International Student Services & Intercultural Education

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International Education

The University of Hawaiʻi: A Global University

The International Student Services & Intercultural Education (ISS & IE) program has two primary missions. The first is to assist international students with clarifying and attaining their academic and personal goals while complying with the regulations pertaining to their immigration status. ISS & IE serves as an interface between UH Hilo and international students in order to facilitate communication, understanding and appreciation between them. The second mission is to facilitate and assist all students at UH Hilo, regardless of national origin, with developing intercultural competence. Ultimately, the goals of international education are to advance learning and scholarship and to increase intercultural awareness, understanding and competency in our increasingly global community.

Information about applying for admission to UH Hilo can be found on the Admissions website.

Check out Study Guide to the States for an online, interactive resource to help international students navigate the international student process. Use this step-by-step guide to learn about the process of studying in the United States. Topics include what to consider if you want to study in the United States, how to apply for a visa to enter the United States, how to maintain your status while in the U.S., guidelines for traveling back home, and working in the U.S.

Exchange Students with flags representing their countries.

Orientation for New International Students


Wednesday, January 6, 2016
9:00 am at the University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 100
(click here for a map of campus)

All new international students are required to attend this orientation meeting. Bring your passport. If you are a student on an F-1 visa, also bring your I-20 Form and proof of health insurance. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

For students who cannot attend the January 6 meeting: Please come to a meeting on Thursday, January 7 at 11:00 am in the Student Services Center Room W-201.

Click here for the International Student Orientation Schedule.

Hawaiian Lu'au

you're invitedlu'au

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
6:00 pm at Baptist Collegiate Ministries
(across from the Old Gym on Kapi'olani Street)

All new and continuing international students are invited to a Hawaiian lu'au sponsored by the Baptist Collegiate Ministries! A lu'au is a gathering featuring Hawaiian food, music and entertainment. Come meet new friends! No sign-up is required.

International Speaker Series

international conflict

International Conflict Resolution

Thursday, January 21, 2016
7:00 pm at Campus Center Room 301

Dr. Su-Mi Lee from the UH Hilo Political Science Department will talk about international conflict resolution. All are welcome. Free!

Mixed Plate: A Conversation about Hawaiian Culture

mixed platehawaiian culture

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
5:30 pm at Campus Center Room 301

Are you interested in learning about Hawaiian and local cultures, values and history? New international students are invited to come to a casual "mixed plate" dinner featuring local food and the opportunity to learn about Hawaiian and cultures from Native Hawaiian students. Space is limited to the first 23 international students who sign up. Free!

Working in the U.S. After Graduation Workshop

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
4:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

If you are planning on graduating from UH Hilo in Spring or Summer 2016, come to this workshop to learn about your options to work in the US after graduation. We will discuss OPT (Optional Practical Training), which allows international students to work in the US after graduation for one year so that you can gain experience in your field of study. In addition, an attorney who specializes in immigration law will also be present to discuss the H1-B visa (commonly referred to as a "work visa"). Even if you are not planning on graduating this year, you are welcome to come to the workshop so that you are aware of your future options.

International Speaker Series

Filipino Migrant Workers and Cosmopolitanism

Filipino migrant workers

Thursday, February 18, 2016
7:00 pm at Campus Center Room 301

Dr. Celia Bardwell-Jones from the UH Hilo Philosophy Department will talk about Filipino migrant workers and cosmopolitanism. All are welcome. Free!

International Nights 2016

International Nights

UH Hilo International Nights

Friday, February 19 & Saturday, February 20, 2016

UH Hilo Performing Arts Center

Visit the International Nights website for more information.

International Women's Day

International Women's Day

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Details will be announced soon!

International Student Scholarship


Deadline to apply: Friday, March 18, 2016

The International Student Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate international students on F-1 student visas who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance and have some degree of financial need. The amount of the scholarship for 2016-2017 will be $2,000 per semester. Click here for the application.

