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International Student Services & Intercultural Education

International Education

The University of Hawai╩╗i: 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 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 Fall 2017 semester, view a list of important dates and things you need to do.

Upcoming Events & Activities

Mixed Plate Dinner

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Thursday, September 7, 2017
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Are you interested in learning about Hawaiian and local cultures, values and history? New international students are invited to come to a casual "mixed plate" dinner featuring local food and the opportunity to learn about Hawaiian and cultures from Native Hawaiian students. Free, but space is limited!

Friday, September 8, 2017
10:30 am - 11:30 am at the Pacific Islander Student Center (Campus Center Room 307)

Talanoa ÔÇťTalk StoryÔÇŁ Session with Salanieta Duituturaga. Sala is from Fiji and works for the South Pacific Commission Office in Noumea, New Caledonia as a Laboratory Scientist and Team Leader for the CommissionÔÇÖs Public Health Division, specifically in Public Health Laboratory Strengthening.

Lunch and learn

Friday, September 8, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Come get some lunch. Topics: How to find a job on campus, how to deal with homesickness, culture shock, staying healthy, and free resources on campus. And an opportunity to ask questions you have about anything!

Host family group photo

Friday, September 8, 2017
6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Meet your host family! Light pupu will be provided.

Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

If you are planning on graduating in December (or May), you are invited to come to a workshop to learn about your option to work in the U.S. after graduation. Learn OPT (Optional Practical Training) and H1-B visas ("work visas").

International Speaker Series

Thursday, September 21, 2017
The Reality of Life in a Refugee Camp
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Annmarie Muramoto, a dentist who has worked in refugee camps in Greece and Syria. Free.

International Coast Clean Up Day

Sunday, September 24, 2017
7:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Provide service to the community on International Coastal Clean Up Day at Kamilo Beach in Ka'u. Space is limited to 13 students.

Making a Difference: Careers in International Development

Thursday, October 12, 2017
6:00 pm at the Science & Technology Building Room 108

Free talk on career opportunities by Dennis Flemming, Executive Director of the Hamakua Institute. Flemming will identify the various careers and organizations in international development and provide insight into what the work involves in practice and how to explore career opportunities. Flemming has been designing, developing and managing international development projects in the South Pacific and Africa for more than 30 years. He will also introduce the Islands Rural Development Initiative to support social and economic development projects in rural island and coastal communities throughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

International Speaker Series

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Chile: Overcoming the Legacies of Dictatorship
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr.Su-Mi Lee of the UH Hilo Political Science Department. Free.

Let's Work it Out: International Conflict Resolution Day Workshop

Friday, October 20, 2017
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

In observance of International Conflict Resolution Day, Mala╩╗e Erikson will present a free workshop on "Dealing with Anger: Steps to Understanding and Transformation." Erickson is a non-violent communication (compassionate communication) teacher and practitioner. Register online at http://go.hawaii.edu/jp0. Sponsored by Kuikahi Mediation Center, Rotary Club of South Hilo, Hilo Bay Rotary Club, Political Science Department and International Student Services.

United Nations Day

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
10:00 am - 1:00 pm on the Library Lanai

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Celebrate United Nations Day! UH Hilo is one of the most diverse college campuses in the U.S. Come check out the tables showcasing the different countries represented at UH Hilo and the Parade of Nations!

Buddhist Practice in Difficult Times

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
6:30-8:30 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

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In observance of United Nations Day, Kehnpo Sodargye Rinpoche will give a free public talk on Buddhist practice in difficult times. A native of Tibet, Khenpo is a leading Buddhist scholar and teacher, writer, translator, public intellectual, and life ethicist. As one of the original disciples of the late Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog, he continues to transmit the teachings of Nyingmapa beyond Tibet. The body of his teachings is a modern Tibetan Buddhism in the making. Voted as the most influential religious figure in China, Khenpo Sodargye is the icon of modern Tibetan Buddhism in China, imparting what he calls ÔÇťthe Tibetan Code of HappinessÔÇŁ to the Chinese society in his latest bestsellers including Living through Suffering and Achieve by Doing. His critical engagements with social scientists in China and the West have sparked a new round of public discourses in China regarding the politics and philosophy of religion and science, Buddhism and the public good, and environmentalism. Khenpo has traveled the world spreading the Dharma in a practical and meaningful way. In recent years, Khenpo Sodargye has given hundreds of lectures at universities worldwide including Tsinghua, Peking, Hong Kong, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Toronto, McGill, Cambridge, Oxford, Gottingen, and Max Planck Institute.

Dolphin Trip

Saturday, October 28, 2017
7:00 am - 4:00 pm

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Feel the thrill of a lifetime as you touch, feed and swim with a dolphin! Have fun swimming with dolphins in a shallow, waist-deep lagoon on the property of the Hilton Waikoloa Hotel (about 90 minutes from Hilo). The event will include learning about ocean ecosystems in Hawaii. You will also be allowed to spend some time snorkeling in the Hilton hotel lagoon. Cost is $30 (cash only, no refunds). Space is limited.

International Speaker Series

Thursday, November 16, 2017
Impact of Climate Change on Freshwater Resources
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Yiqing Li of the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry & Natural Resource Management. Free.

International Speaker Series

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Cyber-Security Issues
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Shawon S. M. Rahman of the UH Hilo Computer Science Department. Free.

International Speaker Series

Thursday, February 15, 2018
Why Animals Matter
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Katherine Young of the UH Hilo Political Science Department. Free.

International Nights 2018

Samoan Dancers perform at UH Hilo's International Nights

Friday & Saturday, February 23 & 24, 2018
7:30 pm at the Performing Arts Center

See the shows! See the world! UH Hilo's annual event showcasing performances from around the globe. Visit the International Nights webpage for more information.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Good Health, Well Being
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Leng Chee Chang of the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. Free.


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International Student Association (ISA)

International Student Association

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 2017-2018:

  • Felicia Andrew (Palau) - President
  • Anna Mikkelsen (Denmark) - Vice President
  • Lucy Maino (Papua New Guinea) - Treasurer
  • Annjennette William (FSM) - Secretary
  • Irie Taguchi (Japan) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Bertha Marie Lotte (FSM) - Volunteer Coordinator
10 ISA students pose with ISA Director Jim Mellon
ISA Officers 2016-2017

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

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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. Nandar was also interviewed on BBC's One Square Mile.

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About the Director

Jim Mellon, Ph.D.

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 Hawai╩╗i at M─ünoa, 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 Lana╩╗i to Mau╩╗i, 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.

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