Study Abroad in Hawaii: Live your Hawaiian Dream in this Complete Guide

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study abroad in Hawaii

Do you wish to study abroad in a tropical paradise surrounded by stunning beaches, lush forests, and diverse cultures? If yes, then Hawaii might be the perfect destination for you. Apart from being a popular tourist spot, it’s also a great place to pursue your academic goals and explore your interests. This blog will tell you everything you need to know to study abroad in Hawaii. So, let’s dive into the Hawaiian dream and discover what awaits you!


Why Study Abroad in Hawaii?

Studying abroad in Hawaii can offer you many academic and personal benefits. Some of the reasons why you should consider studying in Hawaii are:

  1. You can access various educational opportunities and resources in Hawaii, find programs that suit your interests and goals and benefit from Hawaii’s research facilities and living laboratories.
  2. You can gain a competitive edge and global perspective by developing your linguistic skills, intercultural competence, and professional network and preparing yourself for the international market and future challenges.
  3. You can experience a safe and healthy lifestyle in Hawaii, which has a low crime rate, a high human development index, and a long life expectancy.
  4. You can also enjoy the warm climate, the friendly people, and the aloha spirit, which are conducive to your well-being and happiness.
  5. You can also take advantage of Hawaii’s many recreational activities and entertainment options, such as surfing, hiking, snorkelling, kayaking, golfing, shopping, dining, and more.

Also Read: How to Live Abroad as a Student

Top Universities and Study Abroad Programs in Hawaii

Hawaii has over 25 universities and colleges that offer various programs and courses for international students to study abroad Hawaii. Some of the most popular and prestigious ones are:

1. University of Hawaii

It’s Hawaii’s largest public university system, with 10 campuses across the islands. It has over 600 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. Some of the top-ranked programs are marine biology, astronomy, oceanography, Asian studies, Hawaiian studies, tropical agriculture and business administration.

2. Hawaii Pacific University 

It’s the largest private university in Hawaii, with two campuses in Honolulu and one on the island of Oahu. HPU offers over 50 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some popular programs are nursing, international relations, communication, psychology, and environmental science.

3. Brigham Young University-Hawaii

This is a private university affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), located on the island of Oahu. It offers over 30 degree programs at the undergraduate level. Some of the notable programs are accounting, hospitality management, and information systems.

4. Chaminade University of Honolulu

This is a private Catholic university located in Honolulu, offering over 20 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some of the distinguished programs are education and criminal justice.

5. University of Hawaii at Hilo

It offers over 40 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some unique programs are astronomy, Hawaiian and other indigenous languages and cultures, and Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science.

6. University of Hawaii-West Oahu 

This public university on the island of Oahu offers over 30 degree programs at the undergraduate level. Some specialised programs are applied mathematics, applied science, creative media, and public administration.

7. Kapiolani Community College 

This public community college in Honolulu offers over 50 degree and certificate programs at the associate level. Some vocational programs are culinary arts, health sciences, and legal studies.

8. Leeward Community College

Leeward is a public community college on the island of Oahu that has over 40 degree and certificate programs at the associate level. Some of the technical programs are automotive technology, information and computer science, integrated industrial technology, and television production.

Also Read: Top Universities in the USA

Study Abroad in Hawaii: Application Process

To apply to study at a university in Hawaii, you need to follow the specific application procedures and requirements of each university.

Top Scholarships for Study Abroad in Hawaii

Studying abroad in Hawaii can be expensive, but many scholarships and financial aid options are available for international students who want to reduce costs.

