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CISabroad participants CISabroad participants
Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    2

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Awesome but Overpriced

Overall my time on Oahu was amazing. The island is such a perfect paradise and both the housing and other program members exceeded my expectations. However, I paid over $5000 to work an unpaid internship and I while I knew what I was getting into from the start, it became evident that my money was mostly covering staff salaries. We talked to our housing management and it only would have cost a few thousand to be in our dorms for the whole summer and we were only there for 6 weeks. The two excursions that were included in the program cost about $30 a piece. So where did the money go?? Another critique is the preparation for the experience. I had no idea what to expect when I landed in Oahu, even my housing address changed at the last minute (although I can't complain because it definitely was an upgrade). I don't regret my experience because I made awesome friends and had so much fun in Hawaii, but I would not do it again. There are much better ways to spend $5000 (not including airfare, food, and personal expenses) and I wouldn't recommend the unpaid internship program, maybe take classes instead. So overall, no regrets but definitely some grievances.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    6

Fun time but lacking in other people

It was a fun experience though overall I wish their were more people that did it because I was the only one who was their for my session

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It was an unforgetable Summer Abroad in Hawaii.

I enjoyed this experience, it was a great way to see Hawaii's culture and make great new connections with people. The locals are so nice. Prepare to spend a lot of money- I got a job here as food and activities are costly. Overall it's a beautiful place with a lot to do. Stay busy and you will enjoy it.

Academics:
I thoroughly enjoyed my art class at Hawaii Pacific University. I would recommend this school to anyone as staff and professors are very helpful, and it is not an intimidating experience to come into a semester as a student from another school.

Living Situation:
I liked the Ohia, but there are some downsides to this place. Location is great, but it would be nice to have known that the rooms are completely empty when you move in and some expenses will be made to make living enjoyable in the rooms. Kitchennette is small but does the job.

Cultural Immersion:
Right in the heart of Waikiki, so you get the cultural immersion a tourist would get. You have to travel around the island to really see how Hawai'i really is.

Program Administration:
Katie Ahlman is very helpful, and the CIS staff will help you if you need it but otherwise you're on your own. Which can be a good thing, for me, I liked that. Very independent...No problem getting a job and doing your own thing which was a wonderful experience for me. Maybe others would like more structure though.

Health and Safety:
never felt threatened

Social Life:
always people to meet

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Hawaii, so far, is a fantastic cultural experience.

I have been here one week and have not been bored yet. My professor is great and we live In a perfect spot for adventures every day! It is very expensive though so being frugal is difficult.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Academics

    6

Intern in Hawaii

If it weren't for the amazing friends I made and the adventures we set up for ourselves, I would have been miserable abroad. The program is terrible, but we were able to make it fun. David found me one internship that didn't need me at all- I'd take the bus an hour each way and sit there bored alllll day.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    9

CIS Summer in Hawaii Review

Before I give my review, let me say that going to Hawaii for the summer was the best decision of my life. I loved every second of it there and am already planning ways to go back. I made lifelong friends from Hawaii and all over the world, went on the craziest adventures, and lived in paradise. With that being said, Hawaii is what you make it. Like I mentioned in some of my previous sections, there were downsides to my trip. I had bugs in my room and I personally thought that CIS could have done a better job in certain areas, particularly excursions. Also, Hawaii is EXPENSIVE (when I was there gas was about $4.25 on Oahu and a gallon of milk was about $4.50, and that was in the non-tourist part of town). Things are especially expensive since we lived in Waikiki, the tourist hub of the island. However, you'll learn where to go to get the most bang for your buck. Also, one of the downsides is that I had to take the bus everywhere. Hypothetically, you could get a car or moped (we rented a car a few times on the trip), but the bus is the most financially sound method of transportation. The bus was often really crowded and took forever to get anywhere (for instance, campus was only about 3 miles away but it took 45 minutes by bus to get there). The bus stops pretty much every other block which explains the long trips. However, it goes all over the island which is convenient. Download "The Bus" app and learn how to use it! Also, again Honolulu is a BIG city. There are thousands of people there and often I felt overcrowded walking to and from places. Waikiki beach was especially crowded. But, if you walk 10-15 minutes east or west, you will find a beach that isn't nearly as crowded and is just as beautiful (I would recommend Duke Kahanamoku Beach next to Fort DeRussey Beach park). Also, there are beautiful beaches all over the island worth checking out. I would try to see as many of them as possible. Whether it's Sandy Beach to the east, Waimea Bay to the North, Lanikai Beach to the Northeast, or Yokohama Bay to the west, every beach on Oahu is beautiful it it's own way. Obviously surfing, paddleboarding, and snorkeling are musts. Also, Oahu has some of the best hikes in the world. Hiking was personally my favorite part of the trip. Visit www.unrealhawaii.com and go on the hikes there, it's amazing. There is just so much to do on Oahu. Definitely see what downtown has to offer (such as the Hawaii State Art Museum, Chinatown, and Iolani Palace). I would also recommend playing beach volleyball at Fort DeRussey. You don't have to be good at all and you'll meet so many people including locals and college age kids from all over the world. Also, look out for various festivals and events such as Eat the Street, First Friday, Lovefest, and so on. Again, what I'm trying to say is Hawaii is what you make it. We had two girls in our group go back home less than two weeks after we arrived because "it wasn't what they expected." Just be open to the experience and you will have a blast. Be outgoing, make friends, see as much as the island as possible, and have fun. I was determined to make the most of my time in Hawaii, and I LOVED it.

