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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.

New International Students

If you have been accepted to UH Hilo for the Spring 2017 semester, click here for a list of important dates and things you need to do.

Upcoming Events & Activities



Pacific Culture Fair


Wednesday, November 16, 2016
11:00 am-1:00 pm on the Campus Center Plaza

Learn more about the world's diverse Pacific Islander cultures at various interactive booths hosted by various campus clubs and organizations while gaining awareness about culture preservation. There will also be a hula performance and a complimentary lunch for our participants. Sponsored by New Student Programs and the Student Activities Council.

International Speaker Series

international speaker series

Thursday, November 17, 2016
7:00-8:00 pm in the Campus Center Room 301

Managing Food Waste by Vermicomposting

Speaker: Dr. Norman Arancon. UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry & Natural Resources

The United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the framework for the international lecture series this year. One goal is "Life on Land: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss." Micro-organisms and invertebrates are key to ecosystem services, but their contributions are still poorly known and rarely acknowledged. Over the past two decades, the use of earthworms to degrade organic wastes referred to as vermicomposting offered alternative and innovative methods of managing a variety of organic wastes such as animal manures, shredded cardboard and industrial wastes. Several methods of vermicomposting that have proven to be effective in processing food wastes range from simple and low technology systems such as windrows to complex and high input systems such as automated continuous flow digesters. Working prototypes of these systems will be discussed with special consideration to processing food wastes. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Assocation-Hawaii Island Chapter.

Hawaii International Film Festival


Thursday, November 17 through Sunday, November 20, 2016
Hilo Palace Theater

The prestigious annual Hawaii international film festival comes to Hilo from November 17-20 at the Hilo Palace Theater. Check out amazing films from Japan, Korea, Germany, Hawaii, Canada, the United States and other countries! Click here for more information.

"The Ghosts of Hiroshima"

Thursday, November 17 through Sunday, November 20, 2016
Performing Arts Center

The Performing Arts Department presents this landmark offering as an ode to the times and temperaments found in today’s global landscape. At the heart of the production is the consideration of the human costs of war. The show presents the memories of the hibakusha, or survivors, against the facts and figures of our nuclear arsenal, in the 1980s and today.

Post-Election & Social Justice Teach In

uhh teach-in

Friday, November 18, 2016
1:00-2:00 pm on the Campus Center Plaza

Join faculty, students, staff and community members in sharing responses to the 2016 presidential election outcome. How do we nurture our social rights and the earth in solidarity? Email Professor Marina Karides at for questions and to sign up to speak.

Hunger Banquet

hunger banquet

Friday, November 18, 2016
6:00-8:00 pm in Campus Center 301

The Hunger Banquet is an interactive evening for all ages on the prevalence of world hunger, its causes and effects. Learn what you can do to help people that are hungry here in Hilo, as well as in the world. This event help us to take ownership of our community and teaches the importance of social responsibility. Sponsored by Campus & Community Service.

FSM Students & Citizens Meeting

Friday, November 18, 2016
6:00-9:00 pm in UCB Room 100

All FSM students and citizens are invited to attend a meeting to hear about possibly creating a special polling place for FSM elections in the area and about a proposed dual citizenship amendment. The delegation will be headed by Vice Speaker Berney Martin from Pohnpei, who will be joined by two other senators: Senator David W. Panuelo from Pohnpei and Senator Victor V. Gouland from Chuuk. Attendees will have the opportunity to express their views and ask questions about these matters; if time permits, the delegation will also be receptive to hearing thoughts and concerns FSM citizens may have on other issues.

Pacific Islander Health Fair

Saturday, November 19, 2016
9:00 am-3:00 pm at the Campus Center

Students from the FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands are welcome to attend this health fair. You will have the opportunity to apply for health insurance. Sponsored by Micronesians United-Big Island.

LooChoo Language & Culture Workshop

Sunday, November 20, 2016
10:00 am-4:00 pm at Hale'olelo Room 115-116 & Student Lounge

Free event open to the public that features the language, culture, and performing arts of Okinawa.

APIASF General Scholarship Application

Deadline to apply: January 11, 2017

UH Hilo undergraduate students of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ethnicity who are US citizens, nationals or permanent residents or FSM, Marshall Islands or Palauan citizens are eligible to apply for this scholarship. The scholarship is for the 2017-2018 academic year and range from one-time awards of $2,500 to multo-year awards of up to $20,000. Click here for more information and to apply online.

Hapuna Beach Trip

hapuna beach

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Take a trip to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Sign up at the Student Life Center.

Submarine Trip

submarine trip

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Explore the underwater treasures on an Atlantis submarine trip off the coast of Kona. Cost: $25. Sign up at the Student Life Center.

International Speaker Series

international speaker series

Thursday, January 19, 2017
7:00-8:00 pm in the Campus Center Room 301

Antimicrobial Resistance: A Global Threat

Speaker: Dr. Louis Ltief, UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

Resistance to antibiotics is an alarming increasing threat to mankind in the 21st Century. Over-utilization of current antibiotics combined with the lack of development of new ones could lead to emergence of bugs resistant to all known antibiotics. An effective mean to combat this potential crisis is the development of antimicrobial stewardship programs coordinated on a global scale.

International Nights

Samoa at UH Hilo International Nights 2016

Friday & Saturday, February 10 & 11, 2017
7:30 pm at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center
(see a map of campus)

Check back for more information.

Employment Options in the U.S. after Graduation

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
4:00-5:00 pm in the Student Services Center Room W-201

International students on F-1 visa are you are invited to come to this workshop to learn about your option 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 or more so that you can gain experience in your field of study. In addition, an attorney who specializes in immigration law may also be present to discuss the H1-B visa (commonly referred to as a "work visa").

International Speaker Series

international speaker series

Thursday, February 16, 2017
7:00-8:00 pm in the Campus Center Room 301

"Food and Cultural Geography"

Speaker: Dr. Kathryn Besio, UH Hilo Geography Department

International Speaker Series

international speaker series

Thursday, March 16, 2017
7:00-8:00 pm at Hale'olelo (College of Hawaiian Language Building)

Indigenous Wellbeing Through Education

Speaker: Dr. Keiki Kawai'ae'a, UH Hilo Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani

Dolphin Quest Trip

dolphin quest

Saturday, April 8, 2016

Join the International Student Association (ISA) for an encounter with dolphins! 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 Hawaiʻi. You will also be allowed to spend some time snorkeling in the Hilton lagoon. Click here for more details about Dolphin Quest. Cost: $30 (cash only, no refunds). (The regular cost is about $200, so this is a huge discount!) Space is limited to 36 students. Sign up at the International Student Services office in Room E-202 in the Student Services Center.


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 International Student Association website for more information.

ISA Officers for 2016-2017:

  • Flag of Papua New GuineaJoshua Parep (Papua New Guinea) - President
  • Flag of Palau Felicia Andrew (Palau) - Vice President
  • Flag of Japan Misaki Hirayama (Japan) - Treasurer
  • Flag of East Timor Josefina Pereira (Timor-Leste) - Secretary
  • Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia Axel Defngin (FSM) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia Bertha Lotte (FSM) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Flag of the Marshall Islands Rudy Milne (Marshall Islands) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia Taeliza Perez (FSM) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Flag of the Marshall Islands Risa Kabua Myazoe (Marshall Islands) - Social Media Coodinator


ISA Officers 2015-2016 pictured below

isa officers

Waipio Valley
International Students at Waipio Valley

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

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.

Did You Know? He swam 28.5 miles around New York City, won the 10-mile Maui channel swim from Lanai to Maui, 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.