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.

Upcoming Events & Activities

\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

Whale Watching Trip


Sunday, March 1, 2015 (postponed from Sunday, February 15 & 22)

Join the International Student Association on a boat trip in Hilo Bay to see whales! Sign up at the Student Life Center Outdoor EdVenture office. Space is limited. $5 deposit.

Dolphin Quest Adventure Trip

Dolphin QuestDolphin Quest

Saturday, March 7, 2015
Dolphin Quest at the Hilton Waikoloa Hotel

Feel the thrill of a lifetime as you touch, feed, swim with and even kiss a dolphin! Have lots of fun swimming 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. Click here for more details about Dolphin Quest.

The March 7 trip is full, but a second trip has been added for Saturday, March 14. To sign up for the March 14 trip, go to the Outdoor EdVenture office at the Student Life Center. Cost is $30 (cash only, no refunds).

Hawaiʻi: The Untold Story


Wednesday, March 11, 2015
5:00-6:30 pm
Campus Center Room 301

All international students are invited to attend this free informational and insightful presentation on the political history of Hawaiʻi, including a rarely presented historical account that has intriguing implications for Hawaiʻi today. Presention by Dr. Keanu Sai. Free!

International Student Scholarship

Deadline to apply for the 2015-2016 academic year: March 13, 2015

This scholarship is awarded to a limited number of undergraduate international undergraduate students on F-1 student visas who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance and have some degree of financial need. New students interested in this scholarship must first apply for admission to UH Hilo; if admitted, all new international students will be automatically considered for this scholarship (no application is necessary). Click here for a copy of the application form or pick up a copy at the International Student Services office in the Student Services Center Room E-202.

Film Premier of "A2-B-C"


Monday, March 16, 2015
5:00-7:00 pm
UCB Room 100

Showing of the documentary film A2-B-C by director Ian Thomas Ash. In Fukushima towns following March 2011 radioactive cesium leaks, families face uncertainty about evacuation, radiation exposure, decontamination, and children's health. Mothers take radiation monitoring into their own hands, while health screening of children begins. Hawaii premier of this award-winning film. The film will be introduced by producer Yumi Kikuchi. Free. Donations for Fukushima Kids will be accepted.

Waipi'o Valley Service Trip

Waipio Valley

Monday, March 23, 2015 (Spring Break)

Join the International Student Association and the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on a trip to beautiful Waipi'o Valley! Perform service to the community by working in a taro patch and learning about Native Hawaiian culture. More information will be sent to your UH email.

Zip Line Adventure Trip

Zip Line

Tentative Date: Friday, April 3, 2015
Botanical World Adventures in Hakalau

Join the UH Hilo International Student Association for a Zip Line Adventure at Botanical World Adventures about 15 miles from Hilo. You will experience the thrill of a lifetime zipping along 7 zip lines! There is a 1,100 foot dual racing zip in which two people can race together. And there is a suspension bridge which is one of the most beautiful walks in Hawaii with tumbling waterfalls as far as you look.

How safe is it? Zip Isle has partnered with experienced certified partners to create a safe and secure course. At Zip Isle, you are led through the course by trained, certified and informed local guides. The guides have fun and interesting information about the rainforest that surrounds you as you zip. Your tour through and under the canopy of the rainforest trees is accomplished without harming the beauty of the natural environment or building tall, unsightly towers. Zip Isle's course was engineered by a Hawaii licensed and certified Professional Engineer and Structural Engineer to provide for maximum excitement and safety. Click here for more detailed information about safety.

Space is limited. Information about signing up and the cost will be posted soon. You will need to read and sign a form describing the potential dangers of ziplining before your space is confirmed.

Kohala Mountain Service Trip


Tentative Date: Saturday, April 25, 2015 (Earth Day)
Leave campus at 7:00 am and return around 6:00 pm

Help preserve the land in the Kohala Mountains. On this work day, you will have a fantastic opportunity to serve the community in this volunteer project with the Kohala Watershed Partnership. See parts of the island most people never see while working together to protect and sustain the forests of Kohala Mountain. Space is limited to the first 5 international students who sign up.

Beach Barbeque

Carlsmith Beach ParkCarlsmtih Beach Park

Saturday, May 2, 2015
Carlsmith Beach Park in Hilo

Celebrate the end of the semester before final exams begin at a barbeque at Carlsmith Beach Park! Food, fun, friendship, games and swimming (you are almost guaranteed to see turtles!). More information will be posted soon.

Pending Events & Activities

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

  • Mauna Kea star gazing
  • Horseback riding
  • Lava flow viewing

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.