Testimonials from International Students

From Hawaii Pacific University




HPU website.


Amanda, Malaysia

Amanda Eng

I am a graduate of the undergraduate business program at HPU and am currently enrolled in the MBA program. The program I did while in Malaysia was a training program and I knew that I wanted to transfer to a school in the United States. I met Bernard Chong at a University fair; he was a great help and was very knowledgeable.

I ended up choosing HPU because of the helpful International Center staff and also because of HPU’s beautiful location in Hawaii.What I like most is the multiculturalism at HPU.I have never met so many people from different places; now, I have friends from all over the world. I used to speak four languages, but now I have picked up even more languages from the new friends that I’ve made here!

HPU even has Intercultural Day, which gives us a chance to share our home country and culture with others through traditional games, displays and performances. There are so many ways to get involved. I even had the opportunity to serve as the president of the Malaysian Student Association. Through this organization we established relationships with the Malaysian Embassy and even met the Prime Minister. In addition, the staff and advisors are so helpful and friendly; International students are treated fairly and equally at HPU.

Natascha, Brazil

Natascha Ometto
Florianopolis, Brazil
General Business

I found out about HPU because a good friend of mine was already studying here.  She convinced me to come by telling me that HPU is a really good school and that I would be able to find a better job after graduation.

I first came to HPU in September 2007 to improve my English in the EFP program (English Foundations Program) and now I’m studying in the General Business program.  The professors in my program prepare students for the future and teach you what is happening right now.

Classes such as Human Resources Management and Introduction to Business gave me a good background for my internship and for the future.One of the best things about HPU is the Career Services Center, which I find is very useful.  They assist students with getting internships and finding business contacts.

They also set up meetings with well-known companies who need new employees so I could meet with business people face-to-face.  I got an internship at Sheraton Waikiki as the Front Office Manager, which was a good experience for me because Hawaii has the best travel industry in the world.I also really like the environment at HPU.   There are people from so many places with different perspectives.  I even had a chance to study abroad after learning about it during a presentation in class.  HPU students can go to so many places all over the world to learn a language!

I went to Seville, Spain to take history and language classes and I was able to use my scholarship to help pay for it.  It was a great experience because Spain was a completely different environment compared to Hawaii and I was able to learn other points of view on subjects that I had learned at HPU. 

Mathieu, France

Mathieu Milani
B.A. in Environmental Studies Transfer Student

I first heard about HPU because it has a partnership with my former university in France.  I also met Stefanie Demin while in France and she was so friendly, helpful and willing to answer all of my questions. There were many universities to choose from for my major but I chose to come to HPU because it was the best choice for me.  This is my first time studying abroad for a lengthy period of time and I chose HPU because of its great reputation, environment and for the way that the Environmental Studies program allows students to study a mix of both science and business.  Once I arrived in Hawaii in January 2010, I was pleasantly surprised by the nice, warm welcome that I received from everyone at HPU.   I am glad to be a student at one of the most international universities in the world.

Before I arrived at HPU, I didn’t realize that the downtown campus would be in a busy business district.  The way that the campus is undefined allows students mingle with business people, which is very unique.   On the Windward Hawaii Loa campus, students are able to be closer to nature and the beautiful scenery; I also like to take advantage of the great infrastructure that is in place such as the soccer fields.  Of course, there is also the great weather, ocean and surf, which are also things that I enjoy about being in Hawaii.

I have also been impressed by the technology at HPU such as the computer systems, projectors etc., which make learning easier and more interactive.  Additionally, I find that the teachers are very friendly, open, innovative and communicative at HPU.  For example, if I have a question, I can call or e-mail my professor directly and get a quick response from them.  Some professors even give out their personal cell phone numbers!  Even though a hierarchy between the teachers and the students is still maintained, I still feel encouraged to discuss different topics and try out different ideas in the classroom.  Furthermore, my classes at HPU have not only allowed me to meet people from different cultures and see others’ point of view, they also have opened my mind about how things are done in the United States.

