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.

New International Students Orientation

Plan on arriving in Hilo on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. There will be a required meeting for all new international students on Wednesday, January 7 at 9:00 am in the Campus Center Room 301. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Bring your passport (and, if you are a student on an F-1 visa, also bring your I-20 Form and proof of health insurance). Go to the New International Students webpage for more detailed information and for a list of the things you should do before you come to Hilo.

Upcoming Events & Activities

Submarine Trip in Kona

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Take a trip with the International Student Association and the Outdoor EdVenture Program to board a submarine in Kona! You will see amazing underwater sea creatures and coral! Bring camera, money, lunch, snacks. You will also have time during the day to walk around and explore the town of Kailua-Kona. Sign up for international students begin on January 8 at the Outdoor EdVenture office in the Student Life Center. Cost is $25. Space is limited.

International Nights 2015

Friday & Saturday, February 6 & 7, 2015
7:30 pm at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center

Each year the International Student Association produces shows that feature performances from the many different cultures and countries represented at UH Hilo. International Nights is a long-standing tradition at UH Hilo that spans over three decades, and is a favorite event on campus among students, the community, and visitors. Visit the International Nights website for more information.

Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Thursday, February 19, 2015
4:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

If you are a student on an F-1 visa and planning on graduating from UH Hilo in Spring 2015, come to this workshop to learn about your option to apply for "OPT" (Optional Practical Training). OPT allows you to work in the U.S. after you graduate for one year so that you can gain experience in your field of study. Mr. Newton Chu, an attorney who specializes in immigration law, will also be present to discuss the H1-B visa (commonly referred to as a "work visa"). The workshop will explain what OPT is, how to apply for it, deadlines, etc.

Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival

Wednesday & Thursday, February 25 & 26, 2015
5:30 pm at the University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 127
(map of campus)

UH Hilo is proud to once again host the Human Rights Watch Traveling Film Festival on campus. Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. The film festival bears witness to human rights violations and creates a forum to empower audiences with the knowledge that personal commitment can make a difference. In selecting films for the festival, Human Rights Watch concentrates equally on artistic merit and human rights content. The festival encourages filmmakers around the world to address human rights subject matter in their work and presents films from both new and established international filmmakers. Free admision!

Wednesday, February 25

5:30 pm: Return to Homs
7:00 pm: Big Men

Thursday, February 26

5:30 pm: Scheherazade's Diary
7:00 pm: Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars

Pending Events & Activities

The International Student Association is currently planning more trips, events and activities for the spring semester. Possible activities include:

  • Whale watching in Hilo Bay
  • Zip lining
  • Mauna Kea star gazing
  • Horseback riding
  • Lava flow viewing
  • Beach barbeque at the end of the semester

More information will be posted as soon as activities are finalized.

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 2014-2015:

  • Pelenatete Leilua (Samoa) - President
  • Imelda Carlos (Timor-Leste) - Vice President
  • Akuila Smau (Palau) - Secretary
  • Elaine Chugen (Yap, FSM) - Treasurer
  • Renee David (Federated States of Micronesia) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Peter Ramofolo (Solomon Islands) - Communications Officer
  • Axel Defngin (Yap, FSM) - Webmaster

In addition to the Officers, the following students have volunteered to serve as Event Coordinators:

  • Felicia Andrew (Palau)
  • Marli Klass (Palau)
  • Patti Pitmag (Yap, FSM)
  • Jiaying Wu (China)

Follow ISA on Facebook , Twitter & Instagram (@uhhisa)!FacebookTwitter

Waipio ValleyISA

Nandar's Story

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.

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 of Pohnpei in Micronesia as a volunteer teacher for three years.