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

Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, International Student Services recommends that students carefully consider travel plans. Effective December 6, 2021, all people traveling to the U.S. from outside of the U.S. must get a COVID-19 viral test no more than 1 day before flight departure (or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days) before they board their flight to the U.S. Before traveling, 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 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.

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

Samoans dancing

International Nights

March 24, 2022
7:00 pm at the Campus Center Plaza

It's back! Click here for more details.

island inundated with water with text climate change in the Pacific Islands

Personal Stories of Climate Change in the Pacific

April 1, 2022
12:00-1:15 pm online

Pacific Islands are some of the most vulnerable locations in the world to climate change. In this panel, four UH Hilo students will share the effects of climate change on their home islands, what those effects mean for them, their families and communities, and discuss ways their communities and countries and trying to move forward. Panelists include Chloe Molou from Vanuatu, Maikani Andres from Palau, and Faumai Tago from Samoa. Click here to register.

tennis march

Vulcan Tennis Match

Saturday, April 2, 2022
1:00 pm at the tennis courts on campus

Come support the team (most of whom are international students) as they play their only home match this season! Free International Student Association t-shirt for the first 15 international students who come! No ticket or sign up necessary.

men and women hula dancers

Merrie Monarch Festival Ho'ike

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Edith Kanaka'ole Tennis Stadium

Join us for this special trip to attend the Ho'ike night at the Merrie Monarch Festival, the world's premier hula festival and competition. Check your UH email for more details.

Photos of three panelists and the moderator

Guiding Our Youth: Next Generation of Leaders

Thursday, April 21, 2022
12:00-1:00 pm online

Featuring engaging dialogue between vibrant, young, and passionate leaders from across the Pacific region who inspire community collaboration and unity through their unique platforms and experiences. In the session, the panelists will share how gender has shaped their decisions and paths and whether gender influences their work in their communities. Panelists include UH Hilo student Leoshina Kariha from Papua New Guinea. Click here to register.

Yolanda Joab-Mori

Global Earth Day featuring Yolanda Joab-Mori

Friday, April 22, 2022
1:00-2:00 pm online

On Earth Day, join us for an opportunity to remind and celebrate the resilience of our peoples across Oceania and how integral that essence is in combating climate change. Featuring Yolanda Joab-Mori, Founder & Director of Island Pride Micronesia and Program Coordinator of Blue Prosperty Micronesia. Click here to register.

traditional sailing canoe in the Pacific

Valuing the Indigenous Knowledges of our Elders: Land & Ocean Stories from Hawai'i, Yap & Fiji

Monday, April 25, 2022
11:30 am-1:30 pm online

Panelists from Dr. Tarisi Vunidilo's ANTH 612 master's degree class include Taylor Leilani Waldron (oral histories and trails of Kekaha region); Shania Tamagyongfal (celebrating voyaging through storytelling); and Mikayla Kia (stories from Kaloko-Honokohau: ancient 'aina and wai reciprocal relationships and community prosperity). Click here to register.

words of wisdom from the rainbow state

History of Korean Immigration to Hawai'i
Friday, April 29, 2022
6:30-8:00 pm at UCB Room 100

Free documentary screening of "The Words of Wisdom from the Rainbow State," directed by Jinyoung Lee Won, an editor of Hana Hou! Korean edition and content creator for Hawaii Tourism Korea. The film explores the inspiring history of the Korean immigration to Hawaii, featuring five direct descendants of the first generation of Korean immigrants, including former Mayor Harry Kim and former Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court Ronald Moon, who shared the wisdom of the first group of Korean immigrants to Hawaii that was passed down to them. The film screening will be followed by a Q&A session with filmmaker Ms. Won. Click here to register.

projection images onto a building

Naoko Tosa: Artist’s Talk
May 2, 2022
3:00 pm at UCB Room 100

Naoko Tosa and Ryohei Nakatsu are internationally acclaimed New Media Artists from Kyoto University. Tosa sensei was appointed the Japan Cultural Envoy in 2016 by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs and travelled to eight countries and ten cities to present her artwork. Her high-resolution digital video work entitled Sound of Ikebana was projected on the public billboards of Times Square in New York as part of the Midnight Moment series in 2017. She studied as a Research Fellow at MIT Center for Visual Studies in 2003, and has her work in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

students making a plate of food at a party

End-of-the-Year Party!

Thursday, May 5, 2022
Student Life Center swimming pool, time to be announced

Celebrate the end of the year and take a break before final exams with good food, good fun, good music, and good friends at the Student Life Center swimming pool! International students who are graduating in May will also be recognized. Check your UH email for details and to sign up.

projection images onto a building

Projection Mapping Event – The Sound of Ikebana
May 5, 2022
8:00 pm on the back of the Performing Arts Center

Ikebana(生け花)literally means “living flowers” or “giving life to flowers”, and is the name given to the long evolved, Japanese tradition of arranging flowers in asymmetrically balanced compositions that represent integrity, harmony, and character while conveying symbolic references to the four seasons. Tosa uses a new medium – fluid paint, photographed with a high resolution, high speed camera, and then presents the imagery in slow motion, to embody the forms, colors and compositions of the Ikebana tradition.

Celebrate Micronesia health fair

Celebrate Micronesia Health Fair

Saturday, May 21, 2022
10:00 am-2:00 pm
YMCA at 300 West Lanikaula Street

Come explore your health insurance options, employment/vocational training services, and more. Free bentos for the first 100 participants) and free entertainment.

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/Treasurer
  • Maikani Andres (Palau) - Vice President
  • Natsumi Takeda (Japan) - Secretary
  • Chloe Molou (Vanuatu) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Marla Pretrick (FSM) - Social Media 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.