I also feel that my education at HPU will prepare me well for the future.  Here, I am able to get the qualifications that will be desirable when I enter the working world.  Because my program is a mix of science and business, I am able to understand both fields well and I am even able to get a double Bachelor’s Degree.  Currently, I have been able to work on-campus in the LAC and the Communication Video Lab and I will have further opportunities to do research and an internship before graduation, which will give me even more valuable work experience in the United States

Masaru, Japan

Masaru Moromisato
BA in International Relations

I found out about HPU when I was attending a community college in Seattle, Washington. I was looking for a university that would provide cultural experience, small size classes, and lots of nature. HPU was exactly what I was looking for.

Multiculturalism at HPU is so remarkable that you could not ever imagine interacting with so many people from different countries at other universities. Being Japanese born in Peru, I see myself quite culturally open minded. My family and I moved to Tokyo, Japan when I was 4 and I was raised there since then. However, since my parents were also born in Peru, the unique background unconsciously helped me build a flexible mindset. HPU still impresses me every day with its diversity: By going to classroom or simply walking on campus. The number of European students is significant, thus allowing me to learn more about new different perspectives without paying for an air ticket to Europe or any other places where I have never been yet.

Maximum class size of 25 students is rare and that attracted me the most when I first heard about HPU. I even had a class where there were only 7 students. This kind of class setting encourages students to participate in discussions and also allows students to more willingly interact with their instructor as they seem to be more approachable. The professors at HPU are truly experienced, and very enthusiastic to support you with as much help as they can provide to you; and you can even have long lasting friendships with your instructors.

Having the Hawaii Loa Campus surrounded by mountains is entertaining and relaxing at the same time. Hawaii is definitely one of the best places to go hiking, which can give you a magnificent scenery on the apex. HPU Downtown Campus is located about 10 minutes by bike from the beautiful beachs and less than an hour by bus from the numerous hiking trails in all directons. I personally have interest in the field of environmental protection and living in Hawaii always makes me realize keenly how precious our nature is. What I like about Hawaii the most though is how friendly and nature-loving people are here. I spent time deciding to which university to transfer, but HPU was the right choice and definitely is the University that I would like to recommend to others too.


Eirik, Norway

Eirik, Norway
MA in Communication

Before I came to HPU, I already had some international experience: For example; my first encounter with American culture as an exchange student in North Carolina back in 1998, also, a semester on a small East Coast college in the early millennium after I had to return to serve a mandatory year in the army. I  spent the last two years prior to HPU in Copenhagen, Denmark, completing my bachelor of education that I began at the most northern university in the world, the University of Tromsø, Norway.

Later, I realized that I needed a dramatic change in my life, climate-wise as much as a need to go where I hadn’t gone before.
I met Lilian Hallstrom at a fair in Denmark. The graduate program in Communication at HPU sounded appealing to me. Additionally, the Hawai’i location and the English language played a crucial role in my decision to come to HPU.

So, I came to Hawaii in Fall 2008 as a graduate student. I decided to study communication in its broad aspect as it’s such a multifaceted field that studying the bigger picture of communication would give me much more fundamental knowledge and tools necessary for my career in media-related fields. In the new work force we need to be able to multitask.

What I really like about HPU is that it really makes me feel like a Cosmopolitan Earthling. From students of different cultures here at HPU I learn that, we are one people on one planet, who need to respect one another and make our world a better place.

For this same reason, I recently took a summer program at HPU and traveled to South Africa to work on a global documentary. We were six people from different fields of communication from HPU that came together in Pretoria, South Africa, to shoot a dynamic documentary. Our preconceptions about this country vaporized an a whole new paradigm was created. “. Our team “HPU- Africa” will continue to edit and produce positive message about this beautiful country.

