International Student Services

International Student Services

International Education

The University of Hawaiʻi: A Global University

The core mission of International Student Services (ISS) is to facilitate the academic success and personal development, growth, and transformation of international students as they pursue their educational and career goals. ISS provides a holistic approach and array of services designed to assist international students with clarifying and achieving their academic, career, and personal goals while complying with regulations pertaining to their immigration status. ISS serves as an interface between UH Hilo and international students to facilitate communication, understanding and appreciation between international students and the UH Hilo community. ISS also aims to facilitate and assist all students at UH Hilo, regardless of national origin, with developing intercultural awareness, understanding, and competency in our increasingly global community. In addition, ISS advocates for and supports efforts for advancing internationalization on campus.

Information about applying for admission to UH Hilo can be found on the Admissions website.

Students from different countries holding flags

Know Before You Go: Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Effective June 12, 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) no longer requires air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the US to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. However, non-US citizens traveling to the US by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Only limited exceptions apply. Click here for more information.

Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, International Student Services recommends that students carefully consider travel plans. If you have any questions about traveling to the US, consult with the ISS Director or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's information for travel website. Another resource to consult is the National Association of Foreign Student Administrators.

New International Students

If you have been accepted to UH Hilo, view a list of important dates and things you need to do. Also check out Study Guide to the States for an online, interactive resource to help international students navigate through the process of studying in the US. Topics include what to consider if you want to study in the US, how to apply for a visa to enter the US, how to maintain your status while in the US, guidelines for traveling back home, and working in the US.

Connect Virtually

Not on campus and need to connect with International Student Services? Contact the Director at 808-932-7467 or email mellon at to set up a virtual meeting. You can also make an appointment to connect virtually with the Director using STAR Balance (look for UH Hilo International Services under "Specialized Student Services").

Upcoming Events & Activities

Welcome with map of the world

Welcome & Check-in for New International Students

Wednesday, August 17, 2022
8:00 am at the Student Services Center Room 201

Welcome to UH Hilo! All new international students are required to check-in at this short meeting. Breakfast will be provided. Immediately following the meeting, we will take you to get a TB test and any other required vaccinations you may need and get a UH ID card before the campus-wide orientation program begins. Bring your passport (and cash or card if you need to get a TB test and/or other vaccinations).

welcome in many languages

New International Student Orientation Meeting

Wednesday, August 17, 2022
3:00 pm online on Zoom

All new international students are required to attend this online meeting on Zoom to learn about important information such as visa regulations, health insurance, important dates and deadlines, and upcoming events and activities. Check your UH email for the Zoom link and passcode.

university of hawaii at hilo campus

Getting a Job on Campus

Thursday, August 25, 2022
7:00-8:00 pm online on Zoom

Join this follow-up orientation session on Zoom for new international students and learn about how to get a job on campus and a U.S. social security number, upcoming events, activities, and deadlines, and resources on campus to help you be successful! Check your UH email for the Zoom link and passcode.

students eating at a party

Welcome Party for International Students

Friday, August 26, 2022
5:30-8:30 pm at the Student Life Center swimming pool

All international students are invited to this welcome party at the Student Life Center swimming pool. Free food, prizes, and games, including volleyball and basketball! Bring your UH ID card.

students with welcome signs in Pacific languages

Open House for Pacific Islander Students

Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Pacific Islander Student Center (Campus Center Room 307)
Time to be announced

All Pacific Islander students are invited to come to this "open house" at the Pacific Islander Student Center, your "home away from home" at UH Hilo. Learn about services, programs and resources (including free printing!) at the Center and meet the staff. Island-style BBQ throughout the day!

man teaching a student how to make a lei

Ku'u Lei Hilo

Thursday, September 8, 2022
4:00-6:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Join us for an introduction to the Hawaiian language and other activities to introduce you to Native Hawaiian culture. Check your UH email for details and to sign up. Space is limited.

people on a rock wall by the ocean

Community Service Trip at Hale O Lono

Saturday, September 10, 2022
Time to be announced

Give back to the local community while learning about Native Hawaiian stewardship of the land and ocean. Help restore a Native Hawaiian fishpond in beautiful Keaukaha in Hilo. Check your UH email for details and to sign up. Space is limited.

work in the USA

Working in the US after Graduation

Wednesday, September 14, 2022
4:00-5:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room 201

Students on F-1 visas have the option of staying in the US after graduation and working for one year or more. Come to this workshop to learn about this option and the application process.


International Speaker Series: Enhancing our Knowledge of Coral Reefs with Technological Innovations

Thursday, September 15, 2022
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Dr. John Burns of the UH Hilo Marine Science Department and students Sofia Ferreira of Paraguay and Chloe Molou of Vanuatu, who will discuss the exciting research they are conducting on coral reef ecology and data visualization. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Association-Hawai'i Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

map of the world

Constitution Day

Thursday, September 15, 2022
5:00-7:00 pm at UCB Room 100

Come and listen to Judge Acoba's talk titled "Constitution Day: the Interaction of Two Constitutions." We will also have special presentations from students around the world about their constitutions. View a complete schedule of events for the week here.

