The University of Hawaii - Hilo
The University of Hawaii - Hilo - Comments and Student Experiences|
People here love to complain. The usual complaints are that there is nothing to do, and that it's boring. On that point, they are bored because they don't follow this point. Life is what you make of it.
The island of Hawai'i is not big by mainland standards, and you can travel all the way around it. Hilo itself doesn't have a lot of perfect beaches and sunshine. It's a tropical rain forest, with black sand. Hilo is a town more than a city, without a lot of places open very late and without a huge party scene. However I have news for you, if your primary concern is the party scene, you probably shouldn't be shelling out thousands of dollars for school.
The campus itself is a bit old, and you can easily tell where the university expanded. However everything is functional, and while not a lot is pretty, it's in decent repair. The new Science and Technology Building is the best one on campus, which reflects a general trend. The sciences are top of the totem pole here. Marine Science and Astronomy are the best majors, largely because this is an island, and on Mauna Kea are the biggest telescopes on Earth.
If you feel like having some activities, the University runs special outdoor trips every weekend for students. If your social needs are a little more placid, then head down to the benches and chat with other people.
When people are disappointed here, as many are, I think their problem usually is expectations. They either expected to be put smack dab into an episode of Hawaii Five-O, or they thought it was going to be some kind of serious academic powerhouse.
Hilo isn't like that. Manoa is the big trophy for that sort of thing. Hilo is real. Most of the people you'll meet in classes are either students coming in from community colleges, foreign exchange students, or locals getting continuing education.
The population here is very, very diverse in a Hawaiian way. Tongans, Samoans, Hawaiians, Maori, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino. It's a cross-section of the pacific, but if you think diversity here means black and hispanic, you would be very mistaken, as they are sadly underrepresented.
One other thing before you attend. If you're from the mainland and haven't been here before, please learn what you are getting into. This isn't just another state, like Delaware or Idaho. This was a foreign country. Hawaiian is a race. There are plenty of people here who live very real lives in poverty, and the last thing they want is a white guy coming in and slamming where they live. Please remember you are a guest.
If you can do that, and come to learn, to be respectful, you will find this is a great atmosphere.
My last school was an East Coast elite place. Everyone wore designer everything, and if you didn't have your absurdly priced polo you were ignored as a nobody. Here, you wear sandals and a t-shirt, or you go barefoot. Nobody cares what brand you're wearing. People are very accepting and relaxed here, and you'll appreciate it once you slow down and learn to get along.
In my three semesters here so far, I've butted heads with exactly one person. He was from the mainland. Don't be that guy.
Now as to academics, it's not a really elite place save for astronomy and marine science. Some people probably complain about awful professors, and my sad news for them is this. Almost everywhere you go, the professors of tedious 101 classes will have virtually no talent and assign wastes of your time. You have to move beyond that and get into the good stuff, and community college does just that.
However, there are two 'hidden' stars here. I'm in the history department, and while we don't have a huge department, the faculty we do have are absolutely top-notch, with small classes that enable very close cooperation. The other big success is an education program here that yields teaching credentials in the state.
So go ahead and carefully evaluate just what you want before coming here. Authentic local culture yes, Hawaii Five-O episode no. Harvard with palm trees no, a small school in a low stress environment, yes.
Coming from a large home school, i found UH Hilo's size(about 4000-5000 students) very helpful in terms of studying and making friendships. The student and teachers are very friendly. The locals are friendly as well and ready to help out as long as you are not too obnoxious and show some sign of respect for their land, and once they get to know you they become extremely nice.
Coming from a fast-paced New-England i found the calm environment at Hilo more stimulating towards my studying.The class sizes are small enough in order for the teacher to know your name and be able to track your progress. Most of the teachers that i had in the business program as well as other classes were accessible and helpful in case you need anything.
One of the best features of the school is their "Outdoor Edventures" program. If you are an outdoorsy person and like exploring new things,you are absolutely gonna love it. Every weekend they take out students on different adventures around the island, like kayaking, going to the beach, historical sites, volcano, summit and much more, for absolutely free!! This program definitely made a big impact on the overall feel of the school.
As for nightlife, you won't find much of that in Hilo. There's only one club close to campus and so far it didn't have the best reviews, otherwise there are better ones on Kona side if u know how to get there.Sometimes there are student parties here and there that one can look forward too. Mostly at night you can go to the bars downtown, or call a bunch of friends and make your own party, have a night swim or go stargazing. If you have a car, you definitely wont be bored on fri-sat nights.
There are also buses that run through campus and around the island for only $1 or free with an ID, yet those don't always follow the schedule. And they have $2 taxi rides!
The only negative thing i can say about the school is on-campus housing. the wireless connection is pretty bad at places, but u can always get an internet cord. Kauanoe dorm rooms are extremely small, Kehau is much better. Campus food is ok, yet better have your own kitchen, thus Ikena would be best choice for on-campus housing. University palms are ok, but i heard of ppl having problems with landlord and same picture with bad wifi and not so clean.Overall, UHH might not be for someone who loves to party crazy and be on a fast-pace all the time, those might find that place a bit boring. Yet if you are somebody who loves nature(island has 13 different ecosystems), loves exploring and relaxing every now so often, this would be the best choice to go. Don't know about other areas but they have a pretty good business school and i learned a lot in those classes.