Travel preparation and formalities
After Christmas everything had to go very quickly, because the semester there already began on January 24th, 2011 while I could not leave until January 25th due to the exam. For reasons of price, I first took care of the flight after the holidays. The travel agency “Auf & Davon” in the Gemüsegasse in Koblenz provided me with valuable support in creating my trip and flight plan. The travel agency there also has the option of offering cheaper tickets such as those from STA Travel. You can also get foreign travel health insurance or the international student ID (worthwhile) there.
The following steps then had to be completed on the checklist:
- Have a photo taken
- Fill in DS 160
- Make a visa appointment
- Pay Visa and Sevis fees
- Make the visa appointment in Frankfurt.
Appointments for applying for a visa can be made online. For the appointment itself you should plan a waiting time of 2-3 hours despite the appointment. Even in the early morning. The passport should already be up-to-date, otherwise you will stumble upon the long processing time of the relevant authorities. If you want to drive a car abroad, it is also easier for the local police to read an international driver’s license and it could result in a shorter processing time if you are stopped. In my case, this driver’s license was available from the Montabaur district administration for around EUR 15. Go there, apply for it, go pay, collect it. Don’t forget to bring your photo! Then you are the proud owner of a real cardboard. Pure nostalgia.
As a reader of the Finanztest Foundation, I made the selection of foreign travel health insurance (for longer stays) on their recommendation. This is necessary for everyone who is not privately insured. If you think you already have one: Take a look at the maximum insured duration of the trip abroad. For a few, it exceeds 70 days. That is too little for one semester and maybe the protection is not sufficient! So check carefully, because medical treatments are very expensive in the USA and if you are unlucky you have to pay yourself. For the semester itself, the HPU offers its own insurance; nobody is allowed to study there without such an international travel health insurance. But since their offer was too expensive and insufficiently extensive for me and it could not include my subsequent trips, I decided on a Hanse Merkur product recommended by Finanztest. As far as I can remember, I concluded it at the travel agency “Auf & Davon” and not through an intermediary. The agents I know could not offer this tariff. So watch out: the product was called: Travel health insurance for schoolchildren and students. The underlying insurance conditions were VB KV 2008 (S). These were also the basics of the product tested by Finanztest. I think the bonus of EUR 273 for half a year is a joke. Even and especially when you have dealt with it and compared it with others. I thought travel accident and travel liability were sensible additions and booked them for EUR 42.
Many Germans love cash. It’s different in the USA. Some of the credit cards glow here, even for very small amounts. Sometimes nothing works without it. So it is absolutely recommended to get one before you start your journey. Only which ones? The one from the house bank, perhaps because it’s convenient? As is often the case, convenience is expensive. After some research, I ordered my VISA card from the DKB Bank. It has no monthly or annual fees, always. Not just beyond the first year. If no large credit line is made available – which would only earn moderate interest at the DKB if used – then the credit card account can be topped up by transfer and the card can be used on a credit basis. The card can be used worldwide free of charge (apart from a turnover-dependent fee of 1.75%). The machine fees charged by machine operators abroad (between 1.75 and 4 USD) can be reclaimed by the DKB and were also reimbursed. A little tip: it’s better to transfer the tuition fees to the university. The bank transfer costs only a few euros, if the tuition fees are paid by credit card it can be much more expensive.
Frequent flyer program. It may not seem sensible to some, but when it comes to long distances, something comes together. One is called Miles and More. Do you know someone who already has it? Then let him advertise you. If you apply for the DKB credit card after you have a Miles & More access, you will already be credited with 5,000 miles when applying via the M&M system.
Youth hostel membership. Do. It’s worth it after just a few nights.
About the HPU
Hawai’i Pacific University is a private university. It must not be confused with the University of Hawai’i, which also has a very good reputation for its intercultural programs. UH is also listed in the Times Higher Education university rankings as one of the top 200 schools in the world. As is customary in the American education system, tuition fees must also be paid at the HPU. And not too close. The master’s students get off even better than the bachelor’s students, as they pay per credit point while the bachelor’s students have to pay a lump sum for one semester. The range of courses for bachelor students is significantly more extensive than for master students. According to the provisions of the HPU, the choice of courses may either be entirely at Master’s or Bachelor’s level. A mixture – even if it is interesting or strongly desired – is not permitted. Details on the costs of the semester abroad including tuition fees can be found at the end of this report.