Merrie Monarch Hula Festival

merrie monarch

Wednesday, March 30-Saturday, April 2, 2016

Edith Kanaka'ole Tennis Stadium

International students are needed to serve as volunteer ushers and translators at the world-famous annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. This is a great opportunity to give back to the local community while being a part of the world's most prestigious hula competition that celebrates Native Hawaiian culture. Details will be posted soon.

Dolphin Encounter Trip


Saturday, April 23, 2016
Time to be announced

ISA (International Student Association) is again offering a Dolphin Quest adventure trip! Feel the thrill of a lifetime as you touch and feed a dolphin! Swim with dolphins in a shallow, waist-deep lagoon on the property of the Hilton Waikoloa Hotel (about 90 minutes from Hilo). The day will include learning about ocean ecosystems in Hawaii. You will also be allowed to spend some time snorkeling in the Hilton lagoon. Cost is $30 (cash only, no refunds). More information will be posted soon. Click here for more details about Dolphin Quest.

International Speaker Series

speaker series

3rd Thursday of each month

September 17, October 15, November 19, January 21, February 18, March 17 & April 21
7:00 pm, Campus Center Room 301

In collaboration with the United Nations Association - Hawaii Chapter, this series of free talks with feature a faculty or community member discussing a topic of international relevance or concern.

September 17: "From Nuclear Exodus to Cultural Reawakening: Revitalizing Wave Navigation and Voyaging in the Marshall Islands" - Joseph Genz, Anthropology Dept.

October 15: "How Countries Respond Differently to Telescopes on their Mountain Peaks" - Marianne Takamiya, Physics & Astronomy Dept.

November 19: "U.S. Presidency and Foreign Policy" - Todd Belt, Political Science Dept.

January 21: "International Conflict Resolution" - Su-Mi Lee, Political Science Dept.

February 18: "Filipino Migrant Workers and Cosmopolitanism" - Celia Bardwell-Jones, Philosophy Dept.

March 17: "Can Social Entrepreneurship Address Challenges at the Base of the Global Development Pyriad?" - Dr. Jerry Calton, College of Business & Economics

April 21: "Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture" - Dr. Cam Muir, Biology Dept.

International Student Association (ISA)


ISA is a student club for international students and their friends. The club's motto is "Unite, Serve, Educate." The club organizes trips, social events and service opportunities throughout the year, as well as UH Hilo's annual International Nights. Visit the ISA website for more information.

ISA Officers for 2015-2016:

  • Akuila Smau (Palau) - President
  • Bill Yang (Federated States of Micronesia) - Vice President
  • Xiaoting Liu (China) - Treasurer
  • Josefina Pereira (Timor-Leste) - Secretary
  • Felicia Andrew (Palau) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Denita Robert (Federated States of Micronesia) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Bianca Novotna (Czech Republic) - Social Media Coodinator
  • Helio Miguel Oliveira de Aruajo (Timor-Leste) - Event Coordinator
  • Joshua Parep (Papua New Guinea) - Event Coordinator

Waipio Valley
International Students at Waipio Valley

Nandar's Story

Mya Yee Nandar
Mya Yee Nandar

Check out this fascinating story (A Journey of 7,000 Miles Began With a Single Snake) by Mya Yee Nandar, a UH Hilo student from Burma (Myanmar), featured in the International Student Voice magazine. Also check out her two-part story Like Crabs in a Basket. Nandar was also interviewed on BBC's One Square Mile.


About the Director

Jim MellonJim Mellon has been the Director of International Student Services & Intercultural Education since 2011. Jim earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University and master's degree from the University of Hawaiʻ at Manoa, where he was immersed in intercultural programs as a grantee with the East-West Center. He previously served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at UH Hilo.

Goals: Facilitate the success of international students and promote the development of intercultural competence among all students with an emphasis on social justice.

Likes: Competing in open water swimming races and triathlons, traveling, music by Dave Matthews Band, books by David Sedaris, movies by Jim Jarmusch, comedians Kristen Wiig & Chelsea Handler.

Did You Know? He swam 28.5 miles around New York City and won the 10-mile Maui channel swim from Lanai to Maui in 1998, competed in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships four times, and lived and worked on the island ofPohnpei in Micronesia as a volunteer teacher for three years.