While you may think of Hawaii as a vacation destination for lazing on the beach, learning how to surf, or hiking through tropical forests, it’s also a prime spot for you to choose from any of the internships in Honolulu! After all, why not combine a bit of leisure with a professional learning opportunity? Whether you’re studying fish habitats in Hanauma Bay or learning how to hula, interning in Honolulu, Hawaii, gives you a chance to gain work experience in your field while also learning about the unique culture of the United States’ most remote metropolis.
Popular Internships in Honolulu
While you may not associate skyscrapers with tropical beaches, Honolulu has both, lending itself well to internship opportunities across all types of work. Often considered a crossroads between the United States and Asia, the city has become a successful business hub and is home to multinational companies and local organizations alike. The best part? After a hard day at the office, you can easily head out for a quick surf session or hit up Chinatown for some dim sum with friends.
Short-term and summer internships vs. long-term internships. Internships in Honolulu can be just a few short weeks or last an entire year, depending on your schedule and the company’s needs. While a short-term internship can certainly be beneficial, consider a longer program as well. This will give you time to get to know your company’s workplace culture, make some local friends, and feel at home on the island of Oahu.
Popular fields of work. Hawaii is a nature lover’s paradise, and many internships are centered around the natural sciences. Those studying ecology and environmental studies will have plenty of opportunities to choose from, as will zoology and marine science majors. The island’s location as a major trade hub makes it a good spot for business students to get experience, and with all the tourism the island generates, hospitality internships are also plentiful.
Paid vs. unpaid internships in Honolulu. Many internships in Honolulu are paid, while others offer other benefits such as discounted or free housing. You’ll need to check in with your internship provider for specifics, but keep in mind that the cost of living in Honolulu isn’t cheap (neither is the plane ticket to get there!) so it’s best to arrive with some savings to get you started.
Life in Honolulu for Interns
While life can’t always be rainbows and sunshine, interning in Honolulu is sure to provide plenty of both. In addition to gorgeous weather on the regular, Hawaiian locals are known to be friendly and laid-back, and it won’t be long before your friends consider you ohana (family).
Living on an island certainly comes with tradeoffs, and in Honolulu’s case, they come in the form of cost and space. The cost of living in Hawaii is fairly high, which makes sense when you consider that most goods have literally crossed an ocean to reach you. While some internships in Honolulu are paid, come prepared with extra cash if you plan on doing a lot of shopping and eating out.
Island life also means that space is at a premium, and rent can be higher than you’d expect. Some internship programs include housing (often in a shared apartment or guest house with other interns), so be sure to verify before hopping on the plane. If your program doesn’t assist with housing, finding a local roommate is a great way to cut down costs and gain insight into the Hawaiian culture.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Even though Hawaii is technically part of the United States, life in Honolulu is decidedly different than elsewhere on the mainland. Take advantage of this distinct culture and learn something new when you get a break from the office. Pick up a ukulele, sign up for surfing lessons, or learn about the island’s history at the ‘Iolani Palace and the Bishop Museum. Honolulu’s location also attracts residents from nearby Pacific Islands and Asia, giving you the perfect opportunity learn about many different cultures.
Interning in Honolulu also offers an enticing mix of urban and outdoor activities, and you’ll find hiking trails not far from trendy nightclubs. Most Hawaiians enjoy life outside, and you’ll be able to follow suit, from swimming and hiking to mountain biking and scuba diving. If you get bored exploring Oahu (and that’s highly unlikely), Hawaii’s other islands are just a short flight away and perfect for a weekend getaway.
Whether you’re getting professional street cred while interning for a major healthcare company or gaining valuable agricultural experience at an organic farm, choosing from any of these internships in Honolulu are a great way to further your career goals. You’ll also discover why everyone who lives in Hawaii is so happy, and you just might start scheming for ways to extend your stay in the Big Pineapple.
For more information on life in the Aloha state, don’t forget to read our comprehensive guide on interning abroad in Hawaii.