Many universities and colleges in Hawaii offer scholarships and financial aid for international students based on academic merit, financial need, diversity, leadership, etc. Some of the scholarships are:

University/College Scholarships Offered
University of Hawaiʻi at HiloUH Hilo International Student Scholarship
UH Hilo Dean’s Scholarships
UH Scholarships
University of Hawaiʻi at MānoaInternational Undergraduate Student Scholarship
June Chun Naughton ISS Scholarship
Spring Forward Scholarship
Dai Ho Chun Scholarship
Kenji Yamaguma Scholarship. 
University of Hawaiʻi at West OʻahuUH West Oʻahu International Student Scholarship 
UH West Oʻahu Chancellor’s Scholarship 
UH West Oʻahu Merit Scholarship3. 
University of Hawaiʻi
Maui College
UH Maui College International Student Scholarship
UH Maui College Chancellor’s Scholarship
UH Maui College Academic Achievement Award.
Hawaiʻi Pacific
HPU International Student Scholarship
HPU Presidential Scholarship
HPU Dean’s scholarships Aloha Scholarship
HPU International Student Housing Scholarship
Chaminade University of HonoluluChaminade International Student Scholarship
Chaminade Academic Merit Scholarship
Chaminade Catholic School Scholarship 
Chaminade Legacy Scholarship.
Brigham Young University–HawaiiBYU-Hawaii Academic Scholarship 
BYU-Hawaii Need-Based Scholarship
BYU-Hawaii Leadership Scholarship
BYU-Hawaii Service Scholarship.

You can check the websites of your chosen universities or colleges for more information and application procedures.

Also Read: 5 Fully Funded Scholarships for International Students 2023

Study Abroad in Hawaii Visa and Travel Requirements

As an international student who wants to study in Hawaii, you will need a valid passport and a student visa to enter and stay in the United States. The type of visa you need depends on your level and duration of study. The most common types are:

  • F-1 visa: It’s for academic students who want to pursue a degree or certificate program at a university or college in Hawaii. You will need an I-20 form from your chosen university or college to apply for this visa
  • J-1 visa: It’s for exchange students who want to participate in a short-term program at a university or college in Hawaii. You will need a DS-2019 form from your chosen university or college to apply for this visa

To apply for a student visa, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Online application: You will need to fill out and submit the online DS-160 form at the U.S. Department of State website.
  • Visa fee: You will need to pay the visa fee of $160 at a designated bank or online.
  • Interview appointment: You will need to schedule an interview appointment at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country
  • Interview preparation: You will need to prepare your documents (such as passport, I-20 form or DS-2019 form, acceptance letter, financial proof, academic records, etc.) and your answers (such as why you want to study in Hawaii, how you will fund your studies, what are your plans after graduation, etc.) for the visa interview.
  • Interview attendance: You will need to attend the interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate on the scheduled date and time
  • Visa issuance: If your visa is approved, you will receive your passport with the visa stamp within a few days.

Also Read: Can You Study in the USA with a B2 Visa?

Cost of Living and Studying in Hawaii

The cost of studying and living in Hawaii may vary depending on your chosen university or college, program or course, level or duration of study, and lifestyle preferences. However, some of the average costs are:

CostsAmount Depends on
Tuition$3,000 to $30,000 (INR 2.5 lakh – INR 24 lakh approx) per yearAttending a public or private university or college, and whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student.
Housing$500 to $2,000 (INR 40k – 1.5 lakh approx) per monthStaying on-campus or off-campus, and whether you are sharing a room or renting an apartment.
Food$300 to $600 (INR 24k – INR 50k approx) per
Cooking at home or eating out, and what kind of food you prefer
Transportation $50 to $200 (INR 4k – INR 17k approx) per monthThe usage of public transportation (such as buses or bikes) or private transportation (such as cars or taxis) for commuting to the college.
Insurance$100 to $300 (INR 8k -INR 24k approx)
per month
Coverage by your university or college health plan or by your own health plan.
Miscellaneous$200 to $500 (INR 17k – INR 40k approx)
per month
Personal expenses such as books, supplies, entertainment, travel, etc.

Career Prospects

Hawaii also has a thriving economy that offers many career prospects for students studying in Hawaii. Some major industries in Hawaii are: 

  • Tourism
  • Hospitality
  • Agriculture 
  • Renewable energy 
  • Defence, and 
  • Technology

Students can find internships, part-time jobs, or full-time employment in these sectors after graduation. Many employers in Hawaii value the skills and knowledge that international students bring to their organisations.