Lunch and learn:  eat, meet, discover

Lunch & Learn

Friday, September 16, 2022
12:00-1:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room 201

Come get some free lunch while learning about important topics and resources on campus, such as free tutoring, staying healthy, and dating and relationships in the US.

volunteers at an aid station at the triathlon

Volunteer Trip to Kona

Saturday, October 8, 2022
Time to be announced

Join us for a trip to Kona to volunteer at the famous Ironman Triathlon World Championships! Check your UH email for details and to sign up. Space is limited.

indigenous peoples' day

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Monday, October 10, 2022
12:00-4:00 pm on the Campus Center Plaza

Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day on campus to recognize the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples and recognize their inherent sovereignty. A special screening of the film "Waterman," which explores Duke Kanahamoku's journey and legacy as a legendary swimmer, trailblazer, and the undisputed father of modern-day surfing, will be featured at 5:00 pm at UCB Room 127.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 about climate change

International Speaker Series: National Climate Change Planning within the United Nations

Thursday, October 20, 2022
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Dr. Chris Knudson of the UH Hilo Geography Department. This November, the United Nations will hold its 27th Climate Change Conference where participating countries will discuss how to limit global warming and deliver more climate finance to the Global South. This talk focuses on how climate change targets, like those in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13, are put into action by Conference participants in the form of nationally determined contributions. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Association-Hawai'i Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

image of two people

Empathy: The "Path" to Understanding Another's Point of View

Friday, October 21, 2022
5:00-7:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Workshop presented by Jo Hittner, PhD, current mediator and retired professor and licensed psychologist. In this interactive session, participants will explore the relationship between empathy and compassion, sympathy and active listening, and their effects in everyday life. Discover the benefits of empathy that are found in current research as well as practice exercises to further hone your empathy skills. Register online here.

group of students wearing traditional clothes from around the world

United Nations Day

Friday, October 28, 2022
Time & location to be announced

Celebrate United Nations Day on campus with UH Hilo international students who come from 40 different countries around the world! Check back for more details.


International Speaker Series: Climate Change & Why the Bioeconomy Matters

Thursday, November 17, 2022
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Peter Matlock who works with UH Hilo to develop tropical bioeconomy projects and education and with the Joint BioEnergy Institute on programs to advance high-performance renewable aviation fuels. His presentation will review evidence for climate change, a brief description of the bioeconomy and why it is fundamental to addressing climate change issues, and describe some of the challenges in mitigating climate change effects. Co-sponsored with the United Nations Association-Hawaii Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

ancient philosophers

International Speaker Series: Why the Idea of "Western" Philosophy is a Racist Myth

Thursday, January 19, 2023
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Dr. Christopher Lauer of the UH Hilo Philosophy Department. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Association-Hawai'i Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

man holding a Ukraine flag in front of destroyed and burning buildings

International Speaker Series: The Ukraine Crisis: Its Implications

Thursday, February 16, 2023
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Dr. Su-Mi Lee of the UH Hilo Political Science Department. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Association-Hawai'i Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

Samoan students dancing

International Nights

Friday & Saturday, February 24 & 25, 2023
7:30 pm at the Performing Arts Center

It's back! International Nights 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 four decades, and is a favorite event on campus among students, the community, and visitors. See the shows, see the world! For more details, go to the International Nights website.

Image of 5 women from different countries

International Speaker Series: Women Rising

Thursday, March 9, 2023
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

In observance of International Women's Day, hear the voices of UH Hilo women from around the world as they talk story about gender and women's issues in their countries and cultures and their experiences in the US. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Association-Hawai'i Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

Guy zip lining over a waterfall

Zip Line Adventure Trip

Date & Time To Be Announced

Zip line over waterfalls on the Hamakua Coast! More details will be forthcoming.

International Student Association

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 2021-2022:

  • Sinarleen Peres (FSM) - President
  • Chloe Molou (Vanuatu) - Vice President
  • Maikani Andres (Palau) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Natsumi Takeda (Japan) - Secretary
  • Ginate Mahuru (Papua New Guinea) - Treasurer
  • Marla Pretrick (FSM) - Social Media Coordinator
  • Mio Kamioka (Papua New Guinea/Japan) - Social Media Coordinator
  • Leoshina Kariha (Papua New Guinea) - Volunteer Coordinator


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

About the Director

James “Jim” P. Mellon

Executive Director, Global & Intercultural Education Programs; Director, International Student Services & Intercultural Education

+1 (808) 932-7467

+1 (808) 932-7471

Student Services Center, room E-204

Jim 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 Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 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 Lanaʻi to Mauʻi, 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.