to great lengths to ensure that the letter was created exactly according to the instructions from my university. In addition to numerous face-to-face courses, the HPU also offers online courses. These are great if you want to experience and explore a lot and thus be flexible in terms of time. I will go into how the online course works later. Get more information about Hawaii Pacific University on educationvv.
The bus connection is very good. Most of the students live in Waikiki. There is a bus going to HPU every 8-10 minutes. You will receive your bus ticket at the immigration check-in (introductory event for the summer session ), which is valid until the end of the month in which the summer session ends. This ticket is valid for all buses on the TheBus network. There is a computer center right on the university campus. Here you can add credit to your student ID card and print out homework (some of which you have to hand in). The Computer Center has good opening times and nice, helpful staff.
I did not find the level of requirements of the HPU too high. I have an average of 2 at my home university and I was able to pass all four courses with an A (i.e. grade 1). The 12 week courses are highly recommended, because they are super structured and there is enough time to explore Hawaii. The HPU has three campuses, the Downtown Campus, the Loa Campus and the Oceanic Institute. The lectures of our summer session are all on the Downtown Campus. A trip to the Loa Campus is highly recommended. This one is beautiful! It is right in the mountains and you have the feeling that you are standing on a golf course. To give you a better idea, here are a few pictures of the Downtown and Loa Campus.
Cons of Hawaii Pacific University
The disadvantage of the summer session at the HPU is the 6-week course. These are very intense. The lecturers have to cram everything that was designed for 12 weeks into 6 weeks. This leads to very close deadlines for the performance certificates (because you have to provide the same scope of performance as in 12 weeks) and thus to stress. You really have a lot to do! For this reason I would rather recommend the 12 week courses. As mentioned above, most students live in Waikiki, which is where it really is most beautiful. But you also have to accept a 45-minute bus ride to the university, because it is in the middle of the city. A lot of time is lost in the process. For example, I had a course in the morning from 8 a.m. to 9.45 a.m. and then another one at 4 p.m. Since there’s not much you can do on the downtown campus other than buy something to eat, I drove to the university twice a day; In other words, I drove the bus for 3 hours.
The Downtown Campus is generally negative. Hawaii has a very, very high number of homeless people, and many of the homeless live on and around the downtown campus. To conclude this topic briefly and concisely: It sometimes smells very strong there! The buildings of the HPU are all very well maintained and clean and in the entrance area of each university building you will find a disinfectant dispenser. The disadvantage of the lessons in the HPU is the air conditioning. This is very, very strong! You have to pack a thick sweater or take a jacket with you, otherwise you can get really sick! Actually, long trousers and closed shoes are also recommended. This is really not a joke! It is very cold in the entire university building! After the first lecture, I first bought a jacket, because of course I didn’t have that in my luggage on a trip to Hawaii. The HPU does not have a cafeteria, but there are enough shops on campus where you can buy something to eat (especially many Chinese specialties). Overall, the HPU is a very expensive university. The tuition fees are very high and the books cost a fortune (especially the books for Economics courses). You can also borrow the books, then it only costs a small fortune.
Courses that I have taken at the HPU
Human Resource Management (12 weeks)
The lecturer (Mr. Henry Ku) is really great, but has his principles and is relatively strict! The lecture will be held on the basis of Power Point presentations that you will receive later by email. The course took place twice a week. The requirements consisted of an intermediate examination, a final examination (both multiple choice), a group work with presentation, a term paper and a quiz (multiple choice) was written at the beginning of each lesson, sometimes only every other hour. The content of the quizzes was always the Power Point presentation of the previous lesson and the corresponding chapter in the course book. In terms of requirements, the course was quite demanding, but since it was a 12 week course you could do everything well. Mr. Ku also offered several opportunities to earn extra points.
Introduction to Visual Arts (6 weeks)
The lecturer (Mrs. Kirsten Simonsen) is very nice! The course took place twice a week, each lasting 4.5 hours. Most of the lectures consisted of Power Point presentations. In addition, the lecturer has always shown many pictures of the individual artists, which are best remembered somehow, as they can appear in the exams. The requirements for this course consisted of a presentation about the life of a freely chosen artist including an interpretation of one of his works, a written version of this presentation, an intermediate examination, a final examination (both multiple choice) and three drawing tasks. The presentations were given in the second half of the course and were included in the final examination. You also had to read many chapters in the course book. For example, in the first week we had to have read three chapters at once. Since this was only a 6 week course, it was quite stressful to catch up with reading and finish the drawing assignments on time. Mrs. Simonsen also offered an option for extra points. You had to take part in a museum lecture and reflect on your impressions in writing.