Source: Study with Me

Cultural and Social Aspects of Hawaii

The cultural and social aspects of studying in Hawaii are very important and interesting, as they reflect the diversity and richness of the islands and their people. Some of the aspects that you may encounter or experience are:


Hawaiian culture is based on aloha, which means love, compassion, kindness, and respect for all living things. It also values connection and harmony with nature, preserving and transmitting its traditions and heritage.


The native language of the Hawaiians belongs to the Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. It has unique phonology, grammar, vocabulary, and rich oral literature and is taught in some schools and universities in Hawaii, as well as in immersion programs and cultural centres.

Music and Dance

Hawaiian music is characterised by the use of instruments such as ukulele, guitar, slack-key guitar, steel guitar, and ipu (gourd drum). It also incorporates influences from other genres, such as reggae, rock, jazz, and pop. 

Hawaiian dance is mainly represented by hula, a graceful and rhythmic body movement accompanied by chants or songs. Hula tells stories and conveys emotions through gestures and symbols.


Hawaiian food and drink reflect the diverse influences and resources of the islands and their people. Hawaiian cuisine is based on staples such as:

  • Taro (a starchy root) 
  • Poi (a paste made from taro) 
  • Breadfruit (a tropical fruit) 
  • Sweet potato (a tuber)
  • Rice (a grain)
  • Fish (from the ocean or freshwater) 
  • Pork 
  • Chicken 
  • Beef (from cattle)
  • Fruits (such as pineapple, papaya, mango, banana, etc.). 

Cuisines of Hawaii also incorporate elements from other cuisines such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Portuguese, American, etc. Some of the popular dishes are:

  • Poke (raw fish salad) 
  • Laulau (meat or fish wrapped in taro leaves) 
  • Kalua pig (roasted pig)
  • Lomi salmon (salted salmon salad) 
  • Loco moco (rice topped with a hamburger patty, egg, and gravy) 
  • Spam musubi (rice and spam wrapped in seaweed)
  • Haupia (coconut pudding) 
  • Shave ice (flavoured ice shavings), etc.

Festivals and Events

Hawaiian festivals and events showcase Hawaii’s culture, history, and diversity through music, dance, food, art, crafts, games, sports, parades, ceremonies, etc. 

Some of the famous festivals and events are:

  • Aloha Festivals (a statewide celebration of Hawaiian culture)
  • Merrie Monarch Festival (a hula competition and exhibition) Kamehameha Day (commemoration of King Kamehameha I, who unified the islands)
  • Lei Day (a celebration of the floral garland or lei)
  • King Kamehameha Hula Competition (a hula contest honouring King Kamehameha V, who revived hula)
  • Honolulu Festival (a cultural exchange event featuring Asian and Pacific cultures)
  • Lantern Floating Hawaii (memorial service for the deceased using floating lanterns)
  • Hawaii International Film Festival (a showcase of films from Asia and the Pacific), etc.

Also Read: The Challenges of Studying Abroad and How to Overcome Them


Q1. Is Hawaii a good place to study abroad?

Ans. If you want to explore new horizons and immerse yourself in a different world, way of life, and culture, then Hawaii is ideal for you. The region is amazing in its variety and vitality in terms of culture and education.

Q2. What is the tuition fee to study abroad in Hawaii?

Ans. For undergraduate programs, the average tuition & fee at colleges offering study abroad programs in Hawaii in 2023 is $9,473 (for in-state students) and $17,484 (for out-of-state students).
For graduate programs, the average tuition & fee is $16,893 (for in-state students) and $26,867 (for out-of-state students)

Q3. Can international students work in Hawaii?

Ans. A work permit is not required for employment on campus. For employment off campus, work authorisation from International Student Services or USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is required.

We hope you got all the information related to pursuing education in Hawaii from this blog. If you want to know more about such destinations to study abroad, Follow Leverage Edu.

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