The campus. There is actually no central campus. The HPU currently has two locations where the courses are offered. On the one hand, the scientific offers marine biology and health sciences are housed on the windward page. The economics, social and political sciences, on the other hand, are right in downtown Honolulu. Here the HPU maintains a large library and its seminar, computer and administration rooms in different buildings, which are often used for business purposes, along Fort Street Mall and Bishop Street. Unfortunately there is no cafeteria, but there are a few smaller restaurants and snack bars along the mall. A free shuttle service is offered to and from the airport and several times a day to the windward campus and back. The equipment of the seminar rooms,
Support from the HPU
The care. Even in the application phase and shortly before departure, the HPU provides excellent support and tries to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that it is well integrated into teaching. In my experience, problems were solved promptly and competently and always in a very friendly manner. I would particularly like to highlight Ms. Norma C. Kop, who was Academic Advisor in spring 2011 and responsible for the master’s students. She found excellent solutions for all surfaces, some of which were due to the short-term nature of my application. Email inquiries were sometimes answered within a quarter of an hour. I have experienced her as a really professional service provider in the education system and in my opinion one day she will also be appointed president of the university.
Supervision by the lecturers
The supervision by the lecturers (not always professors) naturally varied with the lecturers. Dr. Randall Chang did a really great job in Individuals, Group Dynamics & Teams. A very clearly structured professor, clear statement of expectations, fair evaluation.
Another lecturer offered the Managerial Communication seminar. In my opinion, your care was characterized by either excessive demands or an unorganized way of working. Not only did we get the evaluations for papers submitted weekly, despite other announcements and requests on our part, only at the end of the semester, which of course made it impossible for us students to improve our mistakes for the next paper and to adjust to the professor. No, she had set a much too high workload for this subject, which she fortunately corrected later due to our protest. In the beginning of the semester, however, there were short seminars, presentations of interviews and book presentations in tightly packed appointments. No consideration was given to any language barriers that could delay processing or to the fact that you may not yet know a manager at the new location who you could interview ad hoc. A straight minus. Apart from the interesting content, the only thing that was good was the pin-ness of the formatting.
I also attended International Business Management. Grotto bad. Starting with the ailments of the lecturer, who always ended the lectures a good 40 minutes early and skipped three appointments altogether, to her inadequate selection of books, her unfriendliness towards competent guest speakers, which I perceived as gross, to her presentation style, which does not take the name earned. The course was just bad. The slides are out of date, only clicked through in key points and read out. The book and its examples and case studies were so out of date that some companies no longer exist. Many cases related to a period before the dotcom bubble burst and the new economy collapsed. Totally inappropriate. A very friendly and experienced Indian or Pakistani guest lecturer – from whom we would have loved to hear more – she choked off unfriendly. “Do I still have a little time or are we finished?” He asked. She just clicked around listlessly on her mouse and replied, “Actually, your time is up.” And that only to end the lecture a good 35 minutes before its regular end after his departure. The exams that were written here were a joke. Some of the questions had nothing to do with the content of the lecture. It also happened with one question that the answer after the multiple choice question was already marked with an x, because she had apparently forgotten to thoroughly rework the answer sheet into a questionnaire. Another time, some uninteresting and for us almost prehistoric investment volume abroad was queried, which was once mentioned in a video lecture. Speaking of video lectures. Well-intentioned but poorly implemented were, in my opinion, the video lectures that were used too often. Instead of telling something herself, the lecturer also preferred to click through outdated country presentations, which in short videos told something about the core industries, economic indicators as well as politics and the population. Other video cassettes [sic!] Once showed important decision-makers in large global companies in interviews. If all of this had been 20-30 years more current, the motivation of the course participants would not have frozen near zero. A flop. It may sound bad what I’m writing here but i was really annoyed. For ~ 170 USD per lecture. I expected a lot more than that. I just hope that my two fellow students had better experiences in their majors.
