International Student Services & Intercultural Education

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International Education

The University of Hawaii: 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 in the States for information and resources for prospective and current international students, including information on applying for a visa to enter the United States, getting ready to go, arriving in the U.S., maintaining your status, and working in the U.S.

Online Pre-Departure Orientation for New Students!

Check out the new online orientation for new international students! All new international students should view the online orientation before coming to Hilo.

Upcoming Events & Activities

Orientation for New International Students

All new international students are required to attend the international student orientation:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
9:30 am – 3:00 pm
Campus Center Room 301

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). Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

New international students should plan to arrive in Hilo on Monday, August 18. Free transportation from the Hilo airport to campus and nearby apartments will be provided by the International Student Services program on August 18. Sign up for a free shuttle from the airport here.

We Moved!

The International Student Services office has moved to the new Student Services Center on campus! Come see us on the 2nd floor in Rooms 202 and 204. The new Student Services Center is behind the old Student Services Building (on the Kawili Street side) and next to the Campus Center. Click here to see where the new building is on the campus map.

"Green Card" and Naturalization Information Session

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
1:00 - 2:30 pm
Office of Aging (ADRC Training Room), 1055 Kino'ole Street #101, Hilo

Sponsored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in partnership with the County of Hawai'i Immigration Office. Free.

Haari Boat Festival

Saturday, August 16, 2014
8:00 am
Wailoa State Park in Hilo

Haari Boat Festival sponsored by Hui Okinawa, a local prefecture club. This festival is held every other year and this year there will be two teams from New York Wall Street Dragons and a team, the Nago City Dragons, from Okinawa. Other teams from Hilo and Honolulu will be participating. It is a day of fun and making new friends. If you want to paddle in the Haari or if you have questions, please contact Lynn Namihira at Visit the festival's website for more information.

Welcome Party!

Friday, August 29, 2014
4:00 – 6:30 pm
Student Life Center swimming pool area

All new and returning international students are invited to the Fall 2014 WELCOME PARTY! Food, music, games, fun & prizes! Celebrate the end of your 1st week of classes and the start of a long weekend. No sign up is required—just come!

Submarine Trip

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Leave campus at 7:30 am, return around 5:00 pm
Cost: $25 (cash only)

Check out the underwater view on a submarine in Kona! Join the International Student Association and the Outdoor EdVenture program for a trip you will never forget. You will also have an opportunity walk around Kailua-Kona town during the trip. Space is limited. Sign up at the Student Life Center Outdoor EdVenture office. Space is limited.

Global Ambassadors Meeting

Thursday, September 11, 2014
4:00 pm
Student Services Center Room W-201 (2nd floor)

Volunteer to be a Global Ambassador! As a Global Ambassador, you will represent your country/culture and make brief presentations to students in the local schools occasionally throughout the semester. Click here for the application form.

Meet Your Host Family!

Friday, September 12, 2014
5:30 pm
Student Services Center Room W-201 (2nd floor)

Meet our host family! If you requested a host family, come to this gathering where you will meet your host family.

Global Lens Film Series

Information about the Global Lens Film Series for 2014-2015 will be coming soon!

The Global Lens film series is a critically acclaimed showcase of award-winning, independent narrative features from around the world. The films are intended to promote intercultural understanding through film and to expose audiences to new voices from relatively unfamiliar parts of the world. The series provides a platform for exceptional storytelling and opens windows into the diverse world in which we live. The powerful, authentic narratives in the films can foster trust and respect between diverse cultures and mitigate the negative impacts of cultural prejudice, misunderstanding, and misperception. Admission is free.

Lava Walk Trip: See Lava at your Fingertips!

Date & Time To Be Announced - Check back for more details

Join the International Student Association for a trip to view lava! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see lava up close with an experienced and knowledgeable guide.  You will be able to be just a few feet away from the lava—an experience that few people ever get! The trip includes a 1 1/2 hour hike starting in Kalapana and ending where the lava is flowing. You should be willing and able to walk 1 ½ hours over some rough terrain to and from the lava flow. Experienced tour guides will walk with you to and through the Lava Flow. The guides are more than just a guide: they are local, born and raised in Hawaii, and will share stories, folklore and more along the way, providing a walking tour of the lava flow that is beyond your expectations. Cost: To be determined. Bring: Sturdy, closed-toe shoes (no slippers!); long pants; water; flashlight; camera; hat; snacks. Check back for information on how to sign up.

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.

Congratulations to 2013-2014 ISA President Yvonne Johnny for being awarded the Malama Leadership Award at the Ka Lama Ku Student Leadership Recognition Ceremony for oustanding student leadership at UH Hilo during the 2013-2014 year!

ISA Officers for 2014-2015:

  • Pelenatete Leilua (Samoa) - President
  • Imelda Carlos (Timor-Leste) - Vice President
  • Akuila Smau (Palau) - Secretary
  • Elaine Chugen (Yap, FSM) - Treasurer
  • Hitomi Kitade (Japan) - Membership Coordinator
  • 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 and Twitter (@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.