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Higher Education in Hawai'i

Hawaii state sealAmerica's 50th state is home to a wide array of educational institutions. Hawai'i offers college preparatory boarding schools, English language schools, community colleges, and comprehensive private and public universities with professional/graduate programs. Over 5600 international students enrolled in schools throughout Hawai'i in the 2007-08 academic year.

Institutions in Hawai'i are world leaders in a number of fields including tourism, international business, as well as natural, physical and biological sciences such as astronomy, agriculture, aquaculture, and marine sciences. Because of our mid-Pacific location, at the crossroads of East and West, we also offer a variety of area and language studies from the Asia-Pacific region.

Excellent institutions are found on each of the major islands in Hawaii. On Oahu, you will find the Research 1 University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, as well as four of the seven UH System community colleges and several excellent private 4 year universities such as Hawai'i Pacific University, and Chaminade University. The Big Island of Hawaii is home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo as well as Hawaii Community College. Maui claims Maui Community College, and Kauai is home to Kauai Commuity College.

About Hawai'i

Hawaiian hibiscusMark Twain described Hawai'i as "the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean". The Hawai'ian Islands are in the tropical center of the Pacific Rim and were formed by a series of volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Although there are over 100 islets in the chain, the group is comprised of eight major islands: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui and Hawai'i (also called the "Big Island.")

The People

Hawai'i was originally settled between the 3rd and 7th centuries AD by adventurous Polynesian voyagers from the South Pacific, and was brought into contact with the wider world by the British Captain James Cook in 1778. Today, Hawai'i is a melting pot of people from all over the globe, producing a multicultural society in a beautiful natural environment conducive to learning.

Hawai'i is unique in the United States as there is no one ethnic group in the majority. Indeed, in addition to the abounding natural beauty, what really makes Hawai'i so special is its diverse population comprised of Native Hawai'ians, Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, and many others. Over the years, the state has become a model for many different races peacefully existing side by side. This diversity helps students quickly feel welcomed and comfortable in their new island home.

Hawai'i became the 50th state of the U.S. on August 21, 1959. These islands are now home to 1.3 million people, 80% of whom live on the island of Oahu. Seven million visitors from around the world come to Hawai'i every year to enjoy the tropical beauty and diverse cultures of the islands known as the Aloha State. Hawai'i consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in the U.S. to live, with excellent medical care and a climate and natural surroundings that encourage a healthful outdoor lifestyle.

The Climate and Activities

Hawai'i 's weather is very consistent, with only slight temperature changes throughout the year. It is the perfect place for outdoor activities with an average daily temperature of 78°- 85°F / 24°-29°C year round.

People enjoy outdoor activities during all seasons. Water sports such as surfing, body boarding, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing are among the most popular activities. Other sports and activities such as volleyball, tennis, hiking, golfing, running, biking, hang-gliding, skydiving, gliding, sailing and boating, and horseback riding may be enjoyed year round.


The capital, Honolulu, is a vibrant multicultural city of 900,000, located on the island of Oahu.

  • Honolulu is the 13th largest metropolitan area in the United States and is rated as the safest large city in the U.S.
  • It was recently named one of "The World's Top 10 Most Livable Cities for 2007" by the International Herald Tribune.
  • The Center for Digital Governments' 2007 Digital Cities survey rated Honolulu eighth in the nation in the category of "American cities that excel in the digital arena."
  • SustainLane rated Honolulu's air quality as the best of any city in the U.S. and chose Honolulu as one of the top 15 most livable cities in the United States.
  • Honolulu's transit system, simply called "The Bus," has won first place several times for best metropolitan bus system in the nation.

Life in Oahu

Oahu is known as "The Gathering Place" and has long been the locus of population, education, government, and commerce, so cosmopolitan Honolulu abounds with fascinating places to go and exciting things to do. Oahu's sandy beaches and legendary spots such as Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Kaneohe Bay and the North Shore make it an outdoor paradise.

After the sun sets, there is much to do, as the astounding variety of restaurants featuring cuisine blended from around the globe, known as fusion cuisine, that is sure to please any palate. There are also abundant entertainment and cultural activities to satisfy the most discriminating consumer.

In addition to many opportunities to enjoy the ethnic riches of the host Hawai'ian culture through chant and hula, there are celebrations throughout the year that highlight the many contributing cultures to the unique Hawai'ian milieu—Chinese New Year Celebration, Japanese Bon Dance Season, Waikiki Hoolaulea, Festa Portugues, Pan-Pacific Cultural Festival, Hawai'i Dragon Boat Festival, King Kamehameha Day Celebration, Aloha Week Festivals, Cherry Blossom Festival, Narcissus Festival, and others provide opportunities to experience the distinctive multicultural diversity of Hawai'i .

Moreover, the Honolulu Symphony, the Hawai'i Opera Theater, various dance companies, pop/rock shows and visiting and local stage shows and theater productions perform throughout the year, and world-recognized museums such as the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the Contemporary Museum house unique collections.

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