After all, I had excellent experiences with Sales Force Management. The demands were high, the work demanding. Every week we had to Dr. Ted Haggblom submit the processing of a case study on a paper of no more than two pages, which followed about 25-page chapters. With his many years of professional and teaching experience and his relaxed, collegial manner, he made the incomprehensible course, which only five students attended, an interesting and very instructive experience. I really read and understood the whole textbook and also received very good reviews of my cases and exams. Good job, Dr. Haggblom!
Teaching material – The HPU bookstore
A few sentences about the books. The HPU maintains a bookstore where you can buy the books requested by the lecturer, new or used. Teaching material is very expensive. Proof of this, I received the answer: “If you want to earn really big money one day, then you can buy books for a lot of money!”. That’s the way it is in America. Nothing is free and the hand is held up everywhere. The easiest way to get hold of it is not by working on money, but by holding out your hand to others and, if necessary, taking advantage of them. Discovering this frightening and for me disconcerting character trait among many good ones, I would also like to warn against buying in the bookstore. I bought a used book there, trusting that the goods were in good condition. As it turned out later, the book was available from amazon for approx. 152 USD and new. The bookstore sold me the book used for US $ 142.30 and it was in really bad shape. It was not visible from the outside. Inside, however, there was hardly a line without a mark or note. I thought it was an ice cold and nasty rip-off, took a picture and gave it back on the grounds that “it is no longer needed”. The purchase price was refunded. The only stupid thing is that you have to work on the cases and that is not possible without a book. I sincerely hope it was an “unfortunate individual case”. Amazon (make sure to register with amazon STUDENT with your HPU address!), On the other hand, sells the paperback with identical content for around 40 USD. Delivery to the Hawaiian Islands takes about three weeks. Therefore, it is better to contact the lecturer beforehand,
Living & movement
The college is downtown, but life takes place in Waikiki. Most students also live in Waikiki, a vacation and party zone made up of 30,000 tourist beds. Getting around with your own car is hardly necessary. The most important shops can be reached by bus, the rest is done by taxis for not too much money. Tip: Buy the sticker for the bus in the bookstore right at the beginning of your studies (approx. 130 USD) and travel the whole semester without an additional ticket. It is worth it .. Every day delay costs cash. The more distant and sometimes breathtakingly beautiful beaches on the north coast can be reached by new friends in the car or by bus for 2.50 USD. You can also read something relaxed on the longer journey.
There are a few former Waikiki hotels that specialize in the students. Big attention !! Some are really not worth their money and some are not yet properly described with the term pure rip-off. $ 800 for a rancid room, bathroom and kitchen and share that with someone else? The rule rather than the exception. I would be happy to send you a contract. You really put on your ears.
I am not a friend of Facebook, but there is a new group here at the beginning of each semester (let the HPU invite you), in which accommodation is also sought and arranged. Craigslist.com also helps. Here, too, caution is advised. Take someone with you when you go to see something. Never buy a pig in a poke and read and understand contracts before signing them. The nicest and I think also the best living were those fellow students who got together on a private initiative and rented a normal apartment. As everywhere, the further out, the cheaper. Of course, transfer times must be observed here. I myself was so lucky to find the only house in Waikiki in passing and to discover it as a student residence. And then with a great location 15 minutes walk from the beach.
In my opinion, the semester stands and falls with the people you come into contact with. I was very lucky not to live with a German-speaking guest. To be able to speak English all the time, learn a little Finnish and a little Japanese was a really great thing. Living together was also very pleasant after a short period of getting used to it. But even if I didn’t fall into the student rip-off traps and didn’t move into one of the huge (800 beds) ex-hotels, my rental agreement also illegally leveraged some rental conditions (additional agreements). But that was still acceptable, as the rent for a shared room, kitchen, bathroom for Waikiki was unbeatable (around 600 USD monthly).
I myself always have a desire for adventure and the unforeseen and only have a strong sense of security in a few areas. With no idea where I will live, I landed in Waikiki. But to start with, there are two HI hostels (our youth hostels). The one in Waikiki (Prince Edward Street) is very noisy in the morning (from 0600), a bit more shabby but larger than the hostel located in the immediate vicinity of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. In the latter, you are woken up by the twittering of birds and not by rattling garbage trucks or jackhammers. While you live cheaper up here in Waikiki you may have more of a chance to get to know other people. During my visit, however, I was able to speak German with almost 30% of the guests. We are just a people who love to travel.
