“We’d all like to stay here”: semester abroad in Hawaii

Antonia is so excited about her semester abroad at the HPU that she would love to stay there forever.

Usually Antonia studies International Business at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and works at a bank. But she is currently living her personal dream: Antonia is at this moment in the middle of the Pacific on a small tropical island called Oahu. This name may even mean something to you, because Oahu also has Honolulu, the capital of the state of Hawaii, surrounded by beautiful nature and beautiful beaches. And that’s exactly where Antonia is spending her semester abroad at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU).

Fortunately, she already arrived on New Year’s Eve and the semester is slowly coming to an end anyway. Antonia was able to do this by the time the Corona crisis also reached the remote island archipelago of Hawaii several dream moments in the tropical paradise experience and enjoy your semester abroad to the full.

Antonia has what she liked most about the HPU and her time in Hawaii so far current insider interview betray.


College Contact:
Hello Antonia, how do you like your semester abroad so far?

Everyday life in paradise: Surrounded by beautiful beaches and wonderful panoramas, Hawaii is the place where Antonia wants to live.

Antonia:
I love it! With Corona, of course, everything turned out a little differently than planned. We no longer have face-to-face courses this semester, we only study online. Actually, my family wanted to visit me too, but are not allowed to enter the country now. So now I have to see what happens next. But so far everything has been great! After two weeks at the latest, we all said: “We never want to go home”. At first it was said that this was now the “Honeymoon Stage” and that there would be other times, but they didn’t come. It was all very nice all the time.


College Contact:
Sure, it’s definitely awesome to live there. How was your everyday life in Hawaii so far?

Antonia:
I think Hawaii is easy a place where you want to live. When I study for university, for example, I usually sit here by the pool, because I can sit outside and still have WiFi. I stay indoors as little as possible and we always try to do a lot: We do as many hikes as possible, because there is just so much to see here on the island and we also go to the beach as often as possible. There is of course a lot to do for the university, which means you can’t do it every day, but we try. I only have courses three times a week, so I don’t really have a regular daily routine, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are my Unitage. I’ll be in the university until evening and we’ll still do it on Thursday Sunset yoga by the sea. That’s offered by the HPU and it’s pretty cool. At the weekend we usually go on trips, for example we like to go up to the North Shore.


Lucky: From their apartment in Waikiki, Antonia and her roommate are not only quick to bike to university, but also super quick to the beach!

College Contact:
Where do you live exactly? And do you have any tips for finding an apartment?

Antonia:
I live in Waikiki with another German who also organized her semester abroad through College Contact. We are on foot or by bike super fast on different beaches and everywhere else. You can almost see the beach from the apartment, we have a pool and even a rooftop. We were really lucky with the apartment! It’s in Waikiki, but pretty close to Ala Moana. So the location is really perfect because it only takes me 15 minutes by bike to go to university and still be in Waikiki, which is a good area for students to live in. This means, we have the best of everything here. I searched through the marketplace on Facebook, the Facebook group, Craigslist and sites like Appartment.com. Then I just wrote to people and in the end I only looked at two apartments.


College Contact:
Sounds great! Do you drive along the beach on your way to university?

Antonia:
Not directly. The path runs parallel to the coast, but I don’t see the sea. If you walk two minutes further in the direction, the beach is the same everywhere. The university itself is practically by the sea and you can see it from some classrooms. I have to say that my courses are all on Waterfront Plaza occur. There are three different HPU locations in downtown alone.


A metropolis on the beach: You can even see the ocean from the seminar rooms at the Waterfront Plaza at Hawaii Pacific University.

College Contact:
How do you like your campus?

Antonia:
I think he’s really beautiful. Everything is well maintained and comfortable, I would say. You can tell a bit that it is something different than a German state university. Those who live on-campus are a lot at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. This is the other campus, it’s totally cute. I don’t go there that often, but it looks a bit like a shopping center and there is one there too really great study area with comfy couches and even massage chairs – that’s really cool. You can get coffee everywhere and there are small shops – I really like the university. You definitely feel good.