Class sizes at HPU are relatively small and students can get more attention from their teachers, and even develop long lasting friendships with them.  Thus, my advice to all students at HPU would be to spend their time wisely: Create a global network of friends, explore Hawaii “the last frontier” for its culture and now mixed plate ethnic background, the growing art venues in Chinatown, and all the out door activities this magical island group has to offer.

Currently I am exploring the Beatniks influence in literature and film and hope after finishing school, to move to San Francisco where I plan to start writing a short novel book band on global experience. I don’t only want to embrace bohemia but also cheat King Winter a while longer.

felliphe, Brazil

Felliphe Castro
Sao Paulo, Brazil
BA in International Business

It has always been my dream to come to Hawaii.  When I was deciding to come to HPU, I spoke to Gui Albieri from the International Center because he is also from Brazil.  He was very friendly and helpful when he explained what it would be like to come to HPU and Hawaii.  I began studying here in September 2007 in the EFP program (English Foundation Program) and now I’m in the International Business program.

I like the atmosphere at HPU because it’s unique from most colleges.  Here, you can meet people from all over the world and HPU’s location in the middle of Honolulu’s downtown business district allows students to interact with business people.

There are also many good resources on campus for HPU students.  The Career Center is helpful and the advisors there tell you everything you need to know in order to get a great internship.  Their HPU Connect website is very useful for finding businesses that are looking for interns.  I even landed an internship at Turtle Bay Resort in the Special Events Department.  The Tutoring Center is another great resource at HPU.  It is a good place to go when you have a paper due because they can help to correct it and check for grammar mistakes.  The tutors there are always very helpful and friendly.

I have learned many things since coming to HPU.  I have to be really organized and on-time to get good grades, which has made me more responsible.  The professors here are very knowledgeable and they have prepared me for my internships and for the future.  My Human Resource Management class prepared me for job interviews and how to create a resume that will make me stand out.  I have also learned many things in my Computer Science classes that will be useful in many business situations

Yasemin, Germany

Yasemin Karabudak
BA in International Relations

Aloha! I am Yasemin Karabudak, an international student from Germany. Trusting my heart in decision making delighted my life with great experiences. Based on my experiences in the United States as an exchange student in 2006/07 I decided to study International Relations at Hawai’i Pacific University.

I started my studies at HPU in fall 2009 and I feel like it has been one of the best decisions. Besides interacting with outstanding professors and the diverse student body in an excellent in-class atmosphere, I also took the initiative to get involved with the various student organizations HPU has to offer. One of them is the United Nations Club; I joined because it is my ambition to become an internationally engaged diplomat. After researching about Slovenia, getting acquainted with the works of UNICEF, developing public speaking skills and fundraising, a team of 11 dedicated students and I went to the National Model United Nations Conference in New York to take part in the simulations of the sessions of the UN’s committees. It was a tremendous learning experience for me and to follow up with what I was exposed to during the conference, I also got the opportunity to go to Cambodia to study and do volunteer work for a NGO that cares about orphans. Additionally, I held various leadership positions in the German Speaking Student Association and Student Government since freshman year, organizing events and working on issues that deal with student concerns and complaints. My deep appreciation for HPU also stems from working on campus as Office Assistant at the Faculty Support Center which gives me the chance to interact with Faculty and Staff of HPU on a daily basis.

My multicultural background and open-minded personality make it easy for me to be approachable and interested to other cultures and languages. HPU is the perfect place for me to develop my passions and further my understanding of International Relations. Mahalo HPU!

Valdete, Sweden

Valdete Sylaj
BA in Advertising

I came to HPU in Fall 2009.  I first became interested in coming to HPU after meeting Lilian Hallstrom, in Sweden at a seminar where she spoke about HPU and Hawaii.  I also met two other Swedish students who had gone to HPU and had great things to say about the school.

The best thing about HPU is the small class sizes, which I love.  The teachers are very good and open to listening to students’ ideas.   Additionally, they are very understanding and encourage many interesting class discussions.  Most universities don’t offer this kind of relaxed environment where discussions are possible.  For example, I went to a university back home for one year and there were 200 people in each class!  I feel that I am learning more here at HPU.