Hawai’i is just plain beautiful. Here there are constant temperatures between 21 and 30 degrees. In spring a little cooler at 21 to 25 degrees. But a lot of sunshine. The people are very friendly and the bus drivers willingly give you information when and where to get on or off. Political America is far away here. Even if President Obama grew up in Hawaii … if you don’t happen to meet someone interested in politics and start talking to him, you don’t get much of the economy, finance or politics. The people here are just very relaxed, which can upset a normal European at first, but later it is thoroughly relaxed. It works like this too.
Trips. The whole island is ideal for hikes and excursions. Many bays and beaches near Honolulu are beautiful, such as Honolua Bay, Makapu’u Bay. But Waimea Bay or Sunset Beach on the north coast is also a must-see on Oahu. For the Pearl Harbor Museum you can bring a few hours with you.
I was lucky enough to be able to visit some of the other islands. For example Maui during spring break, exactly the time when Waikiki is out of control. The sunrise on Haleakala (getting up at 0300) or the Road to Hana with Black Sand Beach and the nearby King’s Trail with the raging spring surf … great experiences. Kauai also impresses with its natural beauties, especially its “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and the inaccessible Napali Coast. If you like hiking, waterfalls or water sports: come here! Beautiful! An open-door helicopter flight over the island and to the waterfall where Jurassic Park was filmed is also worthwhile (open-door flight: Jack Harter Helicopters). Big Island is of course known for the volcano, which was very active again in the spring after a lavatube collapsed. Unfortunately, there is currently no more spectacular lava flowing into the sea, but you can see it shimmering in a cloud of steam when it is dark enough. Some of the few cultural legacies of the Polynesian peoples can also be admired here. The trip to Mauna Kea is something very special! Definitely stay until sunset !! On weekends or at the new moon, amateur astronomers set up their expensive telescopes at the visitor center and explain, tell and show … all for free. Some of the few cultural legacies of the Polynesian peoples can also be admired here. The trip to Mauna Kea is something very special! Definitely stay until sunset !! On weekends or at the new moon, amateur astronomers set up their expensive telescopes at the visitor center and explain, tell and show … all for free. Some of the few cultural legacies of the Polynesian peoples can also be admired here. The trip to Mauna Kea is something very special! Definitely stay until sunset !! On weekends or at the new moon, amateur astronomers set up their expensive telescopes at the visitor center and explain, tell and show … all for free.
I only got rental cars through the ADAC. German law, German conditions, fully comprehensive insurance. No advance payment in the event of accidents (otherwise the amount on the credit card is blocked!) Or deductibles and high coverage amounts. No interest in taking risks here. Everything went wonderfully by email 36 hours before the rental (note the time difference!).
Communication. On site to Telekom or Verizon or any other provider and buy a SIM card for your own tri- or quad-band mobile phone. Then you don’t have to work with their devices, which no longer work in Germany anyway …
There are still so many great places to report … If you are interested, I would be happy to go into more detail! Write an email or email xing!
So now to the finances. A bank confirmation with a credit balance of USD 15,230 must already be presented at the visa appointment so that the visa can be processed.
I list the largest and most important cost items here:
Costs Hawaii EUR USD
Rent 1,655.00 Tuition
fees 4,901.00 6,700.00
HPU Deposit & Application Fee 183.00 250.00
Visa fees 125.00
Service fees 146.00 200.00 Bus
ticket 93.00 127.00
International travel health insurance 273.00 Travel
accident and liability insurance 42.00 Passport
International driving license 15.00
membership 27.00 Living including books 2,341.00
It’s a good deal of money. This does not yet include travel expenses for the other Hawaiian islands. Big parties come extra too. Only those who are clever do proper bookkeeping and send the tax office a loss report in the year after their return. Just as the studies (master’s) are taken into account as anticipated business expenses! The costs for studying abroad also have a tax-reducing effect later on.
It’s worth every penny. It doesn’t matter where you go, because the people you get to know make up the majority of the experience. Not necessarily the place to go!
I am happy to answer any questions you may have in person or by email if you wish.