Incoming International Exchange Students

International Exchange FAQs

What is the weather like in Hilo?

Hilo is warm all year round. The temperature does not fluctuate much at all. The temperature ranges from 16° to 30°C, however, it rains a lot. Remember to bring a light jacket and umbrella when you pack for Hilo.

What are the common things that students usually do besides studying?

We have many amazing outdoor activities on this island. Going to the beach is something that students can do all year because of the warm weather here. In addition, Maunakea is a 4,000 meter tall mountain with world famous astronomical observatories. The view at night from Maunakea is amazing. Volcano National Park, Akaka Falls State Park, Waipiʻo Valley, and Rainbow Falls are easy to visit and great for hiking. These are just some of nature’s wonders only found on this island.

How much does it cost to live in Hilo?

Usually international students need to spend between $7000-$9000 per year for housing, meals, personal expenses, transportation and other living expenses. Student living on-campus usually spend between $2000 and $3500 for the residence hall and about $2250 for meal plans per semester. Off-campus apartments cost between $550 and $700 a month. Other costs include health insurance and incidental expenses.

Can students live on-campus?

Yes. UH Hilo has on-campus housing. On-campus housing accommodates the needs of single, married and physically challenged students in residence halls and apartment-style arrangements. All residence halls have recreation lounges, television room, study rooms (except Hale ʻIkena) and laundry facilities.

Visit the UH Hilo on-campus housing website.

Can students live off-campus?

Yes. Students can live in apartments off-campus. There are many apartments and houses around campus. Students need to contact the apartments ahead to make sure they have rooms available. Most apartments include a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Most off-campus student housing includes furniture.

Visit the Off-Campus Housing website.

How is the transportation in Hilo?

Hilo is a small town, so a bicycle is good enough for every day transportation. Some students purchase a car to use to travel around the island. The bus is available in Hilo, and it is only $1.00 for UH students. It takes students to the local beaches and shopping areas.

What can I do if I have difficulty speaking English?

Just relax. People in Hawaiʻi are very nice and friendly. They are good listeners and always pay attention to what you want to say. Also our school provides several kinds of programs that help you to get used to speaking English, such as the host family program where you can spend some time with a family from Hilo. Also, through the English Language Institute, students can participate in conversation partner programs with American students. For more information on these programs, see the International Student Services webpage.

The English Language Institute (ELI) provides English language instruction to non-native speakers of English to prepare them for studying in classrooms with American students. The ELI offers classes in reading, writing, grammar, listening/speaking and pronunciation.These courses are designed to prepare students for the types of assignments and activities that they will be expected to do in an American university.

For more information, please visit the English Language Institute.

What benefits can I get when I am studying at UH Hilo?

University of Hawaii at Hilo provides students a comfortable study environment. Due to the small classes and friendly professors, it is easy to get to know your professors and other students. Professors always make time to meet with students during office hours or after class. Our Outdoor EdVenture program allows students to take trips all over the island on Saturdays and Sundays...for free! The excursions include trips to the beach, Volcano National Park, sailing in Hilo Bay, or hiking through lava tubes. Another benefit is that Hilo is very safe and students can take advantage of Hilo's charming downtown including its famous Farmer's Market as well as shops and restaurants on weekends. Because it is a small town, people know each other and watch out for each other. Hilo still has the aloha spirit!

What should I bring to Hilo?

  • Shorts and T-shirts are fine for daytime wear.
  • Bring a light jacket or sweater. Although it is warm all year, it sometimes gets a little cold at night.
  • Electrical converter is needed if students have electronic devices that do not use 110v / 60hz US-style plugs.
  • American dollars. (Students can open a bank account when they are in Hilo)
  • Credit card.