I also like that most of the professors teach you to think for yourself and to be critical.  They encourage you to bend things your own way while making you feel secure in pursuing what you want in the future.  I am encouraged to be creative and feel comfortable in expressing myself here.

That many student worker positions available on campus is another aspect of HPU that I like.  These positions allow students to work within the school to earn some extra money and gain work experience in the United States.  These positions are also very flexible with my class schedule.

Quynh, Vietnam

Quynh Dao
BA in
 International Business

I have been studying at HPU since Spring 2009.  I found out about HPU when I was studying at St. Joseph High School in Hilo, on the Big Island, as an exchange student from Vietnam.  My high school counselor told me about HPU so I decided to visit the campus.  During my many visits, I felt welcomed and liked the fun, internationally-oriented environment.  I chose to go here because it is a private institution and I knew that it would be a good place to study International Business.

One thing that I really like about HPU is how small the classes are so I have a good chance to have personal interaction with both my peers and professors.  The small class sizes also help me feel less intimidated and more comfortable when speaking in front of other people.  I also like that there are a lot of international students here at HPU and I get to learn about different cultures through my classes and various events on campus such as Intercultural Day, the Holiday Bazaar and extracurricular clubs.  Even by just walking around the downtown campus, you’ll be surrounded by students from many different countries, which is an experience that only HPU can offer. At HPU, I’ve made a lot of friends—both local and foreign. I have learned so much from them about different cultures, experiences and languages.

Another thing that I like about HPU is that it’s easy to be involved in many activities, clubs and to participate in events.  I’m in Spirit Club so I get to cheer at a lot of games and it makes me feel like I’m a part of the school community.  I also volunteer at different events on campus and work part-time at the International Center, which gives me an “insider’s perspective” on what’s going on at HPU.  When you’re actively involved it helps you as a person to be a more outgoing and communicate well with others in order to make new friends and networking connections.

Of course Hawaii’s weather, and HPU’s location is great.  Hawaii is one of the cleanest and safest places in the world. It is almost always sunny here and there are many beaches were you can go to relax and hang out with friends.

Aleksandra Stankovic, Sweden

Aleksandra Stankovic
Stockholm, Sweden
BA in Advertising

I found out about Hawai`i Pacific University through www.collegetennisonline.combecause I was looking to transfer from another university in the United States.  I play tennis, so I was looking for a school that had a strong tennis program on the west coast.  While applying to different schools in California, I figured that I could apply to HPU as well; however, I never thought that I would end up here.  I talked to the tennis coach here and he offered me to an opportunity to come play for his team, so I said why not—it’s Hawai`i!  Hawai`i has always been a place that I wanted to visit, so when I was offered a position on the tennis team at HPU, I was thrilled.  I began my studies here in Fall 2008.

So far, one thing that I really like about HPU is that the people are so friendly and helpful.  All of the faculty members are always looking out for the students and it feels like the staff and students are truly a small community.  Students get to have really good relationships with the professors because of the small class sizes, and you meet a lot of new friends from all parts of the world in the classes.  I enjoy meeting new people from all over the world and the cultural diversity at the school is definitely one of the unique features of HPU.  Additionally, I like the fact that I can play the sport that I love while getting a great education.  I’m very proud of being a student-athlete here and I love to represent HPU on the tennis court.

Also, because of the multiculturalism on campus and also the education that I am getting at HPU, I have learned a lot about different world cultures and this has made me a world citizen.  HPU focuses a lot on group work so I have learned to cooperate with people from all over the world, which is something that I will bring with me when I’m done with my studies.  I think that this is very important in today’s society since it is becoming more and more diverse.  I’m majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and I’m very thankful for the professors who have prepared me to work and succeed in that field.  When I graduate from HPU, I know that I will be able to achieve my future goals and get the job that I’m dreaming of!


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