College Contact:
And which courses do you take – or what do you particularly like about studying at the HPU?

Antonia:
I study international business in Germany, which means I have to do the semester abroad and also have the courses credited. Therefore I unfortunately cannot prove oceanography or Hawaiian Hula dance or something like that like others. I only have business and finance courses: Business Finance und Financing your Money in Capital Markets, Human Resource Management und Business in Contemporary Society. I have the impression that there is no unfriendly professor here. Everyone is nice. The courses have between ten and 30 participants, so you just can’t compare that to a German university. In terms of effort, I would say it’s more about quantity than quality, that is, if you do a little something, you get a good grade everywhere in the end. The finance courses are a bit more demanding because you have to do some math and think. But I think that’s really good I really enjoy it. They are also completely different than in Germany: Here it is not this frontal teaching and only theory, but much more is applied and practiced.


A special perspective: At the HPU, Antonia gets exciting insights into the business and financial world from an American perspective.

College Contact:
Do you also notice any substantive differences to Germany? Are there aspects that are specific to the Hawaiian perspective?

Antonia:
Of course, in Finance there is a lot that is country-specific, logically. And Financing Money in Capital Markets is really about financial institutions in the United States, including the legal environment in the United States. This is of course a little more difficult, but also very interesting. In this course we do one too mega coole Bank-Challenge. We work with the Central Pacific Bank and also with the Federal Reserve Bank. The politician who is responsible for the financial supervisory authority here also came to us in the course and talked to us about it. So it’s about a case study and we represent Hawaii and the Central Pacific Bank in competition with other universities across the United States. It’s very cool. And it’s just very exciting to see the differences between Germany and the USA, because I also work in a bank in Germany.


College Contact:
Wow, sounds great! What were they so far Highlights of your semester abroad?

Antonia:
One of my highlights is definitely ours Big Island excursion during the spring break. It was beautiful and when you are here you should definitely take the chance to see as much as possible not only from Oahu but also from the other islands. Big Island is really fascinating. This is a completely different world with this volcanic rock. We rented a jeep there and then looked at the whole island. Also the Hikes are definitely one of my highlights. When you go hiking here, you always see beautiful nature. You can’t really grasp it and ask yourself all the time “Do we really live here?” That’s why hiking is a lot of fun here and we also try to do it almost every weekend or when you have a day off.

Fascinating panoramas: In addition to dreamy beaches, Hawaii with its volcanic landscapes has much more unique nature to offer that is worth exploring.

If you want to learn to surf, this is of course the right place and I personally like to go diving. Scuba diving is very cool here, I’ve been diving with manta rays and swimming with dolphins – just like you imagine Hawaii. We also of course spend a lot of time on the beach. It’s really nice and on weekends we are often there all day.


College Contact:
Would you recommend the HPU for a semester abroad?

Antonia:
Definitely. It’s really a different experience, because it’s a completely different way of learning than in Germany. Of course the level is a bit lower than at home, but I think that applies to the whole of America. We would all like to stay here and continue studying here. The only problem with the HPU is that you pay a lot of money, but it’s not the most prestigious university. That means, if you are extremely ambitious and attach great importance to your degree and curriculum vitae, then I would rather recommend going to Berkeley. I thought about that too. But I chose Hawaii because you can have everything here: You are in paradise, but you can still go to university and lives in a big city where there is always something going on. So yes, I would definitely recommend it.

College Contact:
Great, thank you very much for the nice interview and I hope you can still enjoy your time there!


Do you like the idea of ​​how Antonia for a semester in paradise to live and get exciting insights into everyday American university life? Then find out more about the Hawaii Pacific University Study Abroad program now.

Our USA expert Annika Geisler takes care of you free and without obligation with all the necessary information and valuable tips for applying. Just write us an email or give us a call!

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