Academics:
I took a nutrition class at HPU. The class was extremely eye-opening and interesting and the workload wasn't bad at all. I only had class twice a week so I had a lot of free time to explore Hawaii.

Living Situation:
We lived at the Ohia (2280 Kuhio Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815). The location of the Ohia was awesome. It was right in the middle of Honolulu's Waikiki area so there was always a lot going on. The building was also a 5 minute walk to the beach. In addition, the building is used solely for student housing, so you can make a LOT of friends just in the building alone. Surprisingly there were a lot of international students living there. I made friends from all over the world which was awesome. On the downside of the Ohia, the rooms are OK. They don't come with anything (bedding, sliverware, plates, etc.) upon arrival so you need to provide your own. Fortunately I was aware of this but my roommate was not. Next, the building has a no alcohol policy and as a 21-year-old that really stinks. The entire time I was there my oven didn't work and my stove didn't always work (there also is no microwave in the room), but I was able to use a friend's kitchen in another room when needed. Also, since it is a tropical location, there are bugs in the room. We had bugs in our cabinets the entire time despite repeated pesticide spraying and bug traps. It was annoying and gross but if you keep an open mind it really wasn't that bad. The RA's at the Ohia are also very helpful and friendly. They really do want you to have the best possible living situation and will do whatever they can to help you. All in all the Ohia is a pretty solid place to live despite a few minor setbacks. For me, I kept an open mind and was only in the room to eat, shower, and sleep and had a great experience.

Cultural Immersion:
Be forewarned, Honolulu is a BIG city. Most people think that Hawaii is nothing but beautiful beaches. However, Honolulu has interstates, buses, and all the amenities of a big city (think Chicago). With any big city there are places you should avoid at certain times of day and should always employ the "buddy system." There is also a pretty big homeless problem in Honolulu, and you have to be aware of it. With all of that said, you do feel like you are in a different culture there. You'll meet a bunch of locals, try local food (kailua pork, etc.), learn some Hawaiian, and see some of the most beautiful sights in the world. As long as you get out of Honolulu adequately, you will really appreciate Oahu and Hawaiian culture (even better if you can see the other islands). It is also worth mentioning that since Hawaii is part of the US (although there is a large Hawaiian independence movement you need to be aware of), you obviously have a lot of American influence. All of the typical restaurants (McDonalds, Starbucks, Subway, etc.) are all there. You won't have any trouble communicating and can use your cell phone from home.

Program Administration:
As a whole, I was really not impressed with the CIS administration. Once I was accepted into the Hawaii program, I had a lot of questions regarding the program, particularly the living arrangements. I sent multiple emails to my program coordinator about the housing and she tended to avoid the "hard" questions. For instance, after I had done a lot of deep digging, I learned that bugs were a problem in the rooms. I asked her about the issue along with a few other questions (how close was the place to the beach, etc.). She answered every other question I asked and completely ignored the question about the bugs. Similar issues continued until I actually arrived on site. Once I arrived in Hawaii, we were set up with our site coordinator. She was awesome and I am so glad I met her and I text her all the time. However, i felt our "excursions" could have been handled better. I thought CIS had a set list of excursions we could choose from to participate in. Once we arrived on site we learned that we had to make a list of what we hoped to do and then our site coordinator would submit them to CIS for approval. We soon learned that CIS was a lot more strict than I initially thought. Essentially, CIS is like an overprotective and wealthy grandparent. They will pay for stuff as long as they deem in "safe." Essentially the only thing them deemed "safe" were a luau and entrance fees to parks and museums. Scuba diving, dolphin diving, fishing, ziplining, skydiving, etc. were all considered "dangerous" and CIS wouldn't approve them. CIS wouldn't even help us with travel expenses to the other islands, We had to pay for our trip to the big island totally out of pocket which I thought was extremely misleading on CIS's part. You pay all this money to CIS so you can do "excursions" and they really don't help you too much with them. I may sound negative in this review but let me say that I had the time of my life in Hawaii.

Health and Safety:
Waikiki is safe, but downtown gets a bit dangerous. If you're a guy you're typically OK. As a girl I wouldn't walk anywhere by myself unless it was to the beach during the day. Also, thievery is a problem there. Whenever I walked around or went anywhere I would carry as little valuables as possible.

Social Life:
I made so many amazing friends in Hawaii. A bunch of the locals wanted me to stay and have offered me lodging for when I return!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Cultural Immersion

    N/A

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    9

Happiness in Hawaii

This was a great summer and an enjoyable trip. I took two classes and the workload was still manageable. For my first time ever taking summer classes, I would say it was pretty alright. I got to meet some amazing new people, explore the islands and culture of Hawaii on a deeper level- I've been here many times before because my dad lives here- and just really take advantage of a summer abroad. Even though we are still in America, there have been so many adventures, sights to see, people to meet, and things to do, that one trip doesn't seem enough. It's been a great experience and I'm glad I was able to attend.

Academics:
Fun and laid back

Living Situation:
Lived with family

Cultural Immersion:
Still in America

Program Administration:
Not as much communication- didn't get to do much with the program except for two or three excursions.

Health and Safety:
I lived at home with family, so feeling safe wasn't really an issue for me.

Social Life:
There are tons of people to meet, whether it be at school, through the program, or elsewhere- and Hawaii has some of the nicest people you'll ever meet.