The other side of paradise: Hilo, Hawaii Past Review

By (Marketing, University of Hawaii - Hilo) - abroad from 08/18/2015 to 12/11/2015 with

National Student Exchange: Honolulu - University of Hawaii, Hilo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I probably would have been much happier, more educated, safe, and not in debt by staying at my home university. This place is awful.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The education system in Hawaii is absolutely horrible. If you enjoy classes where you learn nothing - this school is for you! It's a commuter school that has lower tuition than UH Manoa - aka no one really wants to be here.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Hmm, let's see... last minute emails about events, barely got to know other NSE students.... all while the international students had fun events such as swimming with dolphins and zip lining, as well as a host family program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Thought living off campus would be fine, considering I live the same distance from campus at home as I would in Hilo. Oh, except Hilo is a ghetto town with creepy homeless people wandering around all over, so my 20 minute walk to class was usually in fear.

* Food:

Vegan options can be found everywhere. Local produce is good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Everyone is too hazed out on weed to even know what the heck is going on or hold a competent conversation.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Had an ear infection. Was referred to two clinics by the student health center, neither of which take out of state insurance and would have cost $125 just to see a doctor. Student health center told me they couldn't help me and I spent a month getting dizzy and having ear aches until I went home. Pray nothing goes wrong on this trip because you won't be covered medically.

* Safety:

Is is possible to rate this zero stars? This town is an absolute dump. Garbage everywhere, crazy homeless people, stalkers, underground drugs and crime.... people are constantly stopping me telling me to "be safe" walking around. Jesus. I feel like I'm living in a third world country.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Yes, don't come here.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Ed-Venture program
  • The diverse landscape of the big island
  • snorkeling
* What could be improved?
  • Do
  • Not
  • Come
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not to come, it's not worth the money or time