I received an email from a girl I’ll call, “Lorie”. She is a college student now and living on the mainland. She was thinking about going to live in Hawaii for college. She realizes it will be tough – but thought she would tough it out.

Can a college student from the mainland USA go to Hawaii for college?

Here’s my email response to her below…


Hi Lorie,

Ha! Right, what family WOULD be supportive of their little girl moving 3000 miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to live on an island? Not me… lol.

As a college student in Hawaii you’ll need to live on very little cash. Can you eat ramen noodles a lot? The big problem in Hawaii – going to college, is that you’ll pay out of state tuition… and that things in Waikiki are very expensive. Simple things like food & drink.

In 2017 you can find a room in Hawaii craigslist for about $900 if you want to share someone’s house. This will be about as small as a dorm room. One time I found a room under the stairs of someone’s house for rent! No kidding. It was the weirdest setup for a living space that I’d ever seen – and they wanted $500 for it! It was actually near University of Hawaii Manoa. Great location just 1/2 block from the campus, but, come on! Who wants to live in Hawaii under a stairway? I’d almost rather live under an Oahu expressway bridge – you know?

If you move to Oahu – you should get a job… babysitting, whatever you can. The extra money really helps. It might not even be extra – but, needed! Hawaii state employment office is a BIG help for jobs. Their jobs are not in the newspaper or most places online. It is easy (fast) to get jobs through them too. I found a job paying 60K in 3 days after going there. “Marketing Manager” for a large resort on Maui.

I’m excited for you to make this work. I wish I would have stayed on Oahu after leaving the Air Force. There was no reason to leave, but we chased a dream for my then wife.

Hawaii is super expensive… the people are very cool at the college level. I think you will love the atmosphere… If you can pull this off – it will be the best thing you’ve ever done… and you’ll remember it forever. VERY few people have the guts to try to move from the mainland to Hawaii – and as a college student that doesn’t know people there – and hasn’t been there?? Very few.

You’ll find it safe as a college student… and, unless you’re into drugs, or getting smashed on alcohol, you’ll probably be fine. I have so many articles on moving to and living in Hawaii – you should read them all, I think you’ll have a much better mental image of what living in the Hawaiian islands is like.