Introduction to Ethics (6 weeks)
I didn’t like the lecturer so much. Since this was an ethics course, I thought that opinions could be different, because not everyone has the same views, e.g. on euthanasia, abortion or animal testing. But you had the feeling that the lecturer was only accepting his opinion. The lessons consisted of a mixture of frontal lessons (without Power Point presentations), group discussions and film lectures. The requirements were three exams (two exams in which you had to answer questions and a text prepared at home). You got the questions of the exams in advance and could in principle learn the answers by heart. In addition, you had to hand in six written elaborations (3 – 4 pages each) for the texts that you had to read in the course book. The lecturer’s assessment is relatively strict. Since you had to prepare and work out a lot, the course was also very stressful due to the 6 weeks.
Online course: Introduction to Humantities (6 weeks)
This course was quite interesting. It was the first online course I ever did. The lecturer (Mrs. Jocelyn Cardenas) did not get to know personally because there were no face-to-face appointments. The requirements were quite extensive (for 6 weeks). Every week you had to write an essay of at least 750 words, paint a picture and lively (!) Discuss each other’s essays with the group into which you were divided in an online forum. The lecturer wrote to those who did not participate well enough in the discussion, asking them to participate more. The essays were written based on all the information the lecturer provided online. This information included videos, music files, Power Point presentations, images and text.
The application process
If you send the documents listed by MicroEDU to the university in a timely manner, there are actually no time problems. For me the difficulty was that the summer session was just being changed by the HPU and everything was new and different. So it took me a long time to get an acceptance. The confirmation came at the end of March and in mid-May it was supposed to go to Hawaii. The flight and a hotel for the first few weeks have to be booked beforehand. When applying to the HPU, you specify your desired courses and the student advisors then confirm the courses you have received. They also make sure that courses don’t overlap. That is of course a great service. I recommend anyone who is looking for a semester abroad interested only recommend that you take care of the transcripts (translation of the grades) very, very early on. It took me a long time, so I almost couldn’t keep the application deadline. The problem with me was that there was simply no translation for some courses and the technically correct translation first had to be coordinated with the examination office. That was very annoying! So it’s best to order the transcripts first, so that you don’t have to be as annoyed as I do!
The on-site support was very good. In the first week I changed a course straight away because it was simply not manageable in terms of time (exactly, it was a 6-week course). Here you had to report to the student advisory service and a nice woman took great care of me. She helped me find the right course.
I lived in the hotel for the first three weeks (Maile Sky Court Hotel) and from June 1st I lived in a three-room apartment with my fellow student, with whom I did the semester abroad. We got this apartment through a former Hawaii exchange student. She established the first contact for us with her former landlady. Apart from that, there are also student dorms that are rented out through the university.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
Here is a list of the things that I have experienced in Hawaii and recommend:
- Climb Diamond Head (volcanic crater): from above you have a wonderful view over Waikiki Beach
- Kalakaua Avenue: the poshest street in Honolulu (a must-see for real shopping victims)
- Cheesecake Factory: totally delicious food (with a waiting time of 30 – 90 minutes for a table)
- Hard Rock Cafe: not so good food, but great ambience and great view (roof terrace)
- Hanauma Bay: Bay where you can snorkel (entry $ 7.50)
- Catamaran sailing: on Waikiki Beach there are two catamarans that sail every hour towards Diamond Head (great waves, you can see turtles)
- Waikele Outlets: You can find one or the other here, but it’s not as cheap as you would imagine an outlet to be, expensive shuttle bus
- SeaLife: very, very, very recommendable (especially the seal show)
- Lanikai Beach: the most beautiful beach in the USA (the sand is as fine as sifted flour)
- Rent a car and drive to the North Shore or Turtle Beach (best to rent a car online at Alamo, online savings are good)
- Ala Moana Center: huge, gigantic shopping center (from Armani, to Apple and Hollister, to Forever 21, everything represented)
- Jimmy Buffett: Restaurant where you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast buffet in the morning
- Pearl Harbor: you can buy $ 25 tickets for three areas here (I personally found the battleship, the “Battleship Missouri”, to be the most interesting)
- Visit Iolani Palace: Palace in Honolulu (definitely choose the tour with audio guide)
- Polynesian Cultural Center: Here you get a great impression of the Polynesian world
- Experience the sunset at Waikiki Beach
- Go to Waikiki Beach very early in the morning (7-8 a.m.), there are great waves and almost no people
- Visit Loa Campus
- You can actually reach almost all of these sights with the TheBus bus network. I would only recommend renting a car for the North Shore and Turtle Beach.
For all those who are applying to the HPU, I keep my fingers crossed and for those who have already been accepted: Have fun!