Study in Hawaii

Students will live, study, and play in one of the most beautiful and exciting places on earth. Hawaii is famous for its beauty and weather, but Honolulu is also one of America’s safest cities, and home to a remarkable diversity of cultures from all over the world. Learning opportunities are rich and varied.

Daily Life


There are a variety of housing options for students. Homestay (living with a local family) is a great way for students to learn about American family life, experience local culture and customs, and practice English in natural situations.

Students who wish to live independently can choose to stay in off-campus dorms that are within walking distance to HELP. Some students choose to rent an apartment in Waikiki, which is a 15-25 bus ride from the UH campus.

If you want to book housing through our program, please see our page on Housing and Accommodations.


TheBUS Bus

The city bus system (“TheBus”) will take you anywhere on the island of Oahu. You can purchase a HOLO card for $2.00, which is a smart card used to pay for bus fare. Single adult fare is $3.00 for one ride or $7.50 for a 1-day pass. You can also buy a monthly bus pass for $80 for unlimited rides each calendar month. You can buy the HOLO card at the UH Campus Center ID Office, as well as 7-11 convenience stores, and local grocerty stores such as Foodland. You can reload your card at a store or online at the HOLO Card website.

Students whose studies overlap with the regular UH semester may be eligible to purchase a UPASS. The UPASS is a special bus pass for students at a discounted cost. The UPASS is generally valid for the entire semester (approximately 4 months).

More information about TheBus.

Learning Opportunities on Oahu

HELP students have numerous opportunities to use English and improve their communication skills through once-in-lifetime activities on Oahu. Students can learn about the history and culture of Hawaiʻi, discover nature, meet people from various ethnic backgrounds, and experience the Hawaiian lifestyle. Every week, HELP faculty organize trips and extra-curricular activities for students, extending the learning experience to outside of the classroom. Students can also explore the island in their free time.

The University of Hawai’i at Manoa

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HELP students can interact daily with more than 1000 international students from over 100 countries at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). Students can join clubs such as the international student association, or participate in activities like movie nights, food tastings, and concerts. Students can also go to athletic events, art exhibits, and theater productions. The campus environment itself provides unique learning opportunities with buildings such as a Japanese tea garden and a Korean-palace inspired Center for Korean Studies, and more than 800 species of trees and plants.

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum is the largest museum in Hawaiʻi and specializes in the history, art, and culture of the Hawaiian people. Students can see the world’s largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts and immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture and history.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve where visitors can snorkel in a living coral reef and see a variety of fish and other marine life. There are about 400 species of fish in the bay and it is common to see sea turtles. Visitors are required to watch an orientation video about the bay before entering, and the law prohibits people from mistreating the coral reef and marine animals.

Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) is a theme park where students can experience Polynesia. PCC has 7 villages that represent different Polynesian cultures, and at night, the park offers the Aliʻi Luau where visitors can see a dance and fire show while experiencing a luau.

Hawaiʻi Capitol Historic District

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Downtown Honolulu is where the center of Hawaiʻi’s government has existed since the Hawaiian Kingdom ruled the islands. The area has many government buildings including Iolani Palace, the Hawaiʻi State Capitol, the famous King Kamehameha statue, Honolulu Hale (City Hall), Washington Place, and the Hawaiʻi State Library. The area is filled with historical and cultural significance. Students can learn much about Hawaiʻi’s history by taking a walking tour of the district.

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (U.S.S. Arizona Memorial)

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The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is a memorial of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Visitors can take a boat to the Arizona Memorial and learn about the U.S. and Hawaiʻi’s role in WWII at the Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center. Free walk up tickets are available daily for the Arizona Memorial and Visitor’s Center, and visitors can pay an admission fee to also visit the U.S.S. Bowfin Submarine and Pacific Aviation Museum.