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International Student Services & Intercultural Education

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 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 2018 semester, view a list of important dates and things you need to do.

Upcoming Events & Activities


International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, September 20, 2018
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

The Forest Underground, Where Fungi Are Making Magic

Featuring Dr. Don Hemmes, Emeritus Professor of Biology, UH Hilo. There’s a lot to see in the above ground forest, but often we don’t think of what’s happening underground, in the dark and hidden soil that supports the forest or in the inner recesses of the leaves, stems, and roots of the plants. It is in these hidden habitats that the fungi make a major contribution to the health of the forest. Sometimes these fungi morph into these incredible structures we call mushrooms. Life in the underground, including mycorrhizal interactions, and in the leaves of plants, the endophytes, will be discussed.

Island soldier

"Island Soldier" Film Premier

Friday, September 28, 2018
5:30 pm at UCB (University Classroom Building) Room 100

Premier on the Big Island of the documentary film Island Soldiers, an official selection of many film festivals. The untold story of Micronesian soldiers fighting for their piece of the "American Dream" and the future of a small island nation. Discussion with filmmaker Nathan Fitch following the film. Watch the movie trailer. Free and open to the public.

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, October 18, 2018
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Rethinking Communication & Development in the Post-Globalization Era: An Intercultural Perspective
Featuring Dr. Yoshitaka Miike of the UH Hilo Communication Department. Dr. Miike will discuss the meanings of communication and development and some lessons learned from development communication and communication for social change. He will also introduce an Eastern philosophy of intercultural relations toward a sustainable global community.

It isn't enough to talk about peace.  One must believe in it.  And it isn't enough to believe in it.  One must work at it.  Quote from Eleanor Roosevelt

Kakou: Let's Work it Out!

Friday, October 26, 2018
5:00-7:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Workshop on conflict resolution skills in observance of International Conflict Resolution Day. Workshop Presenter: Kumu Mahealani Kuamo‘o-Henry, Hawaiian spirituality teacher and practitioner. Free! Register online here or RSVP to Majidah at (808) 935-7844 extension 3 or

Smiling students


Saturday, November 3, 2018
Campus Center Plaza

Youth empowerment day for Pacific Islander students in the community.

person zip lining

Zip Line Adventure

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Zip Line Adventure near Hilo! Take your need for speed to new heights on this thrilling zip line adventure. Covering nearly two miles of gorgeous tropical river gorges, you will view multiple different waterfalls while soaring over 160 feet above them. The certified staff will guide you over one of the longest lines on Hawaii Island at more than 2,400 feet in length! Ride the only all side-by-side dual-track zip line in Hawaii. Cost: $50 (cash only, non-refundable). Space is limited to 30 students. Sign up at the International Student Services office in Room E-202 in the Student Services Center.

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, November 15, 2018
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Monitoring Indigenous Plant Diversity in a Residential Rainforest in Volcano

Featuring Dr. Emmet Judziewicz, Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

United Nations Day

United Nations Day

Friday, November 16, 2018
Library Lanai

Celebrate the amazing geographic and ethnic diversity represented at UH Hilo during United Nations Day! A Parade of Nations featuring students from around the globe will be featured. Educational displays from countries around the world, music and special performances! Free and open to the public.

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, January 17, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Featuring Dr. Lara Gomez, Director of Clinical Education at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy.

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, February 21, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Featuring Dr. Sunyoung Kim, UH Hilo Psychology Department.

Samoan dancers

International Nights 2019

Friday, February 22 &
Saturday, February 23, 2019
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.

International women's day

International Women's Day

Friday, March 8, 2019

Check back for more information!

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, March 28, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

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 2018-2019:

  • Felicia Andrew (Palau) - President
  • Alik Jackson (Kosrae, FSM) - Vice President
  • Mirei Sugita (Japan) - Secretary
  • Bertha Marie Lotte (Kosrae, FSM) - Treasurer
  • Irie Taguchi (Japan) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Lucy Maino (Papua New Guinea) - Social Media Coordinator


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

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.

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 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.